In its first-ever grant to Boston University, the Walmart Foundation has awarded approximately $500,000 to help launch the Women Veterans Network (WoVeN), a nationwide network of structured support groups for female veterans.
WoVeN will be led by BU School of Medicine Associate Professors of Psychiatry Tara Galovski, PhD, and Amy Street, PhD, who also oversee the Women’s Health Sciences Division at the National Center for PTSD, a component of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The mission of the Division is to understand the psychological impact of war on women veterans.
The Foundation will fund the first 15 months of this new five-year program, which aims to enhance wellness, quality of life and family relationships for female veterans. Support groups will be developed and led by women veterans with the over-arching goal of increasing social support and interpersonal connections with others who share the unique experiences of women who have served.
To help support the 2.2 million women who have returned from military service, women veterans will be trained to facilitate a series of 10-week support groups that aim to enhance wellness, quality of life, family relationships and supportive connections with other veterans and, as needed, referrals for additional health services. While many services and organizations currently support veterans in transitioning to civilian life, there are limited options that address the unique experiences of women veterans using evidence-based approaches.
“WoVeN is designed to be a home for women veterans, a place where our veterans can connect both within their individual communities and nationally,” Galovski said. “The Walmart Foundation has been incredibly supportive of this project from day one, and we are proud of our partnership in support of the women who have sacrificed much to serve us.”
For women who are unable to attend support groups, an interactive WoVeN website will be created offering connection with other women veterans plus resources and information that addresses the specific needs and experiences of women veterans.
“The Walmart Foundation is proud to help fund Boston University’s launch of the Women Veterans Network, and anticipates that this five-year initiative will play an important role in establishing networks and enhancing opportunities for female veterans as they re-enter civilian life,” said Kathy Cox, senior manager of Walmart Giving.