Women In Military Face Unique Health Problems

Women In Military Face Unique Health Problems

Dr. Laura Herrera, a former Army doctor, told her story of women’s health problems in the military at 18th Annual "A Woman's Journey" health symposium at the Baltimore Hilton, sponsored by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Saddled with student loan debt, she joined the Army Reserve to help pay off medical school bills, as a doctor, she became concerned about the health issues women face while deployed.

According to Herrera, who was first deployed in 2004 to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, women in the military often suffer from back and joint problems from carrying heavy equipment and wearing ill-fitting uniforms that sometimes cut into a woman's breast area. Extreme weather conditions can lead to skin disorders. And mental stress is also an issue as women worry about their safety at war and their families back home. The mental stress is something that can linger even after a soldier returns home.

After finishing her deployment, Herrera used her military knowledge to help draft policy adopted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on women's health care. She is now the chief medical officer at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, described her experiences as an Army reservist to nearly 1,000 people.

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