Women Veterans - VA Portland Health Care System
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VA Portland Health Care System

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Women Veterans

Women Veterans

The VA Portland Health Care System is committed to meeting the unique needs of Women Veterans by delivering the highest quality health care to each woman, while offering her the privacy, dignity, and sensitivity to gender-specific needs that she deserves. We respect patients’ preferences regarding provider gender for health care and mental health care.  We look forward to meeting your health care needs. Patients will be referred to community providers for any service not available at VA Portland HCS.

Frequency Asked Questions (FAQ)

Meet our Women’s Health Program staff

Women Veterans Program Manager (WVPM)

Sarah Suniga, PhD serves as an advocate for women Veterans and works to improve the delivery of healthcare services. She has previously served in the US Army Reserves and deployed to Afghanistan in 2012-2013. Sarah has worked at VAPORHCS since 2006 as a psychologist with the PTSD Clinical team and now serves as WVPM.

Women’s Health Medical Director (WHMD)

Brenda Lafavor, MD serves as the clinical leader for the Women’s Health Program. She advocates to ensure equal, quality care for Women Veterans throughout the healthcare system through education, quality improvement, and policy changes. She is a General Internal Medicine physician by training and continues to provide direct patient care for women both within the Center for Women Veteran’s Health and main VA Hospital.

Women’s Mental Health Program Director (WMHPD)

Odessa Cole, PhD serves as the program director for the mental health division. She is dedicated to working with leadership and clinicians to advance services for women Veterans with trauma informed, culturally aware care that addresses behavioral health topics affecting females across the reproductive life span and women with military sexual trauma.  Currently, Odessa is also a primary care behavioral health specialist in the Center for Women Veteran’s Health. In this role she engages in shared medical visits with primary care providers and helps triage women to the appropriate mental health service.

Women’s Health Navigator (WHN)

Meghan Kauffman, RN, BSN serves as the Women’s Health Navigator and Maternity Care Coordinator for VAPORHCS since 2018. She has a background in case management in pediatrics and Obstetrics- Gynecology and is passionate about coordinating care for veterans and helping navigate the complex healthcare system.

Primary Care

VAPORHCS offers comprehensive care for women Veterans. We pride ourselves on providing excellent care for women Veterans in our stand-alone clinic at our Portland campus and at all community clinics. These facilities provide a unique setting that is private, respectful and convenient. To schedule an appointment, please call 503-402-2852 or 800-949-1004.

Mental Health

Find information about how to connect to services here

Maternity Care

Our Women’s Health Navigator works with women Veterans regarding prenatal care and to explore available options.

Contact Us

All women enrolled in MyHealtheVet for Secure Messaging can directly message the Women’s Health Program.
Look for “Women Veterans Program_Portland” on the drop down menu in Secure Messaging.

For all systems-level inquiries about women’s health care at the VA, please contact the Women Veteran’s Program Manager at 503-220-3431.

For Women Veterans, VA is Here

Women Veteran Program Managers are available at each VA Medical Center nationwide to assist women Veterans and coordinate services. Women Veterans who are interested in receiving care at VA should contact the nearest VA Medical Center.

Women Veterans are assigned to a designated Women’s Health Primary Care Provider who can provide general primary care and is specially trained or experienced in women’s care.

Honor, Loyalty, Pride in Service, Patriot, Leader, Military Experience. VA knows women Veterans - what's invisible to most is visible to VA

Whole Health - It's All About You

VA’s Whole Health System offers women Veterans proactive and personalized health care—empowering you to achieve your greatest level of health and well-being. Whole Health means the Whole You. From integrative health approaches like stress reduction, nutrition, and health coaching, to traditional clinical care and complementary health approaches—your journey to Whole Health starts here.

Well-Being Programs

Proactive, integrative health approaches such as:

  • Health coaching
  • Mind-body therapies and stress reduction
  • Mindfulness
  • Nutrition and weight management
  • Peer support and community resources
  • Programs to stop smoking
  • Physical therapy and chiropractic services

General Health

You will be at the center of a Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT). A provider, nurse, and others will engage with you to manage your health care.

  • Primary care: includes general medical care for acute and chronic conditions, such as chronic pain, high blood pressure, and diabetes
  • Preventive care: includes immunizations and cancer screenings, such as mammogram, Pap, and colonoscopy
  • Gender-specific care
  • Birth control
  • Family planning and preconception counseling
  • Maternity and newborn care (first 7 days after birth)
  • Osteoporosis screening and management

Gynecology Health Services

Evaluation and treatment for:

  • Abnormal Pap test
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Infertility
  • Pelvic pain
  • Gynecologic cancers

Mental Health

Evaluation, counseling, and treatment for:

  • Depression, mood, and anxiety disorders
  • Alcohol and drug use and addiction
  • Coping with illness
  • Intimate partner violence/sexual and domestic abuse
  • Military sexual trauma (MST)
  • Parenting and caregiver concerns
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Stress adjustment from deployment

Specialty Care

  • Management of chronic or complex conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and fibromyalgia, as well as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis
  • Surgery programs available at most Medical Centers
  • Rehabilitation, homebound, and long-term care VA referrals are given to those in need of rehabilitation therapies, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy

VA referrals are given to those in need of rehabilitation therapies, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, exercise therapy, recreational therapy, and vocational therapy.


Sarah Súñiga, PhD
Women Veterans Program Manager
503-220-3431 Ext. 53431

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Women Veterans Call Center: 1-855-VA-WOMEN