Mini-Residencies to Improve Care for Women Veterans: A Decade of Re-Educating Veterans Health Administration Primary Care Providers

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2022 Jul;31(7):991-1002. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2021.0033. Epub 2022 Jan 18.


Background: Many primary care providers (PCPs) in the Veterans Health Administration need updated clinical training in women's health. The objective was to design, implement, and evaluate a training program to increase participants' comfort with and provision of care to women Veterans, and foster practice changes in women's health care at their local institutions. Methods: The Women's Health Mini-Residency was developed as a multi-day training program, based on principles of adult learning, wherein knowledge gleaned through didactic presentations was solidified during small-group case study discussions and further enhanced by hands-on training and creation of a facility-specific action plan to improve women Veterans' care. Pre, post, and 6-month surveys assessed attendees' comfort with and provision of care to women. The 6-month survey also queried changes in practice, promulgation of program content, and action plan progress. Results: From 2008 to 2019, 2912 PCPs attended 26 programs. A total of 2423 (83.2%) completed pretraining and 2324 (79.3%) completed post-training surveys. The 6-month survey was sent to the 645 attendees from the first 14 programs; 297 (46.1%) responded. Comparison of pre-post responses indicated significant gains in comfort managing all 19 content areas. Six-month data showed some degradation, but comfort remained significantly improved from baseline. At 6 months, participants also reported increases in providing care to women, including performing more breast and pelvic examinations, dissemination of program content to colleagues, and progress on action plans. Conclusions: This interactive program appears to have been successful in improving PCPs' comfort in providing care for women Veterans and empowering them to implement institutional change.

Keywords: Veterans health; clinical competence; continuing; curriculum; education; primary health care; women's health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Primary Health Care
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Veterans Health
  • Veterans*
  • Women's Health