Emily Rice Published

VAMC Expands Women’s Health Care Options

Two females are in a doctor's office. One wears a white lab coat and the other wears a blue smock. The physician is showing the patient something on a green clipbaord.
Women are the fastest-growing population of veterans and the Beckley VA Medical Center is staying ahead of the curve with its new offerings.
Adobe Stock/rh2010

The Beckley VA Medical Center’s Women’s Health Program expanded to include a new clinical space specifically made for women veterans’ health needs.

Wanda Richmond, veteran program manager, said women have their own unique health care needs and the focus of the Women’s Health Program is to meet those needs.

“The main focus is that it is just much more convenient for the veteran,” Richmond said. “They can be here for a primary care appointment and have an issue that they would like to discuss, or be seen by a gynecologist for, they can have that done at the same visit without having to come back for a second visit.”

Dr. Roy Wolfe, the gynecologist at Beckley VAMC and the women’s health medical director, joined the program in August of 2023 and tends to patients at clinics in Raleigh, Greenbrier and Mercer Counties.

“We see probably about 15 patients a week, which is a luxury for me having come from private practice,” Wolfe said. “I can spend as much time as I need to with all those patients.”

Wolfe said veterans need specialized care, as they are different from the civilian population, all of those health needs can be addressed at the VA.

“There are some specific issues that they have that we’re uniquely qualified to deal with that the civilian providers probably would not be,” he said.

Since bringing on Wolfe, the program has only continued to grow with the addition of Nurse Practitioner Christian St. Clair serving as the women’s health Primary Care Provider.

“We are very excited to have her here,” Richmond said. “She is experienced in women’s health. She is very much interested in women’s health. And we feel it’s important that you have a stable provider that you can develop a relationship with that when you come in, you’re not having to tell a new provider, all of your history and everything over and over again.”

Procedures available in the clinic include annual wellness exams, cervical cancer screenings, birth control options and treatment for menopausal symptoms, among other services.

Some surgical procedures are also available at the clinic including hysteroscopy, management of cysts of abscesses and more.

Richmond said she thinks women tend to neglect their own health for the betterment of their families and other obligations and encouraged women veterans to seek health care at the VA.

“We want all of our women veterans to know they served, they deserve the care,” Richmond said. “And we at the VA welcome them and we want to ensure that they get the care that they need and definitely deserve.”

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Marshall Health.