Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor Beverly Erskine, the program manager of the VA Central Iowa Health Care System Women’s Veteran Program, as Iowan of the Week. Women are the fastest-growing population within the veteran community, and the Women’s Veteran Program at the Central Iowa VA gives the heroines who served in uniform access to a full continuum of health care from primary care to mental health services.
With Beverly’s leadership, the Women’s Veteran Program provides critical services and resources that help our female veterans lead healthy lives, including: inpatient medical, surgical, and mental health care; physical rehabilitation; substance abuse treatment; long-term care and pharmacy services; and on-site mammogram services that offer 3-D imaging. Beverly and her team also arm program patients with helpful information and skills that they can use in their daily routines to better take care of themselves through the Whole Health Program. Mindfulness practices, yoga, and Tia Chi are just a few of the offerings in Whole Health to help female service members thrive. And to protect women veterans from potentially dangerous domestic situations, Beverly and her team provide careful, confidential screening conducted by trained Intimate Partner Violence colleagues.
One of the most special components of the Central Iowa VA Women’s Veteran Program is the baby shower program Beverly and her colleagues facilitate each year. They invite women veterans who are pregnant, spouses of Veterans, Veterans who have adopted, and those who have had invitro fertilization to a special baby shower thrown in their honor. Attendees receive gifts, originally donated from partner organizations in Iowa, that help the expectant mothers prepare for the arrival of their newborns. The event is promoted during Women's Health Week and it offers the health care system to give back to those who have already sacrificed so much. As much as it makes the expectant moms feel special, it’s truly a highlight for Beverly in her work.
Women’s History Month is an opportunity to highlight some incredible work being done by women for women in communities across our country. Beverly is a shining example of how empowering female leaders creates opportunity for our nation to reach its full potential. I will never stop fighting in Congress to expand opportunities for women like Beverly and those who served our nation in uniform, and am proud to support programs like the one Beverly leads for our women veterans. It is my honor to name Beverly Erskine our Iowan of the Week.