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Veterans Health Administration

VA Surveys Return Important Data for Veterans’ Health

Health care researcher preparing a female survey volunteer

 

Health surveys are more important than you think. At first blush, they may be viewed as a drain on your time and energy in an already over-scheduled and stressed day. But in reality, a health survey is your opportunity to be heard on important issues such as your health status and how it may have been affected by your deployment.

VA uses health surveys to identify your needs as Veterans. After all, it’s your needs that drive VA’s service offerings, policies, and research efforts. VA’s Office of Public Health Epidemiology Program is currently surveying Vietnam-era Army Chemical Corps, Gulf War, and OEF/OIF Veterans in separate studies designed to learn more about their current health.

VA uses health surveys to identify your needs as Veterans

Veterans who participate in these surveys were identified from VA and Department of Defense databases to represent all branches of service and active, Reserve, and National Guard members. Each Veteran was chosen to represent Veterans with similar characteristics such as race, gender, and rank to ensure that the each Veteran population is appropriately represented.

Typically, it is necessary for researchers to use the same group of Veterans in follow-up surveys. This allows researchers to study individual health changes over time. If you are contacted and asked to participate in these surveys, please take the time to complete and return your survey! When you complete and return the survey, you will be helping yourself and your fellow Veterans by providing information essential to formulating future health care policy.

Here are brief descriptions of three active surveys.

Follow-up Study of a National Cohort of Gulf War and Gulf Era Veterans

This long-term study examines the health of Gulf War Veterans deployed during the 1990-1991 conflict. Researchers are contacting 30,000 Veterans, half of whom were deployed to the Gulf War and the other half who served elsewhere during that period. The study will compare survey data from 1995 and 2005 to help determine if and how the health of Gulf War Veterans differs from the health of other Gulf War-era Veterans.

Army Chemical Corps Vietnam-Era Veterans Health

Aimed at learning if high blood pressure (hypertension) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are related to herbicide exposure during the Vietnam War, this study targets 4,000 Veterans who served in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps between 1965 and 1973. Army Chemical Corps personnel were responsible for the application of chemicals during military operations.

National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans

This 10-year study is one of the largest scientific research studies of Veterans. Targeting 60,000 Veterans, this study seeks to compare the health of 30,000 OEF/OIF Veterans with that of 30,000 Veterans who served elsewhere during the same time period. This 10-year study periodically collects data on health risks, overall health, health care use, and potential deployment-related exposures.

For more information on these and other studies, visit VA’s public health site as well as VA Research.