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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs


New Members Appointed to VA Committee on Women Veterans

November 29, 2012

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WASHINGTON – Five new members have been appointed to the Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, an expert panel that advises VA on issues and programs affecting women Veterans.

“VA relies on the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans to provide insight on key issues that impact the women Veteran population.  The Committee’s recommendations provide guidance that direct VA’s efforts to identify and address the diverse needs of women Veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “VA welcomes the newest members.”

Established in 1983, the committee makes recommendations to the Secretary for administrative and legislative changes.  The new committee members, who are appointed to two-year terms, are: Gina Chandler, Bryant, Ark.; Larri Gerson, Dunedin, Fla.; Mary Morin, Raymond, N.H.; Charlotte S. Smith, Farmington, N.M.; and Mary Westmoreland, Bronxville, N.Y.. 

“Women serving in the military continue to demonstrate their dedication in defense of our great Nation,” Shinseki added. “VA remains committed to providing women Veterans with equitable, quality benefits and services that appropriately meet their needs.”

Women Veterans are one of the fastest growing segments of the Veterans population.  Of the approximately 22 million living Veterans, about 1.9 million are women.  They comprise nearly 9 percent of the total Veterans population and nearly 5 percent of all Veterans who use VA health care services. 

VA estimates that by 2020 women Veterans will comprise 10 percent of the Veteran population. VA has women-Veterans-program managers at VA medical centers and women-Veterans coordinators at VA regional offices to assist women Veterans with health and benefits issues.                         

New Members

VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans 

  • Gina Chandler, Bryant, Ark. A Veteran of the U.S. Air Force; currently serves as a Veterans service officer,  women-Veterans coordinator for the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs, and secretary of the National Association of  State Women Veterans Coordinators.
  • Larri Gerson, Dunedin, Fla. A Veteran of the U.S. Air Force; currently serves as a claims examiner for the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, and webmaster for the National Association of State Women Veterans Coordinators;  former state women-Veterans coordinator for the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Mary Morin, Raymond, N.H.; A retired U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant; currently serves as the Director of the New Hampshire Office of Veterans Services, and a member of the National Association of State Women Veterans Coordinators.
  • Charlotte S. Smith, Farmington, N.M.; A Veteran of the U.S. Army; currently serves as a Veterans service officer, state women-Veterans coordinator for the New Mexico Department of Veterans Affairs, and a member of the National Association of State Women Veterans Coordinators.
  • Mary Westmoreland, Bronxville, N.Y.; A retired U.S. Army Colonel, with service in Desert Shield/Desert Storm; currently runs a pro bono consulting company that focuses on coaching, mentoring, and organizational strategic planning for government and nonprofit organizations.

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