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New members appointed to VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki has appointed six new members to the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, an expert panel that advises Department of Veterans Affairs officials on a wide array of issues affecting women veterans.

"VA remains committed to providing quality, timely care for women veterans and improving their access to benefits and services," said Secretary Shinseki. "This committee shapes VA's efforts to address the diverse and ever changing needs of women veterans."

The new committee members are Matrice W. Browne from Olney, Md; Valerie Cortazzo from Pittsburgh; Karen S. Etzler from Amazonia, Mo; Lindsay M. Long from Knoxville, Tenn.; Gundel M. E. Metz from Madison, Wis.; and Kayla Williams from Ashburn, Va.

Established in 1983, the advisory committee makes recommendations to the VA secretary for administrative and legislative changes. The committee members are appointed to one-, two-, or three-year terms.

Women veterans are one of the fastest growing segments of the veteran population. There are 23 million veterans and approximately 1.8 million are women. They comprise nearly 8 percent of the total veteran population and nearly 5 percent of all veterans who use VA health care services. VA officials estimate that by 2020 women veterans will comprise 10 percent of the veteran population.

VA has women veteran program managers at VA medical centers and women veteran coordinators at VA regional offices to assist women veterans with health and benefits issues.

VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans

Dr. Matrice Browne, Olney, Md. -- A retired Army colonel; she currently is in private practice, specializing in women's health and gynecology. She also serves as adjunct assistant professor of obstetrics/gynecology at two universities.

Valerie Cortazzo, Pittsburgh -- A former Navy petty officer third class, she is a former VA employee and currently is an advocate for veterans in southwestern Pennsylvania, specializing in mental health and women's issues.

Karen S. Etzler, Amazonia, Mo. -- A former Air Force staff sergeant, she currently serves as a veterans service officer and is the women veteran coordinator for the Missouri Veterans Commission.

Lindsay M. Long, Knoxville, Tenn. -- A former Marine lance corporal, she currently works as a chemical operator for a private contractor and serves as the American Indian representative for the Department of Energy's Native American Committee.

Gundel M. E. Metz, Madison, Wis. -- A retired Army sergeant first class, she currently serves as a women veterans coordinator for the state of Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.

Kayla Williams, Ashburn, Va. -- A former Army sergeant with service in Iraq, she currently is a project associate in a private research organization, conducting research and analysis on intelligence, defense, military and veterans issues.

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