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DoD initiates Women’s Health Reproductive Survey

Image of Nurse hands mom her newborn baby. Ensign Pauline Gachalian hands a newborn boy to his mother, Petty Officer 2nd Class Emily Smith, at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s Maternal Infant Unit. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel, Naval Hospital Jacksonville/Released).

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2020 DoD Women’s Reproductive Health Survey (WRHS) | Health Care Program Evaluation

The Department of Defense Active Duty Women’s Reproductive Health Survey, or WRHS, is the first survey specifically focused on the reproductive health of female service members in over 30 years. The WRHS, which will begin in August, provides information that can shape policy and clinical care in the area of women’s health. The survey assesses behaviors and experiences that can affect military readiness and inform clinicians about women’s gynecologic and obstetrical care needs. A select, random sample of women will be invited via email or post to participate in this survey.

Kimberly Lahm, program director for Patient Advocacy & Experience, Women's, Child & Family Health Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, states the goal of the WRHS is to better understand experiences with access to care, needs, and preferences for family planning, contraception, and reproductive health among female service members.

“Participants have a great opportunity to provide feedback to help the military identify policies and practices that best meet their needs,” Lahm said. “The WRHS is voluntary and confidential. Selected female service members interested in sharing their feedback are highly encouraged to participate."

This one-time survey takes 12-15 minutes to complete, and can be taken during work hours via computer, smartphone, or tablet. It does not have to be completed in one sitting, so participants can pause and return to the survey as needed.

DoD has contracted with RAND Corporation to develop, administer, and analyze the survey results. RAND is a private, nonprofit organization that conducts research and analysis to help improve public policy and decision-making. The comprehensive findings will not include any personally identifiable information and all responses are confidential.

Survey participants will be randomly selected from a sample of active-duty female service members in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.  Diana Jeffery, Ph.D., project director for the survey from the DHA Clinical Support Division, says that inclusion of women from the total force will assist in creating a picture of what issues affect women in each service.

“Each service can have specific concerns, so we need to hear from all women,” Jeffery said. “The goal is to use the data to shape clinical services and evaluate if the reproductive health care needs of active duty women are being met.”

The WRHS is completely voluntary. Service members can opt out of the survey, but are encouraged to participate and share their feedback to better inform understanding of the health and experiences of women in the military. The WRHS will be available until October 2020 for completion. Eligibility can be checked by visiting the survey website.

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Guidance for Conducting Surveys and Other Information Collections (SOICs)

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