Today, the U.S. has more than 18 million living veterans. As this population ages and medical needs increase, there is more need than ever to recognize our obligations as a nation and to find ways to optimize and enhance the integrated system of care at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

The moral imperative of providing meaningful and comprehensive oral, behavioral and medical care to our veterans stems from the fundamental principle of honoring their service and sacrifices.

As the chief health equity officer of an institute focused on oral health, I know that so much of physical health is predicated on oral health well-being, and addressing health equity within the veteran population must begin with oral health as a core component.

In many ways, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has demonstrated itself to be an exemplar in the health equity space.

For example, the VA offers eligible veterans and their dependents access to affordable dental care through a voluntary dental insurance program. It has also expanded its telehealth services to provide veterans with greater access to healthcare, particularly in rural areas, thanks to the MISSION Act of 2018. This expansion has improved veterans' ability to receive timely care—including improvements in wait times for specialty care and mental health services—and reduced barriers related to transportation and geographic distance.

  • Increase Awareness And Education
  • Expand Eligibility Criteria
  • Innovative Policy Advocacy

Read the full article about health equity for veterans by Kaz Rafia at Forbes.