MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - As the Pentagon opens the door for women to take on combat roles in the military, the VA in Memphis is opening the doors of its newly expanded Women's Center.
Kaye Borgognoni, the center's Program Manager, says demand for it is surging.
"We had about 3,500 women veterans in 2007 and this last year we counted just under 5,000," Borgognoni said.
The VA spent more than $5 million to double the size of the center and nearly triple the number of exam rooms. They'll be quickly put to use.
Sergeant First Class Denesse Torpoco says the center's expansion will attract more female veterans otherwise put off by the VA, because until recently it mainly catered to men and didn't provide much in regards to privacy.
"Well, sometimes it can be overwhelming when we're in tours, when we're in uniform, sometimes we can be bombarded with our male counterparts so sometimes it's nice to be with just our female counterparts, especially with our specific issues," Torpoco said.
Aside from gender specific issues, female veterans are also treated for combat-related injuries and PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Staff members at the center are expecting to treat more veterans for those reasons.
The center will open to patients next week.