Equalizing the Playfield: Military Readiness and Women’s Access to Healthcare

Faye Curran HeadshotEqual access to healthcare is fundamental to a healthy nation. For women serving in the military, health equity not only ensures individual health, it also maximizes operational readiness and performance.

Dr. Faye Curran, Director of Military Health, Implementation Science, at Cognosante, has both professional and personal experience with advocating for women’s health through her work on military health system programs.

We asked Faye to share her point of view on the importance of “equalizing the playing field” for women who serve and women who support the families of actively deployed service members.

Dr. Curran, in honor of Women’s History Month, can you share how you and your team support women’s health across the Military Health System?

Through our partnership with the Military Health System, we apply our Implementation Science expertise to support several programs that promote women’s health specifically. Ultimately, the work is equalizing the playing field between women and men so they can perform at their best.

For example, we supported the execution of a standardized postpartum hemorrhage assessment, response, and treatment program for military hospitals so new mothers experience fewer complications during obstetric care. Patient discharge plans include education materials that inform new mothers of the signs and symptoms of postpartum hemorrhage.

At Cognosante, our ultimate goal is to remove barriers and optimize care for all service members and their families to improve patient outcomes. At the end of the day, I know we’re doing that.

More recently, due to a Secretary of Defense memorandum to ensure access to reproductive health care for service members and their families, we were tasked by our customer to support the establishment of walk-in contraceptive services at all military hospitals in the U.S. and overseas installations in three months. Following our support, we helped our women’s health partners stand up walk-in contraceptive services at 130 military hospitals. When it comes to contraceptive services, it’s not just about preventing pregnancy, it’s making sure active-duty personnel are deployable and service-ready, and sometimes contraceptive care is part of that. 

How do your own experiences as a female military spouse and a consumer of those services influence the way you approach your work?

While deployed and stationed in Yokosuka, Japan I had to be evacuated because of an earthquake while I was 40 weeks pregnant. Because I couldn’t get on a plane, I had to be medivacked along with a dozen other expectant mothers to Okinawa in what became known as “Operation Motherload.” My first child was born the next day in a Military Treatment Facility there, so I know firsthand what it’s like to depend on the Military Health System in extraordinary circumstances!

With that experience, I feel like the work I’m doing is giving back. My family appreciates the support we received when we had our first child. I’m also really proud to support contraceptive care to protect women’s health beyond childbirth as well. Being able to take action to empower women—whether it’s ensuring access to contraceptive services or equipping new mothers to help them through what can be a scary experience—is personally gratifying.

More broadly speaking, you lead Cognosante’s enterprise-wide efforts to translate clinical research into practice across the entire Military Health System. How does your work help our customers forward their health missions in support of all demographic populations?

My expertise is implementation science of clinical guidelines. Our team promotes awareness of the policies and clinical practice recommendations that the Military Health System publishes, and helps providers access and adopt them to standardize excellence in healthcare. In doing so, we’re ensuring service members receive the best care based on guidelines that have a strong evidence base.

At Cognosante, our ultimate goal is to remove barriers and optimize care for all service members and their families to improve patient outcomes. At the end of the day, I know we’re doing that. 



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