The Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) appointed four new members to serve on the VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans (Committee) in early March.

The Committee advises the secretary on issues impacting women Veterans and makes recommendations regarding VA policy, benefits and services created to meet their current and projected needs.

Established by Congress in 1983, the Committee shapes the department’s efforts to modernize and provide equitable and timely services to the nation’s women Veterans. The new appointees will further enhance the Committee’s level of expertise as it relates to understanding the needs of women Veterans and advising VA in meeting their diverse and evolving needs.

The new members on the VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans are:

Melissa Castillo, of Garland, Texas. Castillo is a U.S. Navy Veteran and currently serves as an assistant County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO) for Dallas County, where she is responsible for improving access to VA benefits and care for Veterans, dependents and caregivers.

Delise Coleman, of West Covina, California. Coleman is U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and currently serves as a HUD-VASH program certified peer support specialist for Volunteers of America Los Angeles.

Wistaria Joseph, of Land O’ Lakes, Florida. Joseph is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel with service in support of Operations Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom; she currently serves as the founder of an executive leadership coaching small business, and is also a women Veterans/service woman mentor.

Cynthia Macri, of Kensington, Maryland. Macri is a retired U.S. Navy captain and currently serves as senior vice president and chief medical officer for EagleForce Associates, Inc., where she is the subject matter expert on the integration of technology with current and emerging health care models, with special emphasis on maternal health, patient safety and institutional compliance.

More information

Visit the Center for Women Veterans’ webpage at, for more information about the Committee’s work and other useful VA resources.

By Missina Schallus is the communications manager for VA's Center for Women Veterans (CWV)

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Published on Mar. 25, 2022

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  1. MAJ (Retired) Lora Thompson March 30, 2022 at 5:36 am

    Wow.. seems to be a lot of ignorance noted in several of these comments.
    First and foremost, men are NOT the only combat veterans. Seriously? What a very limited understanding of our military!
    And the combat multiplying force is made up of many pieces-,to include support services which actually enable the war fighter to be successful. Women have played a part of this in
    Entity for many, many years and have often been ignored, forgetter, or pushed to the back. It’s nice to finally receive acknowledgment for our commitment to the Nation and we’re grateful that our needs are being addressed as well. Thank you for your support!
    As always, it’s still 1 team- 1 fight.

    • Charles Parker March 30, 2022 at 8:31 am

      When I got recalled for Iraq there wasn’t a single women among us. Just Men! Not a single one! You’re a Valor theft lady.

  2. Charles Parker March 29, 2022 at 8:25 am

    Register for the draft and serve in female only units. Stop hiding behind Men! You take up space and clog the VA system so actual combat vets can’t get the help we need. Ladies…. you’re earning the hate. Men are done playing this game. The worst is that female healthcare providers treat us like we’re disposable.

    • Gayle Lavigne March 29, 2022 at 3:06 pm

      Well, you seem to have a huge chip in your shoulder against women

      Sorry – you are wrong, but you are. And…. You honestly think that you are more important than the women who also signed up for the same military. Promised the same rights.

      You have no idea what your attitude and the attitude of those whose caveman mentality matches yours does to “the system”.

      The VA treats everyone like they don’t matter but apparently seeing as you are special – being born that way. Special because you can pee standing up. You should matter more than others?

      Oh and OMG. You poor thing. They gave you a woman doctor. And, she is apparently armed with medical school and a license to practice medicine and – treats you like what? Like she knows more than you? The nerve! Tsk tsk tsk! Quick – take away her shoes!

      • Charles Parker March 30, 2022 at 8:57 am

        Register for the draft. Server in female only units. Do it without Men.
        You drive the tank. You dig the fighting hole. You get the terrorists out of the mud hut. Do it with out any Men, just women.
        If you can’t do it as a group of women’ you shouldn’t be doing it with a group of Men. I’m personally done protecting ungrateful, angery, bitter feminists. Do it yourself!
        You’re not entitled to my security, and I don’t serve you. Form your own female only units and deploy as a group of big strong women.
        If you can’t handle Men in America you’re in for a rude awaking. Other cultures treat women like trash and don’t play this imagery equality game. What happened to the big strong Afghani feminists. That’s right they all got stoned to death after we left.
        You are privileged like children. You should thank Men of this country everyday because we play this imaginary game of equality with women to our detriment.

  3. OEF Veteran March 25, 2022 at 5:35 pm

    Is there a men’s advisory panel since nearly 90% of Veterans are men, and we have unique needs? Or are we not special enough? We face joint problems at a much higher rate because we served in combat at a much higher rate. Prostate cancer is prevalent among male Vets. We suffer combat-related PTSD at higher rates. What gives? Is Denis McDonough only worried about the niche groups of Veterans, ignoring the majority?

    • Gayle lavigne March 29, 2022 at 9:46 am

      I am not really believing my eyes here. Apparently, a male in a male dominated environment that has been geared toward men’s issues since it’s inception is being accused of ignoring those men if it also addresses issues of women. Is that the gist? Looks like it to me.

      Certainly, I honestly assumed that by 2022, this type of thought would have evolved. Doesn’t appear to me that any men’s issues are being short changed by also addressing women.

Comments are closed.

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