Two Retired Army Colonels Named VA Advisers

Two Retired Army Colonels Named VA Advisers

Photo by: U.S. Army

Jan. 10, 2017

Retired Cols. Karen O’Brien and Betty Yarbrough are among four new members of the Veterans Affairs Department Advisory Committee on Women Veterans.

Dr. O’Brien, the Army’s first female brigade surgeon, retired in 2014 after 27 years of service, including deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She is now a compensation and pension physician for the Veterans Benefits Administration in American Lake, Wash.

Yarbrough’s 29 years of service included deployments in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her final assignment before retiring in 2015 was military director of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services.

The VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans was established in 1983 to advise the VA secretary on issues, programs and legislative initiatives that affect female veterans.

“VA values the transformational guidance the committee has provided over the past 33 years, and relies on to the members to utilize their diverse perspectives in anticipating the emerging needs of women veterans,” said Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald.

Information about VA benefits and services for female veterans can be found online at or by phoning the Women Veterans Call Center at 855-829-6636 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET, and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.