59th MDW treats transgender servicemen> 59th Medical Wing> Post display
Earlier this year, President Joe Biden signed an executive order allowing transgender servicemen to openly serve in the military, which further strengthened the transgender health medical assessment unit at the 59th Medical Wing.
“What I’m doing is allowing all qualified Americans to be able to serve their country in uniform,” Biden said at a press conference in January. “Essentially restore the situation in which transgender personnel who have qualified in any other way can serve their government in the United States military. “
In order for members to receive transitional medical care, they first undergo a mental health assessment.
“To have medical interventions, you need to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria,” said Chari ‘McMahon, 59th Medical Specialty Squadron THMEU, a registered clinical social worker. “Gender dysphoria is a marked incongruity between the gender assigned at birth and the gender you most align with, causing clinically significant distress. “
Once the diagnosis is made, treatment with THMEU begins.
“Once the provider sends the referral to our case managers, our nursing staff directly contacts the member to arrange time for him or her to be released for the temporary medical assignment,” McMahon said.
During TDY, THMEU creates an individual medical treatment plan that patients follow in their home medical treatment center.
“One of the benefits of having centralized case management for the entire Air Force is that it all goes through us, but the individual patient treatment facilities provide the ongoing care,” said McMahon.
Not all medical treatment plans include surgery or hormones and can range from a few months to several years of care.
“Each plan has a timeline and it’s a projection of the different interventions that patients may need,” said Lt. Col. (Dr) Joshua Smalley, flight commander of the 59th Medical Specialty Squadron THMEU.
In order to develop a comprehensive plan, THMEU providers review the patient’s medical records and schedule appropriate appointments such as nutrition, mental health, endocrinology, dermatology, law, TRICARE and speech therapy. if they wish to take vocal training during their transition. Patients also witness a cluster of gender expressions.
“This is an opportunity for members of trans services to really develop a peer group of other members of trans services and to provide support along the way,” McMahon said. “We want them to be able to build that connection and walk together through the process.”
If services are not available locally, THMEU providers are available near or far via virtual health providing hormone therapy and mental health appointments.
“We are working to help our military move forward in a way that affirms who they are and empowers them to be the best military they can be,” McMahon said.
Accordingly, the Air Force is committed to ensuring equality and supporting all military personnel.
“I like to see patients come back because I see them so often when they start,” McMahon said. “They don’t know what the next steps are, what the military can do for them, how they can really be who they are. To be able to see them on their return and to be able to live fully in their affirmed genre. They are just happier. They are healthier, and being able to see the impact of how helping them on their journey has really helped them thrive is amazing.