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LGBTQ+ Veteran care

VA Boston health care employees receive training in clinical care that is responsive to the unique needs of LGBTQ+ Veterans. Our trained LGBTQ+ Veteran care coordinators are fully equipped to support the health, welfare, and dignity of you and your family.

Connect with a care coordinator

Claire Burgess PhD

LGBTQ+ Veterans care coordinator - Brockton campus

VA Boston health care


Martha Duffy MD

LGBTQ+ Veterans care coordinator - Jamaica Plain campus

VA Boston health care


Christine Serpe PhD

LGBTQ+ Veterans care coordinator - Jamaica Plain campus

VA Boston health care


Erin Sheehan LICSW

LGBTQ+ Veterans care coordinator - Causeway

VA Boston health care


Care we provide at VA Boston health care

Our LGBTQ+ Veteran care coordinators can answer your questions, advocate for your right to quality care, handle complaints or concerns you have about your care, and help you get started with any of our services for LGBTQ+ Veterans. These include:

  • Mental health services, including psychosocial assessments for hormone therapy and gender confirming surgeries
  • Creative arts therapies
  • Hormone therapy
  • Gender-affirming prosthetics
  • Testing, counseling, and care for HIV and sexually transmitted infections, including post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for Veterans at risk for HIV
  • Other prevention, screening, wellness, and testing services

Available programs include:

  • Affirmative Psychotherapy Services for Veterans who are unsure about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, want support or to learn more about what gender transition services and supports are available
  • Interdisciplinary Transgender Treatment Team (ITTT) offers comprehensive care for transgender Veterans, spanning medicine, psychology, psychiatry, social work, nursing and endocrinology
  • Transgender Vet-to-Vet Group welcomes any Veteran with gender identity or gender expression concerns or questions. The meeting is a safe place that does not put notes in your medical chart and is facilitated by a transgender Vet- to-Vet Certified Peer Specialist

We know that diverse populations have unique needs, so we train our staff to provide care that is tailored to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ Veterans:

  • We value a respectful health care environment
  • Non-discrimination policies are in place and we work to ensure a welcoming environment
  • You have the right NOT to be “outed” as LGBTQ+ in your medical record by any provider
  • We know that gender expression, identity and sexuality can be personal issues, especially for our Veterans
  • You have the right to decide what works best and communicate this with your providers
  • We encourage LGBTQ+ Veterans and families to be aware of these rights as you seek care in the VA Boston healthcare system

Policies and practices to know

The care coordinator can help you get started with care or with navigating any of these issues.

Visitation: A same-sex partner, family member, friend, or other individual can be present with the patient for emotional support during the course of the patient's stay.

Definition of family: "Family" may include individual(s) not legally related to the individual. Family members include spouses, domestic partners, different-sex and same-sex significant others.

Advance directives: Veterans may designate any person as a decision-maker for care if they won't be able to make these decisions themselves. This includes same-sex partners. Advance directive agents are chosen by the Veteran and do not need to be biologically related.

Documentation in medical records: VA Boston maintains the confidentiality of information about sexual orientation, sexual behavior, and gender identity, just like any other private health information.

Changing name or sex in records: Your name in your medical record will reflect your legal name. The sex in your medical record should reflect your self-identified gender. You have the right to request that your name and sex are updated as appropriate. There are established procedures for changing your name and sex with the VA Privacy Officer.