The Foreign Service Journal - September 2016
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Kathy Gallardo, M.D., Ph.D., is the deputy medical

director for mental health programs for the Department

of State. She attended medical school and graduate

school at the University of California, Irvine. She went

on to complete her post-graduate medical training at Yale Uni-

versity, followed by sub-specialty fellowship training in child and

adolescent psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health in

Bethesda, Maryland, and Children’s National Medical Center in

Washington, D.C. Dr. Gallardo joined the State Department medical

team in 2011 and has served in Southern Africa and the Middle East.

She assumed her current position in the Bureau of Medical Services

in August 2016. She has three children and calls Southern California



aising children has never been easy,

and this is especially true in the For-

eign Service, where both unique chal-

lenges and exceptional rewards come

with the territory. The Department of State’s Bureau of Medical Services (MED) knows that our parents, like a


parents, worry that the decisions they

make about their children may have

long-term impact. Yet the Foreign Service lifestyle just seems to

increase the stakes.

Would my child be better off in the United States? Isn’t expo-

sure to other cultures and languages good for children? What do

I do if a teacher raises concerns about my child’s learning style

or social skills? Who do I talk to? What are the options? Caring

for Foreign Service employees and their dependents overseas

takes many forms for MED, including making sure children with



Here is an authoritative account of the aims of the CFP, presented as part of the



ongoing discussion of concerns regarding support for children and families overseas.


behavioral health conditions and educational disabilities have

access to important services they require.

MED’s Mental Health Services division has a primary role in the

many clinical and administrative processes involved in support of

this goal, a responsibility that dates back many years. However, the

State Department’s emphasis on hiring over the previous decade

and deliberate efforts to support significantly increased numbers

of employees and dependents overseas have resulted in new chal-

lenges and opportunities for MHS.

Origins of the Child and Family Program

The MED/MHS Child and Family Programw

as created in 2013

to address the increasingly complex issues faced by many U.S.

Foreign Service personnel with dependent children who require

specialized educational and behavioral health services. CFP staff

member core duties include:

1) Case review for educational clearance recommendations to

the Office of MED Clearances for school-age children of U.S.

government personnel assigned overseas;

2) Case review for mental health clearance recommendations

for child and youth dependents of government employees

assigned overseas;


Intensive case management of the Special Needs Education Allowance program, involving eligibility determinations,

annual renewals and verification of allowable expenses for

qualified dependents;

4) Consultation for pediatric and adolescent behavioral health

medical evacuations for urgent assessment and treatment;


5) Clinical and administrative support to MED personnel