THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
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 comewith 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
MED’S CHILD & FAMILY
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.
BY KATHY GAL LARDO
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 ProgramThe 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
3)Intensive case management of the Special Needs Education Allowance program, involving eligibility determinations,
annual renewals and verification of allowable expenses for
4) Consultation for pediatric and adolescent behavioral health
medical evacuations for urgent assessment and treatment;
5) Clinical and administrative support to MED personnel