Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Veteran Care - Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas
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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Veteran Care

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VHA) is committed to providing quality care to all Veterans inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) Veterans. Excellent care has no boundaries.

We Serve All Who Served poster

LGBT refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identities. The ‘Q’ refers to queer identities, as well as those who are questioning their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The + sign is meant to be inclusive of sexual orientations and gender identities beyond LGBT, including pansexual, asexual, agender, gender non-conforming, gender diverse, nonbinary, gender neutral and other identities.

Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas seeks to promote the health, welfare, and dignity of LGBTQ+ Veterans and their families. We are committed to making sensitive and high-quality health care accessible. Our employees are prepared to provide personalized, patient-centered care in a safe, affirming, and welcoming environment.

MEDVAMC LGBT program goals are to provide:

1. A safe, welcoming, and respectful environment at MEDVAMC.
2. Culturally-sensitive and effective patient-centered care delivered by staff with up to date training in LGBT specialized services.
3. Patient non-discrimination policy inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.
4. An equal visitation policy that allows any person the patient chooses, including same-sex partners, to be present during a patient’s stay.
5. An employment non-discrimination policy that welcomes LGBT candidates and employees.

Veteran Care Coordinator

To fulfill its commitment to healthcare equality, the VA created a national LGBT program to meet the unique patient care needs of the LGBT Veteran population. Each VA Healthcare System has appointed an LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator (VCC) to assist Veterans, staff, and community stakeholders with awareness of patient care services, understanding of VA policies, and other LGBT program related services.  The LGBT VCC serves as a point-person for LGBT Veteran-related health care issues at the MEDVAMC and all of our VA Outpatient Clinics. The LGBT VCC also provides training and offers consultation to facilitate staff members’ LGBT-related clinical and cultural competency.  For information regarding LGBT-specific clinical services or VA policies regarding LGBT patient care, contact one of our Veteran Care Coordinator's.

     Elizabeth Steen, LCSW
     LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator
     (713) 791-1414, extension 24421
     MyHealtheVet Secure Messaging: "LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator HOUSTON"

     Hiram Rivera-Mercado, PsyD
     LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator
     (281) 217-9028
     MyHealtheVet Secure Messaging: "LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator HOUSTON"

Affirmative LGBT Veteran Services

1. You Are Not Alone

America is home to an estimated one million LGBT service members and Veterans, many of whom have served the US military with honor and distinction. All Veterans are welcome at MEDVAMC. If you feel you are not being provided with compassionate care at MEDVAMC, please make your concerns known by contacting your Patient Advocate or the LGBT VCC.

2. Affirmative LGBT Veteran Services

- Open to all LGBT Veterans at MEDVAMC.
- Individual therapy with mental health clinicians familiar with LGBT issues.
- Work towards individual goals related to LGBT identity, with a focus on emotional well-being, self-acceptance, and empowerment, in a supportive group environment.

3. Transgender Services

MEDVAMC provides patient care for Veterans who are questioning their gender identity or whose gender identity or expression differs from their biological sex at birth. Services include cross-sex hormone treatment, post-operative care, and individual/group psychotherapy to support those transitioning or transitioned. To begin services related to gender identity, ask your primary care provider to enter an e-consultation for an initial specialized "Mental Health Transgender Outpatient Evaluation" 

Psychology Resident for LGBT Health

MEDVAMC is one of only nine VA facilities that has a full-time, interprofessional LGBT Health Psychology Resident who is dedicated to serving this population of Veterans. The LGBT Psychology Resident conducts trainings with staff and provides direct clinical services to LGBT Veterans, such as support groups and individual and couples therapy through the General Mental Health Clinic. 

VA Employees

In addition to in-person educational opportunities, all employees are encouraged to complete specific online training on caring for LGBT patients. 

Important Phone Numbers

LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator: (713) 791-1414, extension 24421 or (281) 217-9028
LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator Houston: Secure Messaging
Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)
Clinical Contact Center and Centralized Scheduling: 713-794-8985 or 1-800-639-5137

LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator (VCC) Program

Every VA facility has a local LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator (VCC) who can connect you with services and help you navigate specialized resources.

Health Information

To learn important information about the unique health risks of LGBTQ+ Veterans, download these relevant fact sheets. Here you can also find information about relevant services offered by VA.

Gay, Bisexual, and Queer
Health Care Fact Sheet

Gay and Bisexual Men Health Care Fact Sheet

Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer
Health Care Fact Sheet

Lesbian and Bisexual Women Health Care Fact Sheet

Women and Gender Diverse Veteran
Health Care Fact Sheet

Transgender Women Health Care Fact Sheet

Men and Gender Diverse Veteran
Health Care Fact Sheet

Transgender Men Health Care Fact Sheet


Elizabeth Steen, LCSW
LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator
713-791-1414, 24421

Hiram Rivera-Mercado, PsyD
LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator
(281) 217-9028

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LGBTQ+ Updates