ChristianaCare has opened a Gender Wellness Program to provide psychotherapy and support services for individuals age 13 and older who are exploring their gender identity or experiencing gender dysphoria—a sense of incongruence and distress that a person may have because of a mismatch between their gender identity and their sex affirmed at birth.
The program also provides treatment for any behavioral health condition the individual may be struggling with, such as anxiety and depression. People who identify as transgender have higher rates of suicide attempts than individuals who do not identify as transgender, according to the National Institutes of Health.
“ChristianaCare aims to provide the safest, highest quality health care and the best experience possible for our entire community, guided by our values of love and excellence,” said Mustafa A. Mufti, M.D., interim chair of the ChristianaCare Department of Psychiatry. “Caring for our entire community means providing sensitive, compassionate, and state-of-the-art behavioral health and medical care to transgender and gender-diverse individuals. Our Gender Wellness Program will help improve health equity and outcomes for individuals and families who need these services. We know that transgender and gender-diverse individuals face health disparities, and our program will help address that.”
The program follows the guidelines of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). WPATH promotes the highest standards of health care for the health of transsexual, transgender and gender-nonconforming people based on the best available science and expert professional consensus.
“Our Gender Wellness Program is ready to support anyone age 13 or older who is exploring their gender identity, experiencing gender dysphoria or who needs education and support around social and medical transition,” said Brett E. Herb, DSW, LCSW, program manager of the Gender Wellness Program.
Dr. Herb has been in clinical practice for more than 25 years as a psychotherapist and a clinical and administrative manager for numerous behavioral health programs, and has been working with the transgender and gender-diverse populations for the past 17 years.
“We provide referrals to compassionate, gender-affirming health care experts,” Dr. Herb said. “Often, families find themselves having to educate their primary care providers, schools, neighbors and family members about how to appropriately care for gender-diverse individuals. Our program provides individuals and families with access to specially trained gender therapists they can trust who can get them the answers they need to help navigate the complexities they may encounter.”
The Gender Wellness Program provides referrals to trans-competent primary care providers who prescribe gender-affirming hormone treatment, along with specialists for gynecological and obstetrics care.
The program offers individual, couples, family and group therapy sessions. It also provides existing patients with assistance with personal documentation changes and letters of surgical support.
“This program has provided me with tremendous support throughout my transition,” said Julie Brown of Wilmington, Delaware. “My therapist empathizes with what I am experiencing in my life, and has guided me through my evolution. The group therapy sessions help me understand that I am not alone.
“We form a community, share information and support each other in a safe environment. My child is also a patient of the Gender Wellness Program. Their support has helped him deal with my changes and understand his gender dysphoria.”
“Brett Herb and the Gender Wellness Program have helped me grow the confidence I needed,” said Kristopher Snedeker of Newark, Delaware. “Working with the professionals at the program has provided resources to help further my gender transition to become who I truly am.”
Gender therapists at the Gender Wellness Program are:
- Brett E. Herb, DSW, LCSW, Program Manager.
- Amanda Pope Evans, MSW, LCSW.
- Katherine Goemaat-Suarez, MSW, LCSW.
ChristianaCare is a national leader in LGBTQ+ health care. For the past 11 consecutive years, Christiana and Wilmington hospitals have been recognized by the Healthcare Equality Index as an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader.
Individuals who would like to learn more can contact the Gender Wellness Program at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 302-623-6773.