DVIDS – News – I Am Navy Medicine – Lt. Caitlin Sleight, Clinical Psychologist

Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command (NMRTC) Junior Officer Bremerton could not have imagined his current status in Navy Medicine.

Until it becomes a career defining reality.

Lt. Caitlin Sleight, Clinical Psychologist, Division Officer and Marine Corps Security Force Battalion Psychology Liaison for the NMRTC Bremerton Department of Mental Health, was recently selected as a Junior District Officer (JOOQ).

“It is an honor to be chosen as JOOQ of the command. It shows how our leadership highlights the efforts of all who support our fighters mentally and physically, ”Sleight said, stressing the importance of being selected. “I just feel grateful to have a command that understands the importance of collaboration, compassion, competence and recognition of hard work and dedication to naval medicine.”

With the military health system (MHS) recently recognized June as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month, as well as Men’s Health Month – men are 24% less likely to see a doctor than women – Sleight’s expertise as a clinical psychologist is an appropriate paradigm for the emphasis placed on mental health and well-being by Navy Medicine and MHS.

“Paying attention to our behavioral health is an important aspect of overall health. It is the foundation of the tenacity and resilience of warriors for the military. As combatants, our greatest strengths are our ability to regulate, modulate and tolerate biopsychosocial stressors amid the unique stressors of an operational environment, ”Sleight explained.

Her journey to becoming a naval officer began in Willington, Connecticut, as a graduate of EO Smith High School, Storrs, in 2006. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a research concentration; Minor in Neuroscience-2010 from the University of Connecticut, followed by graduate studies at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York with a doctorate. Clinical Psychology – Health Focus and Neuropsychology Concentration-2019. She has been with Navy Medicine since 2018.

“My career began in 2018 when I was interviewed for the Clinical Psychology Residency Program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. It was my first choice among 15 other residency programs, none of which were military. On our Psychology “Residency Game Day” I was also paired with the WRNMMC as their top pick, and the rest is history. I was commissioned as an officer two months later and started my journey, ”Sleight recounted, noting that while growing up there was a certain degree of familiarity with the Navy stemming from his service. a grandfather during WWII, she could not have predicted that she would actually become a commissioned naval officer, especially after six long years of graduate school.

“Originally, I had planned to work as a clinical neuropsychologist at a VA hospital in New York City for the rest of my career. My specialty in graduate school was neuropsychology / health psychology and applying my training to a population of veteran patients with complex cognitive, physiological, emotional and behavioral profiles seemed like the ideal fit. It wasn’t until my lab mate in senior school – Lt. Cmdr. Noah Epstein – began discussing the unique opportunities naval medicine could offer and I considered focusing on working with an active duty population. Marine medicine in the context of clinical psychology cut across all my interests at the same time; an opportunity to build leadership skills; a sense of adventure; and practically applying my school years to strengthen and strengthen the psychological resilience of the men and women who sacrifice so much for our country, ”Sleight said.

Sleight grew up in a small rural town in Connecticut, having to travel by bus to the next town for school. Her parents and older sister were all passionate about English, with both parents pursuing careers in journalism. Her parents and her upbringing had a profound influence not only academically, but also in helping her form her own self-determination, discipline and dedication to the tasks at hand. By the time she entered college, it was at the second year level. But in the middle of that first year, his commitment to his chosen field took on a heightened sense of importance.

“My personal investment in health psychology came in mid-year of freshman when I learned of my mother’s diagnosis of Stage III breast cancer. As I faced the uncertainty of life while waiting for my mother to finish treatment, I observed how the disease so clearly demonstrated the interdependence between physical, mental and cognitive well-being. Despite my mother’s survival, her struggle to regain quality of life after cancer was evident. Watching my mother transform from her most dynamic being to the most vulnerable one ignited my determination to help others recover their functioning, ”Sleight shared.

“As I continue to advance in my career in naval medicine, I remember my mother’s unwavering commitment to her health and her family with no guarantee of respite,” Sleight continued. “It is with her in mind that I am inspired every day to be the best leader and clinician I can be.”

The pandemic has presented additional challenges throughout Navy and MHS medicine, and Sleight’s position as a clinical psychologist has been integral in providing support to others in need.

“As a Navy clinical psychologist in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have collectively been faced with isolation, death, rapid change and the global uncertainty of the future. Our sailors have been isolated aboard ships for months, isolated from family, friends and at times unable to make it home to officially mourn the loss of a loved one due to travel restrictions. Whether or not it is a pandemic, our role is critical in facilitating the processing of the complex emotions that can result from grief, death and death, ”Sleight said.

Sleight’s work aligns with the Navy surgeon’s overall priority on operational readiness, and the primary mission of ensuring force medical readiness through a ready medical force. His duty contributes directly to this standard.

“Psychological preparation is essential to maintaining operational readiness. My duty as a Navy Psychologist is to target treatment at the primary, secondary and tertiary level of care, both to prevent disease and facilitate recovery so that our Sailors and Marines are both prepared to face the ‘adversity and stressors or getting back into shape after a period of treatment,’ Sleight pointed out.

Sleight attests to having been selected because the JOOQ of the order is not only based on individual appreciation as much as on the overall recognition of the entire mental health department.

“As a member of the mental health family, any success for one of our team members is success for all of us. We rely heavily on each other, officers, enlisted and civilians. Our relentless perseverance as a clinic constantly enhances our culture of excellence and innovation. My selection is also a recognition that the Department of Mental Health continues to provide agile support to our Joint Force population, while empowering and strengthening each other, ”Sleight said.

When asked what has been the best part of his career so far, Sleight replied, “The indescribable bond and friendships made with others have a positive impact on naval medicine. Being a part of Navy Medicine means that I have had the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself, and that I have the opportunity to help others and give back to my country.

Date taken: 07.01.2021
Date posted: 07.01.2021 17:01
Story ID: 400264
Location: BREMERTON, WA, United States

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