The Army Medical Command aims to minimize illnesses and injuries and strengthen its force by shifting focus to prevention, Army Surgeon General Patricia Horoho said at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army in Washington D.C., on Oct. 21.
“We are … focused on improving the readiness and resilience of our soldiers and their family members,” she said.
The Army launched its new Ready and Resilient campaign in March. The effort focuses on providing beneficiaries with easy access to medical, nutritional, fitness and mental health services at all Army installations and bases. Each of these services will be integrated into a soldier’s education, training and daily life to help them deal with adversity and adapt to change while growing and learning from setbacks.
Upon entering the service, a soldier undergoes physical and mental assessments and learns how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Mental health also is important. Service members will be taught tools to help them handle difficult situations such as mental exercises and breathing techniques. In addition, they will undergo mental health assessments pre- and post-deployment to screen for problems. Giving beneficiaries the care and resources they need to bounce back helps build resiliency within the Army.
The Army’s new Performance Triad is part of the Ready and Resilient campaign. This approach emphasizes the importance of getting at least 150 minutes per week of activity, consistently eating healthy meals and snacks, and getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
Horoho spoke at the annual meeting again the following day. She noted that around 75 percent of Americans do not meet the fitness requirements to be in the Army, and many die from preventable illnesses.
She provided a “prescription for health” to audience members, written out on a prescription pad, that included daily activity in the morning and afternoon, eating calories rather than drinking them, limiting caffeine to the morning, removing all electronics and blinking lights from the bedroom, and getting seven uninterrupted hours of sleep.
By changing behaviors of soldiers, families and veterans, the Army hopes to create a more resilient force that works as a supportive entity and can bounce back from any difficulty.