State-of-the-art Army Wellness Center opens

Photo by Gustavo Bahena, Public Affairs Office

Soldiers, civilians and family members celebrated the opening of the new Army Wellness Center in the garrison Resiliency Center during a ribbon-cutting ceremony here, Nov. 19.

The new facility, the 24th Army Wellness Center to open across the Army since 2005, is a program of the U.S. Army Medical Command and an integral part of the recently renovated garrison Resiliency Center that opened in June.

The new Army Wellness Center offers modern health services, programs and state-of-the-art equipment free of charge to all Department of Defense identification card holders on Fort Irwin. Services include: health assessment reviews, which analyze a patient’s health status; risk for disease and ability to exercise safely; physical fitness testing and exercise prescriptions; healthy nutrition programs and strategies using metabolic testing to provide individualized strategies for weight loss, gain or maintenance; stress management techniques using biofeedback to reduce stress; general wellness education through classes on topics such as healthy lifestyles, increased resiliency and self-care, and; tobacco education using assessments to determine an individual’s readiness to become tobacco-free.

The 30 minute ceremony began with a musical prelude, the National Anthem and an invocation by Chaplain (Maj.) Vincent Manuel.

Guest speakers on hand to welcome and address the Soldiers and community members in attendance were Col. Jason Wieman, Weed Army Community Hospital commander and Col. Scott Taylor, commander of United States Army Garrison at Fort Irwin.

“The combined cost of this new Resiliency and Army Wellness Center on Fort Irwin is $8.4 million – proof of the Army’s commitment to Fort Irwin and Soldier fitness.” Taylor said. “Now we need to get people out of their homes and offices and workplaces and start using it. Let’s get the word out.”

Wieman emphasized the importance of prevention in health care.

“For too long, so much of our health care was about seeing and treating people after they became sick, instead of wellness and preventive medicine,” Wieman said. “I like to quote Thomas Edison who said ‘The doctors of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause of the prevention of disease.’ These Army Wellness Centers operate on that concept by focusing on comprehensive fitness, nutrition, activity, stress management and sleep – the sum of fitness.”

Wieman and Taylor, accompanied by the director of the new facility, Andrew Munsterman, stepped to the AWC entrance and ceremonially snipped the large red ribbon in two to officially open the facility.

“Such services outside post normally cost thousands of dollars but are made available at no charge to the Fort Irwin Community.” said Munsterman. “It’s a significant addition to community members’ health benefits on Fort Irwin as well as visiting Soldiers training at the National Training Center.”

The first AWC opened in 2005. Today, there are 24 in the United States, Germany and Italy. The Army plans to have 27 centers by the end of 2015 and 37 completed by the end of 2018. All have standardized exercise and testing equipment and are staffed by highly qualified personnel.

Fort Irwin’s new AWC is located in the Resiliency Center, building 127, on the corner of Inner Loop Road and First Street and is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Servicemembers, and their family members, retirees and Army civilian employees can make an appointment at the center at 380-7373 or can be referred by their unit or a physician at WACH.