WASHINGTON — “I want this headquarters to lead the way in Army wellness by getting the right amount of sleep, being more active and getting better nutrition,” the Army surgeon general told her staff.
Determined that U.S. Army Medical Command, known as MEDCOM, not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk, Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, who is also MEDCOM commander, declared Dec. 13, 2013 to be “Holiday Jingle Walk” at their Falls Church, Va., headquarters, said Barbara Ryan, a registered nurse with the Army Surgeon General’s Office and the lead for Performance Triad’s outreach programs.
Furthermore, Horoho directed each MEDCOM directorate to plan a monthly walking event, encouraging them to make it fun and designed to promote unit camaraderie, Ryan said, adding that during their Jingle Walk, some participants dressed in holiday costumes.
Horoho got the idea for the walk during a visit to Fort Bragg, in November, where the post held an installation-wide 5K run/walk, Ryan said. No registration was required for their 5K and “people showed up with their dogs, cats, kids and strollers and they could choose to run it, walk it or both.”
She was there to help kick off the Fort Bragg’s Healthy Base Initiative and the Performance Triad’s third pilot course, involving Soldiers of the 189th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.
As it now works, squad leaders in the pilot programs get eight hours of professional classroom training on sleep, activity and nutrition, and all participating Soldiers receive two hours of Triad training. All Soldiers were also tested with the Military Power, Performance and Prevention Platform, or MP3, which assesses injury risk and provides individual physical training plans.
Squad leaders continue to be the key to the program to instill in their Soldiers what they’ve learned from the classroom and from the Leader’s Guide. “It’s basically a leadership-by-example type approach that fits in with the Army’s philosophy that the (noncommissioned officer) has the most influence over a Soldier’s life,” Ryan said.
Horoho is promoting Performance Triad ahead of the rollout, Ryan said.
“People she visited at Fort Bragg were really jazzed,” Ryan said, meaning that the surgeon general inspired them. “One sergeant major said ‘I can see why this is so important now.’ That’s the kind of thing people can expect when she visits.”
As it stands now, installations don’t have to wait for the Performance Triad roll-out to reap the benefits. Under the guidance of Army Public Health Command, each post has a community health promotion council, led by senior commanders, Ryan explained. This is a resource that integrates garrison, medical and mission efforts in support of the synchronization of health promotion, risk reduction, and suicide prevention programs for example.
Representatives from the community, including retirees, officer and enlisted spouses, along with garrison, medical and senior commanders, meet to discuss programs and initiatives to promote health, wellness, readiness and resilience of the force.
“These councils are the means to allow commanders to monitor health promotion program goals and objectives for their community and people can plug in now to information on sleep, activity and nutrition at www.armymedicine.mil,” Ryan said.
“There’s a demand for more information and a groundswell of interest has begun,” she added, “People throughout the Army are asking for more information about the program and we are hearing how people’s lives are being changed for the better.”