FALLS CHURCH, Va. (Army News Service, April 14, 2014) – The Army’s Ready and Resilient Campaign is now focusing on “intervention,” not on “bystander” behaviors, said Sharyn J. Saunders, director of the Army’s Ready and Resilient Campaign program.
She said the change is a “big culture shift” away from just focusing on particular programs and getting PowerPoint presentations or lectures about the need intervene.
Now two or even several of the dozens of Ready and Resilient Campaign, known as R2C, programs could be “melded” or used in conjunction with one another to improve the health of entire units, she added.
Saunders spoke during the Brain Health Consortium, today, at the Office of the Army Surgeon General.
R2C programs focus on things like substance abuse, emotional health, nutrition, exercise, goal setting and even financial planning. That means surgeons might be partnering with mental health specialists or nutritionists to deliver desired outcomes for particular individuals or units, which may need special help in certain areas, she said.
That’s already happening at installations Army-wide, said Brig. Gen. Pat Sargent, deputy chief of staff, G-3/5/7, Army Medical Command.
The Army has developed “platforms,” such as Soldier-centered medical homes, patient-centered medical homes and community health promotion councils right down to the brigade combat team level, he said, explaining that the platforms are led by unit commanders.
Those commanders have a team of primary care physicians, behavioral health specialists, physical therapists and others who advise the commander, manage care of the Soldiers, and sort through and interpret the health data so the commander can customize the help those Soldiers need.
Sargent said commanders and enlisted leaders are starting to have conversations with their Soldiers about their health based on big-picture data for their unit. Sargent gave an example:
“I recall my time at Fort Hood, as a platoon leader, where you talk about a tank,” he said. “There were folks talking about how you manage and maintain a tank” to the minutest details.
“So when a Soldier now gets a profile, for whatever reason, we’re now targeting and trying to figure out what part of the system is helping that Soldier get back to a form of wellness,” he continued, comparing the detailed approach to Soldier wellness to what the Army did in the past with its equipment.
He added that such a profile could be for units as well as individual Soldiers or family members.
Saunders said unit commanders are getting data on stressors that point to areas where improvement might be made to help the morale and readiness of their Soldiers. Such areas include family relations, communications, building connections and financial planning.
That gives commanders a powerful tool to tailor programs that increase Soldiers’ ability to cope, get through adversity, thrive and grow from their experiences, Saunders said.
“We’re just starting that journey .. and it will require changing the fundamental culture of the Army,” she added.