June 20, 2012
By Stephanie Bryant, Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs
HONOLULU — “Since 1775, Army Medicine has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our war fighters in every single conflict and it really is our honor to be able to serve war fighters and their families and provide them quality health care,” said Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, U.S. Army Surgeon General and commander, U.S. Army Medical Command, during her recent visit to Pacific Regional Medical Command staff and facilities on the island, June 12-14.
Horoho and MEDCOM Command Sgt. Maj. Donna Brock, senior enlisted advisor to the Army Surgeon General, toured Tripler Army Medical Center, U. S. Army Health Clinic-Schofield Barracks and the Warrior Ohana Medical Home in Kapolei. Various interactive engagements, town halls and a luncheon, were held so that Horoho could get feedback from staff at the military medical treatment facilities on island and from 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support).
Capt. Vanessa Mayo-Aquino, commander, Company D, Troop Command, attended the luncheon with Horoho and Brock and said engaging discussions were held. She said Soldiers, especially the medics, inquired about incorporating more hands-on-training into deployment preparation, as well as advancement processes.
“Most of the Soldiers had questions and were not afraid to raise their concerns,” Mayo-Aquino said. “It gave the chance for the (junior officers and enlisted Soldiers) to ask questions personally, and give their opinion, while at the same time not being intimidated while around (senior ranking leaders.)”
In addition to the desire for feedback from her Pacific region staff, Horoho focused her visit on making sure the region is on board with her key imperatives and up-to-date on Army Medicine’s current strategies.
A virtual behavior health training day was held June 12 across all regions, in part to release policy guidance on the assessment and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, which standardizes assessment, treatment and care of post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD, across Army Medicine.
“This is now the standard across every (military medical treatment facility) and every post, camp and station,” Horoho explained. “What we’ve added to this is tele-behavioral health so we now have regions. We have hired (additional behavioral health) specialists so we can take that capability to remote areas when you have big surges or demands for behavioral health we now tap in through electronic (behavioral health channels) to get a capability out.
“If you look at Tripler, they are actually providing behavioral health (services) to Fort Bliss (Texas), Fort Hood (Texas), as well as Alaska,” Horoho added.
Horoho and Brock also attended the U.S. Army-Pacific Commander’s Conference, June 14. Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, commander, USARPAC, said it was a special opportunity for USARPAC and Horoho because she was able to deliver the address at a single event and reach out to the majority of USARPAC’s commanders, command sergeants major and command spouses about health readiness of the force.
“We need to think about health and readiness a little differently because we can have a ready force, but that doesn’t mean we have a healthy Force,” Horoho said. “As leaders, we really have to look at health and health leading to readiness, realizing that they are not interchangeable.”
The strategy Horoho is implementing focuses on three main imperatives: sleep management, nutrition and activity.
“We are at a tipping point in our nation and we need to be aggressive about this,” Horoho affirmed. “We’ve got to be able to take our health care capabilities and move outside our military treatment facilities and into the (service members’) life space.
“If we want a healthy force, we have to change how we are providing care and really (encourage) the right behaviors out there (in our service members),” Horoho added.