Public health commander leads by example
July 24, 2013
Maj. Gen. Dean G. Sienko, commander, U.S. Army Public Health Command, understands the importance of a ready and resilient force. He has deployed to Kosovo and Kuwait, and he knows how the Army surgeon general's performance triad of activity, nutrition and sleep can affect the health of deployed Soldiers as well as those who support them.
That is why Sienko made a visit to the Army Wellness Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., one of his first priorities.
"I was excited to learn how the services such as metabolic testing, nutrition counseling and stress management are being used to teach Soldiers, civilians, retirees and family members how to be healthy," Sienko, who is also a physician, explained.
Todd Hoover, USAPHC Wellness Center Operations Program manager, led Sienko through the steps that all AWC clients experience when they make an appointment at an AWC.
All clients need to complete the Health and Wellness Questionnaire, a six-page, comprehensive health assessment that asks questions about sleep habits, nutrition, fitness and overall wellbeing. This questionnaire is located in the online Soldier Fitness Tracker AWC portal.
"The Soldier Fitness Tracker AWC portal gives us a snapshot of where people are before we begin a program," Hoover explained to Sienko. "Responses provide a 'wellness' score that lets us tailor services to meet each client's needs."
Hoover used resting metabolic testing to provide Sienko with nutrition information such as the number of calories needed to maintain basic body functions such as heart beat, breathing and normal body temperature. Then Sienko went on a treadmill to determine his cardio-respiratory fitness level.
"The screening information combined with metabolic testing, body composition testing and other information allows our health educators to write an exercise prescription to help meet the needs and goals of the clients," said Hoover.
The exercise prescription helps clients to set small attainable goals and helps them learn strategies for enhancing their health.
"I am very pleased with my tailored fitness and nutritional plan that incorporates cardio, strength training and a balanced diet," Sienko said. "The evaluation results give me some insights on areas where I would like to improve, and I look forward to the next evaluation of my progress."
Sienko's background as a civilian public health expert makes him a committed advocate of prevention as the best way to build and sustain good health. AWCs offer programs and services that help their clients achieve healthy lifestyle changes and prevent or mitigate chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Their programs are individually tailored to meet client goals and address the whole person--body, mind and spirit.
"Army Wellness Centers provide an overall assessment and the integration of a holistic approach to wellness, and Todd Hoover and the staff at the Army Wellness Center APG demonstrate a high level of expertise," said Sienko.
Chris Sorrells, AWC APG's director, said she was very pleased that Sienko had come to the AWC. She explained that since the opening in January, more than 550 clients from all over the APG area have used AWC services.
Sorrells encouraged others to make an appointment for a wellness assessment at the AWC, located at Kirk Army Health Clinic at APG--North.
"The Army Wellness Center Program offers a great opportunity for everyone in the Army family," said Sienko. "If you haven't been to an Army Wellness Center, it is important that you go. This has been a valuable experience for me and my health."