Leaders attack brigade stress
January 23, 2014
FORT SILL, Okla. (Jan. 23, 2014) -- With the goal of bettering the lives of their Soldiers, the 214th Fires Brigade assembled subject matter experts in numerous physical, spiritual and mental health arenas to form a leaders health promotion team (LHPT).
The newly developed team works to identify and reduce stressors in Soldiers' lives and improve their overall health and well-being by raising awareness of potential future problems through past trends. With this information they make recommendations to commanders to assist in their mission of improving the overall well-being of the brigade.
The mission of the LHPT is to identify redundancies and voids in Soldier caring, evaluate population needs, assess existing programs, and coordinate targeted interventions to optimize the well-being of the brigade. The team also supports overall unit readiness and organizational performance of personnel at the individual, organizational and community levels.
The LHPT, with guidance from the 4th Infantry Division (4th ID) Health Promotion Team and Fort Sill Community Health Promotion Council have worked together since September to identify and sets priorities for 214th FiB community health promotion and well-being programs.
"We're trying to use analysis to help the commander decide where, when, how, and why to use his forces to defeat the enemy. In this case, the enemy is anything that negatively affects the health of the brigade," said Maj. Thomas Bloomfield, the officer in charge of the team.
"We are trying to reduce the type of problems that have always plagued formations such as suicide, safety violations, crime, drug and alcohol abuse and injuries."
Data is collected from brigade down to the battery/company level and analyzed monthly, quarterly and annually by hosting monthly working groups and meetings which review the analysis and recommend health guidance to subordinate leaders within the brigade.
The data produced from these meetings and working groups feed into the overall 4th ID health promotion picture on a quarterly basis to assist the division in an overall analysis.
"My first priority is readiness we will accomplish this priority through three lines of effort: physical, mental and spiritual strength," said Col. Andrew Preston, 214th FiB commander.
These three lines of effort are the core focus in the LHPT. The brigade is setting an example of excellence by the work that has been laid down with its internal health promotion programs and its continuing effort to align with the programs and guidance set forth by 4th ID, Fort Sill and the Army.
"This is a continuous process of evaluating and reevaluating our programs through data analysis and common sense," said Lt. Col. Damon Wells, brigade deputy commander. "We must get to a point where we can efficiently predict potential health related issues and mitigate those significant events before they occur."
This program is intertwined with others such as the National Prevention Strategy, Operation Live Well Campaign, Healthy Base Initiative and others.
The National Prevention Strategy guides the nation in the most effective and achievable means for improving health and well-being. The strategy prioritizes prevention by integrating recommendations and actions across multiple settings to improve health and save lives.
Operation Live Well is a Department of Defense (DoD) education, outreach and behavior change initiative designed to improve the health and well-being of members of the defense community.
From active-duty and Reserve service members to military children, spouses, retirees and DoD civilians, Operation Live Well aims to help the military community model ideal health behaviors for the nation.
The "Leaders" Brigade has been analyzing data over the past year and is being diligent in trying to effect positive outcomes with the resource strength of the staff and Fort Sill.
The combination of leaders and subject matter experts are continuing to examine several types of data. This includes physical profiles, Army Physical Fitness Test information, injury trends, domestic violence, sexual harassment and assault, command climate surveys and chaplain counseling trends. These are the building blocks of analysis which will continue to develop and have added areas of focus as the program goes on.
As a unit, personnel are taking the responsibility of creating an environment where health promotion is a fundamental theme in every mission they conduct.
"The future of the brigade looks very promising in building strength that will pre-empt having to correct negative actions after the fact," said Capt. David Beck. "We are increasing our preventive measures in order to decrease the need for resilience."