RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Wellness kicked into high gear for OPM-SANG in 2010. Health Affairs Division, under the leadership of Cols. Fredric Plotkin and Michael Talley, and the hands-on work of Berry Shupe, launched and managed an OPM Wellness Program while laying plans for a permanent wellness staff and facility. The program's objectives focus on improving the overall wellness of all OPM employees. But the initiative took its biggest step with the visit of a delegation from the Army Physical Fitness Research Institute (APFRI) during the first week of December.

The APFRI delegation of medical professionals led by dietician Lt. Col. Heidi Kaufman, consisted of psychologist Lt. Col. John Via, nurse practitioner Lt. Col. Jamie Cornali, physical
therapist Maj. Mae Cisneroz, and exercise physiologist Mr. Manu Peeni. While on Eskan Village, the delegation conducted 66
personal health assessments and coaching sessions for military and civilian employee volunteers. The team also shared its knowledge with leadership from the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) Health Affairs Division in anticipation of SANG's own wellness program launch. Normally the APFRI team conducts health assessments of the United States Army War College senior leadership, Command and General Staff College and Sergeants Major Academy students, this visit marked the institute's first trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

APFRI's comprehensive assessments required employees to complete tests weeks before the team arrived at Eskan. The pre-arrival portion, completed by the OPM-SANG Health Affairs Division, included laboratory blood work to examine the tested
individual's glucose, cholesterol and prostate-specific antigen levels; a health survey; blood pressure check; and height, weight and body mass measurements.

The APFRI team reviewed the test results at their home station in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, and completed a partial assessment for each individual. Once on site, the team completed each assessment by putting each volunteer through an individual strength and cardiovascular endurance test, a nutritional evaluation and a personalized wellness out brief. Seven of the 66 employees exhibited high risk factors warranting immediate intervening education by the APFRI team. Regardless of the individual's pre assessment condition, the personal attention from a team of medical professionals directly benefited each volunteer.

Maj. T.D. Malone of OPM-SANG's Support and Sustainment Division, volunteered for an assessment and enjoyed APFRI's "holistic approach." He noted that, "Their analysis examined not only my physical health, but also my nutritional and mental well
being ... I've already implemented a few of these suggestions into my everyday life."

In addition to their work on Eskan Village, the APFRI team visited the Executive Directors of the Saudi Arabian National Guard's Psychiatry, and Family Medicine/ Primary Care departments. The team shared its knowledge and gave ideas for the initiation of SANG's own wellness program. The visit exemplified the US Army's commitment to SANG by sharing cutting edge practices and research.

A future APFRI visit to the Kingdom is planned for 2011 in order to continue the momentum built during the inaugural visit.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16