Leaders focus on mission readiness through health council
June 13, 2012
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- "Servicemembers who experience a lack of competent support tend to become distracted, which leads to them not being able to fully focus on their mission," said Monte Dale Hargrave, the Area II health promotion coordinator.
To prevent distraction and to address concerns involving risk, suicide, health and overall mission readiness, Area II in Korea put together the Community Health Promotion Council in order to ensure that its Servicemembers would be a mission-ready deployable force.
"The CHPC is a program that addresses matters affecting readiness," Hargrave said. "CHPC is not a medical program. It is not a garrison and command program. It is a program that combines all aspects of a Community and works to make the Community a better place. It looks at processes and services that enhance the well-being of all Soldiers, Army Civilians, Family Members, Retirees and the entire work force, and it tries to evaluate why there may be gaps or roadblocks to services, where or when there might be a lack of services or possibly that services might be missing their target."
On U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, there are 19 Directorates including Army Community Services, Army Substance Abuse Program, Chapel, Medical, and 15 other offices directly charged with promoting health in these dimensions. Although these offices may be effective themselves, the CHPC helps each one do a better job by uniting them in an effort to promote the overall health and well-being of the Community.
"The great thing about the CHPC is that it brings everyone together and pools the resources so that it becomes a synergistic effort," said Chaplain (Maj.) Robert Marsi, garrison chaplain for USAG Yongsan. "We are able to accomplish more together than as individual components."
Jocelynn Reyes-Lashier, USAG Yongsan's suicide prevention program manager, added that it was collective competency and shared responsibility between the directorates and offices, which would ensure that the health issues of the Servicemembers and Families would be met. Lashier explained that this would be accomplished through cross-sharing of information and acknowledging the roles that each of the offices played, so that they could refer Soldiers and Family members to the offices that could best help them find their solutions.
The Area II CHPC is led by Brig. Gen. David J. Conboy, the Area II senior responsible officer and Eighth Army deputy commanding general. It also includes other leaders from components of the Community, including Col. William P. Huber, garrison commander for USAG Yongsan, various Mission Support Commanders, Brigade and Battalion Commanders, and the Directors of 19 different service agencies such as ACS, ASAP, the Medical Treatment Agencies and the Chapel. Each is charged with the task of increasing Community resiliency.
With CHPC, Hargrave said that the program's support began at the top levels of leadership and this was active support. This meant that senior leaders were supporting the Troops by addressing matters such as accessing support services, potential gaps in services or misaligned services that affected Servicemembers' ability to focus on the mission.
"It is the leaders who are becoming directly involved with the Community and it is service agencies who ensure that solutions are found to promote health for Servicemembers and Families," said Hargrave.
Hargrave explained that these leaders targeted six dimensions including the five strengths of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness. These dimensions include resilience in the following areas: Indiscipline, Physical, Spiritual, Social, Emotional and Family matters.
"Brigade and Battalion Commanders bring their challenges to the table," Hargrave said. "Service Agency Directors are at the table to address these concerns and the Senior Responsible Officer facilitates and helps prioritize matters that are being worked. It is truly a team effort with great reward by ensuring Soldiers are taken care of so they can focus on defending us when called upon."
Floyd E. Davison, director of USAG Yongsan's Army Community Services, explained that the Soldier Risk Tool was the program that Leaders used to assess the needs of the Community.
"The SRT is completed monthly by the first line leaders and managers. Then the higher risk Soldiers are directly monitored and resources are accessed and emphasized to resolve the Soldier's risk issues," Davison said.
Davison stated that this method strategically reduces the potential for catastrophic incidents. This is because the monthly requirement for assessment facilitates open communication at the lowest levels and focuses Leadership where the risk is high and potential for conflict has been quantified. This is then reported to the CHPC, which then triggers the assessment of adequate services and the helping support agencies' ability to meeting the needs of Commanders and the Soldiers.
According to Davison, the Agencies are held accountable for their applicable standards and meeting assigned performance metrics under Army Guidance and regulation. When commanders bring issues to the table, the subject matter experts are present or in a working group to resolve issues and focus resources. It is a highly interactive process and has already solved some issues in the Community to the benefit of Soldiers and Families.
Hargrave said some of the priority issues for the Area II CHPC include the enhancement of closed circuit television cameras on post to aid in overall security, enhancing driving infractions communication between the Korean National Police and the Provost Marshall Office, increasing public access to automatic external defibrillators and strengthening the At Risk Soldier Task Force.
These matters were recently discussed on the basis of the current needs of Risk Reduction, Suicide Prevention and overall Health Promotion in support of Servicemembers and Families. Hargrave explained that it was most helpful for the CHPC to know what the immediate needs of the Community were.
Davison explained that the point of knowing the issues of the Community was not to focus on the negative but it was to ensure that Servicemembers and Families were properly having their needs met in order to become a healthy and mission-ready force. This is because the CHPC process is all about taking care of our Military Community. Thus CHPC focuses the Chain of Command on the needs of the Soldiers and the helping agencies' ability to meet those needs. It also allows the senior responsible officer and the Garrison to focus resources where it is needed most and to recognize where higher levels of command need to intervene to take best care of our Community.
"It's not a gotcha process, it's a got your back process," Davison said.