ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - In the near future, Aberdeen Proving Ground is slated to stand up an Army Wellness Center; a new initiative in achieving overall health for Soldiers and retirees, their families, and Army civilians.

According to the Nov. 7 STAND-TO!, Army Wellness Centers are the outreach arm of the Army Medical Command's (MEDCOM) Patient-Centered Medical Home, Army medicine's current primary-care model. The goal is to weave primary prevention into the fabric of everyday life, educating Army community members and their families about how to live longer and healthier lives. Primary prevention, preventing disease and injury before they occur is the key to refocusing Army medicine from a healthcare system to a system for health.

The AWC program is a MEDCOM program overseen by the U.S. Army Public Health Command, headquartered at APG.

"From our perspective at Public Health Command, the Army Wellness Center initiative is truly a partnership," said Maj. Zack Solomon, APG's AWC project officer. "Public Health Command provides the science-based wellness and health promotion expertise, and the standardization and quality assurance from center to center."USAPHC's APG medical partner is Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic.

"The best part is that Army Wellness Center services are open to everyone on APG and its services are free," said Kirk Commander, Lt. Col. Ellen S. Daly.

The APG Army Wellness Center will be located on the clinic's third floor and will be staffed by nurse and health educators.

Daly said the AWC concept is in line with Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho's plan to change the way Army providers provide healthcare.

"She is tasking all of us to increase education to encourage good health decisions year-round," she said. "Fortunately for us, the PHC is located on APG and is willing to provide the funding and the staffing to stand up the AWC inside our facility."

The AWC approach is holistic in that it considers the complete person, psychologically as well as physically, Daly said. Any military, DA civilian, retiree, Family member or contractor can make an appointment at the AWC or be referred by their commander or supervisor.

"It's for anyone interested in gaining health information and a better, healthier lifestyle," she said.

Solomon said the AWC premise is based on primary prevention of the onset of disease. The concept, which means reaching out to the population before diseases take effect, is achieved through educating personnel on how to build and sustain good health.

The AWC process begins with six core programs, he said. They include a Health Assessment Review. Then Physical Fitness and Nutrition needs are evaluated. But it doesn't end there.

"In response to increased stressafter 12 years of war, the AWC also includes Stress Management training and techniques. Tobacco Education and General Wellness Education round out the six core programs." he said.

"This is the standard program set but the Community Health Promotion Council can survey the community to determine if certain programs will be beneficial to that area and then send recommendations forward to evaluate the goals and objectives.

Programs are individualized to meet patient's current needs, motivation and confidence levels. For example, the Health Assessment Review includes American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Risk Stratification; a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q); a Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) Score and Biometric Screening. From private sources, this testing would cost about $3,000.

Solomon said the AWC is built around classes and individual coaching.

"Every visit is documented and everyone receives a printout," he said. "Soldiers receive a full summary that will follow them to every post where there's an AWC. If you are an eligible medical system beneficiary seeing an Army provider, the AWC staff also will document your visit results in your medical record."

Referrals can be made to AWCs by medical providers or unit commanders. Self-referrals are always welcome and can be made by contacting AWCs directly.

"Army Wellness Centers benefit units, unit leaders and individuals," Solomon said. "They improve unit readiness by targeting the fitness and performance of Soldiers--something leaders really appreciate--and they empower individuals to build, sustain and manage their own good health."
The Army Wellness Center program

How the AWC Program works

AWCs are staffed by nurses and health educators who deliver primary prevention programs. (Primary prevention occurs before disease injury or disability occurs). Referrals can be made to AWCs by medical providers or unit commanders. Self-referrals are always welcome and can be made by contacting AWCs directly.

Core programs offered at AWCs

The AWC approach to service is holistic. AWC staff members take into account all of an individual's physical, psychological and social circumstances when providing services. A holistic approach is important because a person's health cannot be full addressed unless the whole person is considered.

Health assessment review: An analysis of a person's health status, risk for disease and ability to increase physical activity safely.

Physical fitness: Using state-of-the-art equipment, physical fitness level I assessed and used to create an individualized exercise prescription.

Healthy nutrition: Use of metabolic testing that synchronizes an individual's resting metabolic rate to provided tailored strategies for weight loss, gain or maintenance.

Stress management: Education in biofeedback and stress relief techniques, positive coping skill and good sleep habits.

General wellness education: Classes on topics such as healthy lifestyles, increased resiliency, preventing chronic disease through healthy living habits, and self-care.

Tobacco education: An assessment of an individual's readiness to change, a discussion of possible options for becoming tobacco free, and provision of the appropriate tobacco cessation education.

Page last updated Tue November 20th, 2012 at 00:00