By Douglas Holl, USAPHCJune 13, 2019
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Residents with housing-related health and safety concerns can now find information about the Housing Environmental Health Response Registry in every Army installation Community Resource Guide.
The HEHRR was launched in April by the U.S. Army Medical Command to address housing health or safety concerns of current or former Army housing residents.
"Housing is one of those topics that is often searched for in the CRG," said Anna Courie, Army Public Health Center Health Promotion Policy and Evaluation project officer. "If Army Families have health issues surrounding their military housing, they can search for the HEHRR in the CRG to register their concerns and problems. We really want to get the information out to our users to take action on their concerns."
The CRG digitally connects service members and Families to available resources based on their identified need. Courie says the CRG is better than a Google search, because it has been configured so that the service member, Family member, or civilian can search based on need category, provider, A-Z index, or by key word search term.
"The military has its own lingo and language," said Courie. "We've tried to think like a Soldier or spouse coming to a new duty station and using terms of reference that are familiar to them to quickly get them the information they need on their problem or risk factor."
By linking the HEHRR to the CRG, APHC is hoping to leverage this resource to make sure all housing residents are getting the word about the Registry. Since its launch, residents from 38 installations have called the registry hotline at 1-800-984-8523 to voice their concerns.
Residents who enroll in the registry will receive information about any environmental health hazards they may be concerned with, including water quality, lead, mold or mildew, dampness or asbestos. They can also use the registry to report a health concern or request contact from one of APHC's public health experts to assist them with their issue.
"The HEHRR is an opportunity for Families to engage in a dialogue with Army professionals related to housing and health concerns," said John Resta, director of the U.S. Army Public Health Center and acting deputy chief of staff of Public Health for the U.S. Army Medical Command. "The Army wants everyone's voice to be heard and is committing great resources to improve the quality of life for its Families."
If a resident has successfully addressed their needs with their local housing office and healthcare team, they need not enroll in the Registry, but they may, said Ginn White, project manager, Army Public Health Response Team. The Registry is completely voluntary. Senior Army leaders are monitoring the housing response very closely and communicating directly to housing managers.
"The Army is using the registry to understand where and what types of housing concerns are impacting Families," said White. "Your voice helps us accurately measure and shape the response, now and proactively for the future."
Resources like the Registry and CRG can be incredibly empowering, said Courie, who is also a military spouse.
"We PCS every two years on average," said Courie. "I love that I can pull up my phone and click through the CRG application to find information on my medical needs, school liaison officer, housing, and fitness needs wherever we go."
Enabling the Army Family to take control of their resources based on their needs is a force multiplier, said Courie.
"Leveraging the digital environment allows us to get those programs and resources to our Army Family as rapidly as we can, at the touch of a finger," said Courie. "Army Public Health Center is committed to improving the health and readiness of the Army Family. What better way to do that then providing those Families the information they need right on their phones?"
For information about the registry as well as links to community resource guides and housing hazard information, please visit the HEHRR page at https://phc.amedd.army.mil/topics/campaigns/housing/Pages/HEHRR.aspx .
The Army Public Health Center focuses on promoting healthy people, communities, animals and workplaces through the prevention of disease, injury and disability of Soldiers, military retirees, their Families, veterans, Army civilian employees, and animals through studies, surveys and technical consultations.