NATICK, Mass. (Oct. 31, 2019) -- About 200 military and civilian employees of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine joined for a town hall on Monday at the Carney Hall building where Brig. Gen. Michael Talley, commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, presented USARIEM with the Army Star Strong Award.

USARIEM is the first U.S. Army Futures Command subordinate organization to receive this award.

The Army Star Strong Award indicates units have successfully implemented the Army Safety and Occupational Health Management System, which requires completion of 243 tasks in three stages of progressive assessments in the span of three years.

To earn this recognition, all policies and standard operating procedures must be in written form, policies and procedures must fit unit daily activities, and all employees must understand the policies and procedures in order to create a safe environment. After completing these tasks, members of the Medical Command Safety Office and members of the Department of Defense Safety Management Center of Excellence confirm the unit's safety management system is at the highest standard.

Talley expressed his pride in USARIEM's sense of teamwork, praising the institute for continuing to lead the Army.

"This is an Army-level award that means you achieved over a three-year period some of the highest safety standards in the Army," Talley said. "That says a lot about this organization and how you all take pride in your mission. We rely on the science USARIEM conducts on a daily basis. We cannot win our nation's wars without you."

USARIEM achieved excellence in all areas of the ASOHMS, which includes management leadership and employee involvement, worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, and safety and health training.

Kelly McGovern, Alyssa Geddis, Cpt. Alexander Kolb and Cpt. William Neumeier, all from USARIEM, joined Talley and USARIEM Commander Col. Sean O'Neil onstage. O'Neil expressed how proud he was of their outstanding performance during the presentation and final evaluation for the safety award. He added that USARIEM would not have been able to receive this honorable distinction without the dedication of all USARIEM personnel.

"USARIEM has developed a culture where Soldiers, civilians and contractors work together to ensure workplace safety, accident prevention and reduction is accomplished on a daily basis," O'Neil said. "This safety program not only affects the lives of USARIEM personnel, but it also extends to all service members who contribute to our science as research volunteers as well as our partners in academia, industry and throughout our Government."

Several other USARIEM employees also received coins and recognition certificates during the event.

McGovern, the safety and occupational health manager of USARIEM, said that receiving the Army Star Strong Award "engenders the USARIEM workforce to have pride in all they do."

"This isn't just an ASOHMS program," McGovern said. "It is a tool to drive us toward being an efficient, productive Army medical research facility that continues to fulfill its mission: improving warfighter health and performance in all environments. With the help of engaging, empowering leadership and the dedication of our personnel, we are able to drive this safety program to be the best it can be."

USARIEM has stood for more than 50 years as a world-class laboratory for warfighter health, performance, readiness and lethality. Located at the Natick Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Massachusetts, the institute conducts its mission with unique facilities and recognized scientists in environmental physiology, performance and nutrition research. USARIEM has developed a wide variety of biomedical solutions to protect and sustain a resilient, lethal force in all environments.