FORT KNOX, Ky. — Fort Knox leaders have released the results of last year’s Community Strengths and Themes Assessment survey, thanking the community for providing much-needed feedback.
Two Fort Knox officials, LovieAnn Terrado, Commander’s Readiness and Resilience integrator and Employee Assistance professional, and William Taylor, Army Substance Abuse Program manager, said now that the results have been analyzed and briefed to leaders, community and workgroup leads from the Commander’s Ready and Resilient Council (CR2C) will begin creating initiatives to address them.
“We did see some things that changed from 2018 to 2020,” said Taylor, “and our CR2C workgroups and leaders will continue to review and assess our programs and services to ensure we are meeting our senior commander’s priorities and community needs.”
Terrado said that in the meantime, they will continue implementing the 2018 plans. As they do, they will continue reviewing and assessing the programs and services to ensure they are meeting the senior commander’s priorities and community’s needs.
The survey was originally developed by the U.S. Army Public Health Center to provide a comprehensive way to capture community members’ perceptions on health, quality of life, safety and satisfaction. At the heart of the survey is developing resilience among all community members.
Fort Knox’s four workgroups — physical, spiritual, psychological and family — will factor data from the CSTA as they formulate mitigations, develop and evaluate measureable courses of action, and implement approved plans.
Terrado said the true power of the CSTA, however, comes from community involvement.
“This is a major tool used in our CR2C process by the leaders and workgroup leads,” said Terrado. “The leads each take it to their workgroup, who focuses on a dimension of strength, whether that’s family, social, spiritual, psychological or physical, and they’ll say, ‘What are our community members saying? What is their perception?
“Are we providing an environment or programs and services conducive to strengthening resilience and readiness?’”
The latest assessment reflects an uptick in the number of participants compared with the 2018 survey — from 451 in 2018 to 513. As in 2018, 2020 numbers also saw civilian employees posting the highest participation rates (45%) followed by active duty service members (28%), retirees at 11% and family members at 9%, with the remaining 7% spread between Guardsmen, Reservists and others.
In the 2020 assessment, community members listed their top three concerns as stress (44%), depression (39%), and obesity (39%).
Under the physical health dimension, obesity remained at the top of the five most important physical health concerns, followed by lack of health care access, lack of fitness, poor diet and high blood pressure. Terrado said much of that is already being addressed because it reflects the same community concerns in 2018.
She also provided an example of how changes from 2018 are effecting people at Fort Knox today, namely the push to tackle obesity through nutrition.
“These past two years, there has been great emphasis by our CR2C’s Physical Readiness Workgroup on nutrition, so healthier options have increased on the installation,” said Terrado. “Our community members can actually see the change, and they can benefit from these environmental changes, which will lead them to a healthier lifestyle.
“That’s what we want. We want to change the environment to make it easier for people to make these healthier choices.”
Taylor explained how even vending machine placement can encourage healthier choices.
“If you go to Ireland [Army Health Clinic,] there is still the traditional vending machine, but that’s on the second floor, so you have to go to the second floor to get the traditional chips versus the healthier foods,” said Taylor. “The healthier vending machine is more accessible to the public on the first floor.”
Other changes have been made at buffet lines in the dining facilities, placement of grab-and-go products at the entrance of Exchange stores and the commissary, and establishing nutrition ratings of food vendors across the installation.
Physical health will remain a top focus of the CR2C’s Physical Readiness Workgroup, said Terrado.
“This targets what our community mentioned back in 2018, that obesity is one of the top concerns,” said Terrado. “It still remained high in 2020, but that percentage did go down.”
Indeed, concerns about obesity went down from 56% to 40%, access to health care from 40% to 34%, lack of fitness from 38% to 30%, poor diet from 43% to 28%, and high blood pressure from 32% to 22%.
Taylor said because their effort to change physical health behavior is proving successful, they are encouraged to focus on other areas.
“Part of trying to increase healthy behavior is making positive choices more convenient and appealing,” said Taylor. “We believe that by doing this in the other workgroup areas that focus on the five dimensions of strength, we will see similar results.”