Outstanding H2F programs recognized at Symposium

By Hunter Rhoades U.S. Army Center for Initial Military TrainingApril 30, 2024

Similar to previous years, the 2024 Holistic Health and Fitness Symposium has a packed schedule, with presentations from Army senior leaders, experts in the five readiness domains, and more than 50 booths from different companies specializing in human performance optimization.

But this the year the H2F Symposium added a new wrinkle, the inaugural H2F “Best in Class” Awards ceremony.

The awards recognized some of the best programs and initiatives from brigades throughout the Army, with more than 60 nominations submitted among six categories: Interdisciplinary, Physical, Nutritional, Mental, Sleep, and Spiritual.

At this year's Holistic Health and Fitness Symposium, Maj. Gen. John Kline, commander of the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training and the Army's proponent for Holistic Health and Fitness, awarded six units the honor of being called the "best of the best" in six different categories.

While it is important to recognize the amazing work the H2F Performance Teams are doing and the impact they are having on the Soldiers in their brigades, the award ceremony also is an opportunity to share some best practices and lessons learned. Each category winner will be briefing their program on the second day of the H2F Symposium, May 1, with other attendees able to ask questions and learn more about their programs.

"These awards not only highlight the great work that is going on across the Army, but also highlight what is possible for units that currently do not have embedded resources," said Kline. “As H2F rapidly expands, highlighting this level of excellence provides units, resourced or not, with a starting point to enrich our formations further and increase the care for our Soldiers." 

The winners of the 2024 Holistic Health and Fitness "Best in Class" Awards were:

Interdisciplinary: 42nd Military Police Brigade, Joint Base Lewis- McChord, WA

The 42nd Military Police Brigade H2F team developed a holistic screening process for all new Soldiers arriving at the brigade. The screening process consisted of a written domain screening, a physical assessment, and an InBody scan.

Over a 12-month period, 233 Soldiers completed the onboarding process and allowed the H2F team to identify Soldiers who were deficient or at risk in one or more of the H2F domains. The early intervention helped the H2F team drive down musculoskeletal profiles over 30 days in the brigade by 22% and reduce Army Body Composition flags by 47%.

"Personally, having worked for the Army for 26 years, I think that H2F is the epitome of a people-first program. This program treats every Soldier like an athlete, and I'm excited to see where this goes for the Army," said Brian Hatler, the 42nd MP Brigade H2F Program Director. 

Physical: 197th Infantry Brigade, Fort Moore, GA

The 197th Infantry Brigade designed a program focused on trainee and cadre injury prevention. The successful creation of the Drill Sergeant Onboarding Program, which includes movement pattern instruction and screenings, and the Trainee Performance Manual, a guided training program for cadre to follow, saved the brigade 15,568 hours of lost work time from cadre seeking care.

“I’m proud of everybody on our H2F team for accomplishing our brigade command team’s intent of ensuring all our cadre, permanent party Soldiers, and trainees are familiar with the H2F concept and its capabilities,” said Rob Peterson, the 197th Infantry Brigade H2F Program Director. “They accomplished this through the injury control team’s collaboration and integration of the Strength & Conditioning Coaches and [TRADOC Organic Medical Structure] providers, by increasing access to care, and never saying ‘no’ to leaders who sought education or unique instruction for their formations.”

Nutrition: 17th Field Artillery Brigade, Joint Base Lewis- McChord, WA

The 17th Field Artillery Brigade H2F team developed the Athlete Meal Prep Program (AMPP) and Command Food Policy Program to enable leaders to be active participants in the food selection process and expose Soldiers to healthier food options. Since its establishment, the AMPP program increased the number of meals provided by Army Services to the brigade by 700%.

"AMPP mitigates the time that it takes for Soldiers to wait in line or when they must be somewhere for a set amount of time, and previously, they wouldn't have time to get a healthy meal," said Alyssa White, the Performance Dietitian for the 17th Field Artillery Brigade. 

Mental: 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Liberty, NC

In 2023, the brigade H2F team created the Terminal Brain Injury Program, aligned with the TBI Center of Excellence guidelines, to meet growing needs caused by airborne operations. The program included weekly evaluations, individual tracking of paratrooper progress, and MOS-specific testing before paratroopers returned to duty. Due to the higher quality of care since the program was established, there were significantly fewer cases of protracted recovery.

“The program is a case study showcasing how an H2F team can meet an identified need in support of its brigade in a comprehensive, holistic, and actionable manner. From the concussive event to return to duty, the program leverages local stakeholders and the unique expertise of H2F across all pillars to offer optimized care to the paratroopers”, said Hunter Treuchet, the H2F Program Director.

Sleep:  82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Liberty, NC

The 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade H2F team established the Sleep Optimization and Recovery program, or SOAR, to support better Soldier sleep, mental performance, and recovery. The program includes sleep education, hygiene strategies, heart rate variability training, biofeedback, and mental performance training to prevent chronic sleep conditions.

"As we completed our baseline surveys, we noticed a huge trend of sleep deficiencies, and to combat that, we built our SOAR program,” stated Victoria Ross, the 82nd CAB H2F Program Director. “With the CAB [operating] 24 hours, we needed something that addressed sleep deficiencies, not just the diagnosis of it, with the goal to keep people up and going."

Spiritual: 193rd Infantry Brigade, Fort Jackson, SC

Following the death of two service members, the spiritual domain team tailored two "postvention" events that brought together the teammates of the fallen service members to reflect and complete a team-focused workout, mindfulness practices, and art therapy. Through an anonymous after-action review, the event received overwhelming positive feedback and aided in processing their feelings of grief.

“We are trying to get people connected, connected with others and connected with themselves, in a sustainable way that will help them overcome obstacles that come into their lives and be truly resilient,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Scott Lovejoy, the 193rd Infantry Brigade Chaplain.
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