Happy Holidays from the MHS Leadership Team

Jonathan Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

As we celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year, all of the Service Surgeons General and Health Affairs leadership would like to take a moment to celebrate the successes of our Military Health System team and thank you for all of your hard work over this past year. Your efforts have helped to heal, protect and care for our nation’s service members, their families and our veterans.

We are proud of the achievements and advancements that were accomplished during the past year. One significant milestone and fundamental change was a shift in perspectives from health care to health-or in other words, adapting our approach from one that focuses on reactive treatment of illness and injury to one that focuses on proactively promoting healthy lifestyles, preventive medicine and population health.

The Military Health System strives to enhance the health, readiness and resilience of the military community through initiatives such as the Department of Defense’s Operation Live Well. By providing proactive care and embracing new technologies like mobile applications to reach our audience, we can foster a culture of healthy behaviors and lifestyles, and in turn cultivate a more resilient force.

Recent health agendas such as the Comprehensive Soldier and Airmen Fitness programs and the 21st Century Sailor and Marine Initiative underscore the importance of health promotion, wellness and preventive medicine in protecting populations against injury and illness.  We all directly support these health approaches and want to continue to build on them. 

Our Military Health System is also helping to lead and support broader national strategies. Our military medical personnel were instrumental in shaping the National Prevention Strategy: America’s Plan for Better Health and Wellness.  And, we are working more closely with our federal colleagues to implement and showcase our programs and services. For instance, in

October 2012, the U.S. Surgeon General helped the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center launch its Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW) campaign aboard the USS Baatan. HPW directly supports Operation Live Well by providing innovative, evidence-based health promotion and wellness programs and services that facilitate readiness and resilience, prevent illness and injury, hasten recovery, and promote lifelong healthy behaviors and lifestyles.

While HPW is just one of the many programs throughout the services designed to optimize health care and promote overall well-being of our service members, it serves as a prime example of the important role outreach plays in population health and Total Force fitness.  By streamlining delivery methods, we can all better promote health resources and collaborate across efforts to create a culture of healthy behaviors.

As we wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year, we want you to know there is substance behind this wish. We are changing how we partner with those we serve to improve and sustain health. The entire MHS leadership team is proud of and thankful for the work you are all doing to support our service members, their families and veterans.  Happy Holidays!

Sincerely,

Jonathan Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, Surgeon General, United States Army

Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan, Surgeon General, United States Navy

Lt. Gen. Thomas Travis, Surgeon General, United States Air Force