By Cmdr. Amy Drayton, RN, MPH, MSN, director of Population Health, Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center
Sailors and Marines who answer the call of duty to protect our nation’s freedom often risk illness and injury during their service, sometimes returning from war with complicated burdens of physical and psychological injuries. We, at the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC), are dedicated to providing products and services that improve the readiness, resilience, and recovery of our wounded, ill, and injured (WII) service members.
NMCPHC’s WII Program is founded on the Force Health Protection (FHP) strategy and its three pillars: Healthy and Fit Force, Protection and Prevention, and Medical and Rehabilitative Care. Our WII projects enhance all three pillars of FHP by promoting healthy lifestyle choices, protecting against environmental health hazards, improving clinical results, and reducing healthcare expenses.
The NMCPHC WII Program offers products and services targeted to providers, scientists, leadership, and individuals. We are honored to be making a difference in the lives of our warfighters and equipping leadership with information they need to make effective and informed decisions related to healthcare. For example, Navy physicians gain actionable data analyses throughout the care continuum from health surveillance to utilization of Military Treatment Facility services and resilience building practices. The program equips military leaders with the tools to develop and maintain a fit and deployable force, and provides operational commanders with real-time information to avoid or mitigate environmental exposures ensuring the protection of troops from health hazards that decrease readiness.
I am excited and proud to see NMCPHC products and services directly impacting Sailors, Marines, and their families. The NMCPHC WII Project Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Report showcases the unique products and services of each WII project and their associated outcomes that align to the FHP pillars and public health focus areas. Some of the most notable successes from the NMCPHC WII Program in 2013 include:
– Developed and utilized performance metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of WII projects throughout Navy Medicine to contribute to health process improvements for wounded service members.
– Served as subject matter experts and delivered detailed clinical analysis for Navy suicide case reviews at the request of the Chief of Naval Operations and Navy Surgeon General. These efforts contributed to enhanced suicide prevention strategies by identifying risk factors, potential areas of intervention, and access to care concerns.
– Expanded the Navy’s Periodic Occupational and Environmental Monitoring Summary Program to include five new summaries that quantify the health risks associated with environmental stressors and exposures during deployment to Camp Lemonnier, Camp Fallujah, Al Asad Air Base, Camp Leatherneck-Bastion, and Camp Dwyer.
-Piloted a WII Health Risk Assessment tool designed to identify healthy and unhealthy behaviors that affect the healing, recovery, and psychological health of WII Sailors and Marines.
– Certified 197 deployable scientists and technicians as proficient and deployment-ready to conduct health hazard assessments in operational environments.
– Earned a recommendation for the Navy Entomology Center of Excellence to be designated as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre by the Scientist in Charge at the WHO Pesticide Evaluation Scheme.
Moving forward, our public health experts will continue to collaborate within NMCPHC and partner with organizations throughout the services and other federal agencies to promote FHP. These teams of scientists, epidemiologists, statisticians, programmers, and health educators are committed to utilizing best practices from their respective fields to conduct extensive data analysis and develop unique products that build on early program success and experience.
To read more about the NMCPHC WII Program, visit: www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcphc/wounded-ill-and-injured.
Editor’s Note: Cmdr. Drayton has served as a Nurse Corps Officer for 18 years in Critical Care, Humanitarian Assistance, and Public Health before coming to NMCPHC. Most of her experience working with wounded warriors occurred in Bethesda, Maryland from 2008-2012. In Maryland, she served as Department Head of the Post Anesthesia Care Unit, Inpatient Nursing Supervisor, and part of the MEDEVAC team that picked up patients arriving from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany at Andrews Air Force base and transported them to the National Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center for their recovery periods.