Recognize signs of suicide to save a life

By Kelly L. Forys-Donahue, Ph.D.,
Psychologist, U.S. Army Public Health Command

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Sept. 3, 2013) — “What? Are you serious? So-and-so tried to kill himself?”

Unfortunately, at some time in your life, you may have heard these questions spoken in your circle of friends. Suicide is real. Most of us know someone whose life has been affected by suicidal behavior (a completed suicide or a suicide attempt), and the pain and stress of the suicidal behavior spreads like a ripple to family, battle buddies, friends and co-workers. All of those individuals–including you–who could be impacted by suicidal behavior can help to recognize risk factors and stressors and act to increase the chances of saving a life.

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TRICARE Moves Forward With Prime Service Area Reductions

From a TRICARE Management Activity News Release

The Defense Department will reduce the number of TRICARE Prime service areas in the United States beginning Oct. 1, affecting about 171,000 retirees and their family members.

Those beneficiaries, who mostly reside more than 40 miles from a military clinic or hospital, received a letter earlier this year explaining their options. They will receive a second letter later this month.

TRICARE Management Activity officials said changing the location of Prime service areas has been planned since 2007 as part of the move to the third-generation of managed care support contracts and will allow them to continue their commitment to making high-quality health care available while supporting DOD efforts to control the rising cost of health care for 9.6 million beneficiaries.

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Sleep disorders: a wake-up call to get help

 By Rebekah Almquist
Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

More than 90 percent of sleeping disorders involve trouble falling asleep at night or staying awake during the day.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the most common disorder, is a blockage of the airway that

Karen Robbins, registered respiratory therapist, prepares her patient, Tech. Sgt. Robert Stelly, for a sleep study at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Service Center. U.S. Air Force photo by Harold China
Karen Robbins, registered respiratory therapist, prepares her patient, Tech. Sgt. Robert Stelly, for a sleep study at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Service Center. U.S. Air Force photo by Harold China

keeps oxygen from entering the lungs, explained Army Col. (Dr.) William Frey, Brooke Army Medical Center sleep expert and consultant to the Surgeon General sleep medicine.

Individuals with OSA often wake up choking due to lack of breath. Sleep clinics prescribe Positive Airway Pressure devices to open airways and allow patients to breath regularly – ensuring a full night’s rest.

“Some people recognize this and wonder why they wake up. If it happens enough times over an eight-hour period, there is no continuity of sleep. That can lead to daytime sleepiness,” Frey said. “This still has the same consequences of not getting adequate sleep. OSA is found in 25 percent of men and 10 percent of women over 30.”

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Don’t miss BAMC’s Back to School Health Fair

Brooke Army Medical Center will host a Back to School Health Fair on July 26 from 10back2school13 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Pediatric Hallway at San Antonio Military Medical Center.

The event will feature an on-site shot record review and a back to school immunization clinic for beneficiaries, along with a host of fun and educational activities for people of all ages.

All military families are invited to attend this free event!

For more information, call 916-5118/5142.


Can you pass the summer food safety quiz?

By CPT Susan Stankorb
Registered Dietitian, Department of Nutritional Medicine, BAMC

1. Food borne illness is more common in summer months than winter months.
a. True
b. False

2. The safest way to thaw meat for grilling is
a. Putting it in the refrigerator
b. Running cold water over it in the sink
c. Leaving it on the counter as long as you are planning to cook it immediately once it is thawed

3. Which of the following is NOT TRUE when it comes to marinating meat for the grill?
a. Marinades can be saved and used again as long as you will be marinating the same type of meat.
b. You should never marinate in a metal bowl.
c. Marinating can be done at room temperature as long as you plan to cook the meat right away.
d. You should reserve some of the marinate for use in basting prior to putting raw food in it to avoid cross contamination.

4. In hot weather he maximum time cold foods should be allowed to sit out of the refrigerator is:
a. 30 minutes
b. 1 hour
c. 2 hours|
d. No more than 3 hours

5. Which is the safest practice for serving potato salad at an outdoor BBQ?
a. Placing potato salad in a large bowl over ice.
b. Placing potato salad in a small bowl without ice and replacing it with new bowl when needed or at least every hour.
c. It is not safe to serve potato salad.

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Ending dinnertime tantrums over healthy eating

By Capt. Susan M. Stankorb
Registered Dietitian, Department of Nutritional Medicine

Creating a healthy food environment for our children can have long lasting effects, not only in their eating habits, but also for long term chronic disease prevention.  The question becomes how do we balance our desire to provide a healthy start for our children with the hustle and bustle of our daily lives? 

There are some simple, low impact ways to improve healthy eating behaviors. For example, our food choices are highly influenced by availability, especially during childhood. Have you ever seen your child’s eyes light up at the sight of a shelf filled with options from floor to ceiling?  It is very important to understand that making healthy foods readily available increases consumption, but too many options can we overwhelming.

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Overcoming challenges: Adopt an ‘I will’ attitude

By Beverly Benson
BAMC RN/Health Promotion Educator
Army Department of Preventive Medicine

What do you do when you’re faced with a challenge? What if it involves something you’re deathly afraid of?  What if you might fail?

Sometimes, when we look at a challenge we think: “There’s no way I can climb that. I’m too afraid (or too weak, or too “whatever”), I can’t, I won’t be able to, I’ll never.” And on we go, convincing ourselves of all the reasons why we shouldn’t even try. So we walk away without ever discovering just how strong we really are.

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Military Health Takes Nominees for Female Physician Awards

By Staff 
May 28, 2013

The nomination process is underway for the next “Stronger Female Physician Leaders in the Military Health System” awards program.

Now in its fifth year, the program seeks to raise the profile of women in military medicine. It recognizes individuals for their outstanding accomplishments and identifies role models to inspire and lead the next generation of female military physicians.

Military Health bestowed the award in March on five women for the 2013 award cycle. The senior award winner, Air Force Col. (Dr.) Kimberly A. Slawinski, vice commander at Air Force Medical Operations Agency in San Antonio, Texas, inspires girls to consider careers in engineering or medicine by volunteering at a teen summer camp focused on math and science.

“Sometimes young women need encouragement from successful women on a personal level,” she said after receiving the award. “They need to see you are truly real and interested in them as opposed to images on television, magazines or Facebook.”

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New Kind of Emergency Room May Not be TRICARE Authorized

TRICARE beneficiaries may have noticed new kinds of “Emergency Centers” popping up in their area. It may seem like a tempting health care option but, free-standing emergency rooms that are not affiliated with a hospital may not be TRICARE-authorized.
If a provider, such as a free-standing ER, is not authorized, then TRICARE is prohibited from paying it “facility fees.” That can leave a beneficiary stuck with a big bill.
Beneficiaries need to “know before you go.”  Check a free-standing ER’s TRICARE status – before emergency care is needed.

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