Tag Archives: San Antonio Military Medical Center

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.

Continue reading Recognize signs of suicide to save a life

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.

Continue reading TRICARE Moves Forward With Prime Service Area Reductions

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.

Continue reading Can you pass the summer food safety quiz?

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.

Continue reading Overcoming challenges: Adopt an ‘I will’ attitude

Wounded Soldiers Share Journey to Inspire Boston Victims

By Elaine Sanchez
Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, April 26, 2013 – When I saw the Boston bombing events unfold, my heart broke for the victims of this senseless act of violence.

I thought about how their lives would be forever altered. How the victims who lost one or more limbs were robbed, at least temporarily, of the ability to walk or run.

These are the types of injuries I see each day when I walk into work at Brooke Army Medical Center — single, double and even triple amputees striving to overcome immense challenges. They, perhaps more than any others, can relate to the devastating aftermath of an explosion and the emotional and physical pain of lost limbs. And they know firsthand the courage and strength required to heal.

Still, they have a message of hope to deliver.

  Continue reading Wounded Soldiers Share Journey to Inspire Boston Victims

Will Run for Food

By 1st Lt. Brittney Piche
Dietetic Intern, Department of Nutritional Medicine
Brooke Army Medical Center

What if I told you that you would have to run for two hours to burn off the calories in a piece of red velvet cheesecake? Would you still eat it?

Many restaurants have made the nutrition information of their menu items readily available for display in the restaurant, on the menu, or on their website. With all of this information available, why does the number of overweight and obese Americans continue to rise?

Recent research from Texas Christian University suggests that instead of displaying the nutrition facts of foods, people are more likely to make lower-calorie choices if they know the amount of exercise needed to burn the calories consumed. Maybe it’s time we attack the calorie issue from another angle. If people knew how much physical activity it would take to compensate for their food choices, we may see them reaching for the fruit cup instead of the curly fries.  Based on my experience with patients at BAMC, some of the most commonly consumed fast-food items and their physical activity demands are listed below:




Exercise Needed*

Crispy Chicken Sandwich


1 hour aerobics class
Bacon &Cheese Burger


3 hours of bicycling (<10mph)
Chicken BLT Salad


2 hours of light rowing
6” Roast Beef Sandwich


1 hour of golf
Fruit Cup


10 minutes of kickboxing
Medium Curly Fries


1 hour of roller skating
Mayonnaise Packet


30 minutes of walking (3mph)
Medium Oreo Shake


2 hours swimming laps
Medium Cola


1hour of light weight lifting

*Exercise calories based on 155-person

 Surprised at these numbers? It may be time to make some changes to your fast-food choices, or time to buy some new gym clothes!  If you need special assistance with weight loss, call the BAMC Outpatient Nutrition Clinic at 916-7261.

An Introduction to Yoga

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


Beverly Benson teaches a lunchtime Yoga class in the Pediatric conference room at San Antonio Military Medical Center. U.S. Army photo by Robert T.  Shields
Beverly Benson teaches a lunchtime yoga class at San Antonio Military Medical Center. U.S. Army photo by Robert T. Shields

I’ve heard it said many times, “Yoga? Tai Chi? Isn’t that a bunch of hocus pocus, weird meditation mumbo-jumbo?”  The answer is a resounding NO!

While yoga originated hundreds of years ago as a Hindu discipline that teaches “the suppression of all activity of body, mind and will …” it is now, in general, considered “a system of exercises for attaining bodily or mental control and well-being.” It has been “Westernized” and can include any, or no, form of spirituality.

In general, it is a focusing of the mind inward and clearing it, and the body, of negativity and stress. There are multiple varieties of yoga from a meditation and breathing only version (Yoga Nidra) to more intense Bikram or Hot yoga. All forms of yoga focus on clearing the mind and proper breathing.

Similiarly, T’ai chi is a Chinese system of exercise, developed over 2,000 years ago, incorporating slow, smooth body movements in order to achieve a state of relaxation in mind and body. Although it was originally a self-defense martial art that has over 100 separate movements, it has been reduced in the more popular versions to 18-37 moves. Like yoga, there are also several “sub-sets” of T’ai chi, but all focus on body position, clearing of the mind, or meditation, and breathing.

Both of these practices have been shown through research to improve the body’s response to stress and cause a reduction in inflammation and pain. Since there is a focus on clearing the mind of negative thought focus and deep breathing, practicing yoga or T’ai chi on a regular basis may also help build resilience to life stressors.

There are several offerings of yoga on Fort Sam Houston and Brooke Army Medical Center. You may consider trying one of the classes, or try a class in your area or at one of the Fitness in the Park sessions (www.fitcitySA.com) around town. NAMASTE!

Stress Awareness Month: 3 Mobile Apps Help You Relax

By Corina Notyce
DCoE Public Affairs

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Rebekka Heite
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Rebekka Heite

Is your temper short? Are you anxious? Find it hard to concentrate? What about your sleep habits — sleeping too much or too little? How about your mood — family and friends say you’re pleasant to be around? Your answers to these questions may reveal a level of stress that needs attention.  

Everyone experiences stress at times. The demands of life can be overwhelming, and the unique challenges common to military life adds even more pressure. In addition to external factors that can lead to stress (job demands, relationship difficulties, increased family responsibilities, financial issues), it’s important to know that stress can be self-generated (negative self-talk, unrealistic expectations, always needing to be in control, seeking perfection). Whatever might be causing you stress there are steps you can take now to help reduce its harmful effects on your emotional and psychological health.

Continue reading Stress Awareness Month: 3 Mobile Apps Help You Relax

Eating in Season: Check out Texas’ Local Flavor

By 2nd Lt. Miriam Craft
Dietetic Intern, Department of Nutritional Medicine 

Farmers markets are a great source for fresh produce and preparation tips. Courtesy photo

Spring has sprung! And here in the heart of Texas there’s no better time to begin eating what’s in season. Eating seasonally usually goes hand-in-hand with eating food that is grown locally. This not only benefits nearby farmers, but can also benefit you by saving you money at the register.

Produce that’s picked closer to peak ripeness provides more nutrient-rich flavor to you and your family for every dollar you spend, and purchasing what’s in season will ensure you are serving up the best tasting fruits and vegetables available. Have you ever tried dewberries, rainbow chard, or blood oranges? When at their seasonal best, these and other curious crops may cause even the pickiest of eaters to appreciate their novelty.

Continue reading Eating in Season: Check out Texas’ Local Flavor