VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
The 30th Medical Group Public Health Office at Vandenberg Air Force Base knows the importance of mission and deployment readiness all too well and has continued to ensure members are ready at a moment’s notice.
To maintain our base readiness and to meet the Air Force mission requirements, it is vital for the base to use the Individual Medical Readiness System to ensure 95 percent of its Airmen are ready to deploy at any given time. This group effort for readiness starts with the Public Health Deployment Health section, as they work as a liaison between other Medical Group agencies and the deploying service member.
“A member will come to see us when they are tasked to deploy, as well as two weeks prior to deploying to ensure they are still medically qualified to deploy and that they have everything they will need prior to going down range,” said Senior Airman Hannah Swims, 30th MDG deployment health section lead. “Lastly, they will see us once they have returned from their deployment to ensure they do not require any medical health appointments before their ‘rest and recovery.’”
Public Health not only assists deploying members directly but also provides an IMR status of each military member to group and unit commanders year round. To streamline this process, Public Health provides commander designees, unit deployment monitors and unit health monitors access to track their unit personnel IMR requirements.
The yearly programs are implemented to ensure that miscellaneous medical needs are taken care of before deploying so that the focus stays on the mission overseas and not the member.
“Public Health plays a vital role in cost effective modernization to prevent disease non-battle injuries, or DNBIs,” said Swims. “A DNBI can cause added costs, resources and time to any deployment mission, which requires a deployed member to be cared for or even replaced during deployment. This occurs when medical clearances and risks are not identified and mitigated at home station.”
To mitigate risk factors at an Airman’s home station, they can expect to receive education on medical concerns in their deployment location, as well as other health hazards like food and water sources, prevalent diseases, dangerous animals, and environmental concerns.
“I facilitate our deployers throughout their pre-deployment processing by providing them with their correct medical requirements specific to their individual records and deployment locations,” said Airman 1st Class Demetrious Mckay, 30th MDG public health technician. “I monitor the Deployment-Related Health Assessment Program for Vandenberg, which is designed to identify and address all health care needs related to deployment, as well as address deployment-related health concerns or conditions that may surface in the months before or the months and years after a member's deployment.”
To aid in a smoother process for members who are deploying, Public Health has teamed up with other agencies within the 30th MDG to ensure appointment scheduling for deployment clearances can be accomplished without the wait times of scheduling a regular appointment. This dramatically cuts down wait times and gets Airmen out the door faster.
“We would like to stress that a member cannot deploy with an overdue IMR status,” said Swims. “To best ensure readiness, it is ultimately up to each individual member to make sure they are fit and ready to deploy at any time. When duty calls, do not let an overdue dental appointment hold you back.”