First Comes Play, The Rest Will Follow: A Four Part Webinar Series on Play

by Kristie Pretti-Frontczak, PhD

blocks
Image by BethL at pixabay.com, Licensed Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” Fred Rogers

When Fred Rogers and many of his predecessors, such as Maria Montessori, spoke of play, they did so with an understanding of the great importance it serves in human growth and development. Play is more than “just having fun,” and it is more than the outcomes that are achieved. It is through play that children experience the world. It is through play that neural pathways are created and strengthened.

Repeated opportunities to experience, explore, and interact with the world is necessary for developmental processes to unfold. In fact, researchers have provided “unequivocal evidence that the brain physically changes, increasing and strengthening the neural connections through repetitive experience” [2]. That means, through multiple opportunities to play, children are able to watch, copy, practice, and eventually learn….EVERYTHING.

In this webinar series, we will not only explore the importance of play, but we will deepen our commitment to fostering strong relationships with children and learn strategies to expand the richness and complexity of their play. Together, we’ll learn how children go from sensory exploration to developing highly complex and cooperative play skills. Together, we’ll learn how “[r]ather than detracting from academic learning, play appears to support the abilities that underlie such learning and thus to promote school success.” [1]

More specifically, in 1-2-3 Play with Me! Recognizing and Valuing the Power of Play, we will examine how children are naturally curious and learn best through practice and observation. A highlight from this webinar will be to gain strategies for being a strong play partner. In Have a Seat! Learning What Children Know Through Play, we will consider the advantages of assessing during play. A highlight from this webinar will be to learn strategies for engaging in authentic assessment practices as we aim to better understand what children know and can do. In When Play is More than Just ‘Playing: Delivering Intentional Instruction through Daily Interactions, we will focus on the importance of teaching the whole child and promoting emotional, social, motor, and cognitive skills through play. In this webinar participants will be to learn how to build upon children’s natural curiosity and embed instruction in a way that continues and extends vs. disrupts learning. Lastly, in Beyond the Shape Sorter: Playful Interactions that Promote Strong Academic and Social-Emotional Skills, we will examine the relationship between play and a child’s future success. A highlight from this webinar will be to explore how to support all children through play, even those who may be “stuck” and don’t seem to find new and more sophisticated ways to play.

Please join us for this four- part webinar series, as we explore how play is foundational to individual and collective growth in children ages birth to five. Learn more here.

References

[1] National Association for the Education of Young Children [NAEYC]. (2009). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8 [position statement]. Washington, DC: Author.

[2] Winter, P. (2010). Engaging families in the early childhood development story- Neuroscience and early childhood development: Summary of selected literature and key messages for parenting. Victoria, Australia: Education Services Australia Ltd., Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA).

This post was edited by Robyn DiPietro-Wells & Michaelene Ostrosky, PhD, members of the MFLN FD Early Intervention team, which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, and YouTube.

Don’t Over-Withhold Income Tax Money-Save It!

By Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, oneill@aesop.rutgers.edu

February is a “teachable moment” for military financial service professionals to “talk taxes” with service members. W-2 forms and statements from financial institutions have started to arrive and many people are looking forward to receiving an income tax refund.

Photo by stevepb via Pixabay.com Public Domain CC0
Photo by stevepb via Pixabay.com Public Domain CC0

Many people deliberately have extra federal and state income taxes withheld from their paychecks. Advantages of over-withholding are that there’s no access to this money and, therefore, it can’t be spent recklessly, and the refund makes a nice windfall once a year to pay off debts or buy “big ticket” items. Disadvantages of big tax refunds are that taxpayers must wait to collect their money and the government pays no interest.

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage, however, of over-withholding is the risk of having a tax refund delayed as a victim of tax identity theft. This happens when fraudsters use stolen personal identification information (e.g., name and Social Security number) to file a fraudulent tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.

Victims can wait months for their money as they take steps to file paperwork to verify their identity with the IRS. Tax identity theft is the most commonly reported type of identity theft according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), with more than $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds cited in a government GAO report.

A small refund, say $500 or less, may be fine, but if when people get back a lot more, they are losing foregone interest on money that could have been saved. They also run the risk of having to wait for a large sum of money if they are an identity theft victim. Social Security numbers are often obtained illegally through database hackings that people have no control over.

The amount of the income tax withholding is based on the number of allowances that a person notes on a W-4 form that is filed with their employer. Essentially, if income taxes are over-withheld, a paycheck is smaller, and a tax refund is larger. In simple terms, tax withholding can be explained this way:

  • More withholding = Smaller paycheck = Larger tax refund
  • Less withholding = Larger paycheck = Smaller tax refund or taxes owed to the IRS

W-4 forms are typically required the first day on a job. The Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate section on the bottom of the W-4 form tells employers how much tax to withhold based on a formula from the IRS. Anyone can change their W-4 form periodically with their employer and undo their over-withholding.

Just be careful not to overdo it. Essentially, taxpayers must pay 90% of their current year tax liability to avoid a penalty plus interest. However, there is a “safe harbor” exception rule: no penalties are due if a taxpayer paid at least as much (i.e., 100%) of their prior year’s tax bill (i.e., the tax due shown on their prior year’s tax return) or 110% of the prior year’s tax amount if adjusted gross income (AGI) was more than $150,000.

Conversely, service members can also request to have additional taxes withheld from their pay to cover taxes owed on taxable income such as interest and dividends, capital gains and self-employment. Another reason to have extra taxes withheld is the “marriage tax” where married couples with two employed spouses pay more tax together than they would if each spouse filed as a single taxpayer. This is especially true if each spouse has a similar income such as two spouses earning $35,000 for a total combined gross income of $70,000.

A helpful resource is the IRS Withholding Calculator (https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator). Results from the calculator can help taxpayers complete their W-4 form to avoid having too much or too little tax withheld from their pay.

FD Webinar| On Solid Ground: Exploring Strategies to Help Clients Create and Maintain Healthy Relationships

 

On Solid Ground: Exploring Strategies to Help Clients Create and Maintain Healthy Relationships

Date: March 30, 2017
Time: 11:00am-12:30pm ET
Location: https://learn.extension.org/events/2993

Balance
Pixabay[ Balance by KarelZe, August 14, 2013, CCO]
As a society, we often get caught up in the “do not’s” rather than the “do’s” when it comes to education on anything to do with safety and health. But, what if we make a switch towards empowerment and the things that we can do to remain healthy and safe? Dr. Alaina Szlachta, Director of Training for the  National Domestic Violence Hotline, will guide us in an interactive and meaningful webinar on ways we can work with our clients on establishing and maintaining healthy relationships. Join us as we discuss healthy relationships from an empowerment based perspective.

We offer 1.5 National Association of Social Worker CE credits and CE credits for licensed Marriage and Family Therapists in the state of Georgia for each of our webinars, click hereto learn more. For more information on future presentations in the 2016 Family Development webinar series, please visit our professional development website or connect with us via social media for announcements: (Facebook & Twitter)

MFLN “Network News” – March 2017

Washington DC Snowstorm, Leckman, Flickr CC0

Members from across the Military Families Learning Network came together in our nation’s capital last month for our annual meeting. Our liaisons from the Office of Military Family Readiness Policy and USDA-NIFA joined us. It was a great opportunity to reflect on the work we accomplished in the past year and to look at the coming year and its opportunities. The nimble nature of our network was noted as well as the importance of incorporating community capacity building in all areas to ensure family readiness. The meeting left us energized and focused, poised for another year of collaborative programming.

From the new blended retirement system to play therapy, there are learning opportunities for all this month. View the upcoming professional development events at https://militaryfamilies.extension.org/webinars.

Subscribe to our monthly email update to stay up-to-date with the Military Families Learning Network.

The Cooperative Extension System as a Force Multiplier for Communities

What is a force multiplier?

Force multiplication, in military usage, refers to an attribute or a combination of attributes that dramatically increases the effectiveness of an item or group, giving a given number of troops (or other personnel) or hardware the ability to accomplish greater things than without it. The expected size increase required to have the same effectiveness without that advantage is the multiplication factor. For example, if a certain technology like GPS enables a force to accomplish the same results of a force five times as large but without GPS, then the multiplier is five. Such estimates are used to justify an investment cost for force multipliers. 1 Examples of force multipliers in the military include: training/experience, morale, mobility, technology, and geographic features.

Although the term was coined for military use, force multipliers can come in many forms – such as a hammer multiplying a physical force, allowing a nail to be driven into something solid, or a social media platform that allows a voice to be heard by thousands of people for little to no effort. Force multipliers are often expensive, the more effective they are, the higher the investment to access the force multiplier. Factory production and distribution systems are large scale force multipliers that make it possible to deliver value to thousands of paying customers in a very short time.2 The costs to these systems are high but allow capabilities that would be otherwise out of reach. Investing in force multipliers often frees up time, energy and allows one to focus attention elsewhere.

In the realm of community capacity building, there are often organizations within a community that act or have great potential to act as force multipliers. Land-grant system and subsequently, the Cooperative Extension System, are great examples of this.

A Brief History of Land-Grant Universities and the Cooperative Extension System

To provide some background, in 1862 under the Morrill Act, each state was given public lands to be sold or used for a profit to create at least one land-grant college. The college would specifically focus on teaching agriculture and mechanical arts. In 1890, the Second Morrill Act was passed, which provided that federal funds be appropriated annually to each state to support their land grant college. Today, there is a land grant college or university in every U.S. state, territory and even the District of Columbia. The philosophy behind the appropriation of these funds is that each state would hold an institution that could act as the backbone of scientific research and at the same time disseminate the most current information through its educational programs.

In 1914, the Smith-Lever Act was passed, which allowed the colleges to take on another function, the “extension”, which was designed to further extend the knowledge generated by the college out to the farms and consumers around the state. Extension was to be a cooperative activity between the federal government (through USDA) and the states. 3 The extension agents of this time could be found educating farmers on improved techniques to increase farm productivity, and investigating issues that were a risk to U.S. agriculture. It is also worth mentioning that a decade earlier (1902), 4-H was founded, and became a national organization with the passage of the Smith-Lever Act. The activities conducted by 4-H mirrored the education provided by the extension agents, extending the research based practices to youth in counties across the U.S.

Cooperative Extension System, by County

Extension Today

Today, the land-grant system and cooperative extension system continue to lead the way in providing access to current research and information across federal, state and county lines. The Cooperative Extension System has evolved significantly and may operate differently on the individual, local level, but their mission is the same: Extension provides non-formal education and learning activities to people throughout the country — to farmers and other residents of rural communities as well as to people living in urban areas. It emphasizes taking knowledge gained through research and education and bringing it directly to the people to create positive changes.4 The role of Extension agents & educators has expanded beyond agriculture and mechanical arts, the Cooperative Extension System now has the resources and capacity for education in many content areas.

Capacity Pools of Cooperative Extension

Translating Research into Action

University faculty members, who are disciplinary experts, translate science-based research results into language — written, verbal, and electronic — appropriate for targeted audiences. County-based educators work with local citizens and interest groups to solve problems, evaluate the effectiveness of learning tools, and collect grassroots input to prioritize future research. By living and working in communities, county educators are able to rely on existing relationships to respond to local needs, build trust, and engage effectively with citizens.5

Conclusion

So there you have it – the opportunity offered by the land-grant system and Cooperative Extension System are too great to pass up! Contact your county extension office today to find out how you can utilize this system as a force multiplier in your community!

 

 

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force_multiplication
  2. https://personalmba.com/force-multiplier/
  3. https://www.nap.edu/read/4980/chapter/2#8
  4. https://nifa.usda.gov/extension
  5. https://nifa.usda.gov/cooperative-extension-system

 

Medicare & Medicaid Resources

Medicare and Medicaid services can be confusing, no matter what stage you may be at in your caregiving journey. As we prepare for next week’s webinar, ‘Medicare 2017 & What it Means for You!,’ it is important to highlight past presentations to help set the stage for the training. Think of these past presentations as a “refresher course,” before learning about changes to the Medicare system that will take affect this year.

Our MFLN Military Caregiving concentration has several trainings geared to provide basic educational information related to Medicare and Medicaid for providers and family caregivers. In addition to increasing your knowledge of the healthcare insurance programs, the trainings also offer certificates of completion for service providers.

Introduction to Medicare

Back to Basics: Medicare

In this webinar we provided a broad overview of Medicare program’s Part A and Part B as well as introduced CMS National Training Program. Medicare, the federal health insurance program for adults over age 65 and other qualified individuals, accounts for more than 48 million Americans through expenditures of more than $545 billion. Check out the Back to Basics: Medicare webinar recording today!

Medicaid and Military Families Series

In this three-part series, an overview of the Medicaid program is provided along with information covering options for children with special needs as well as adults with special needs.

An Introduction

This module will provide an overview of the Medicaid program. You will have the opportunity to learn about the overall purposes of the Medicaid program; its relevance to military families, especially those with family members who have special needs. Additionally, this recording will discuss the manner in which Medicaid is implemented and variations among the states.

Children with Special Needs

This module will concentrate on Medicaid options for children with special needs. The overall purpose of this module is to assist family support providers and others with a general knowledge of Medicaid and to provide some guidance on where to turn for resources and further information.

Adults with Special Needs

The final module in this series examines Medicaid options for older family members, such as spouses and adult children. This webinar and the others in this series offer a certificate of completion.

We hope to see you at our “Medicare 2017 & What it Means for You” webinar on February 22, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. This webinar will offer 1.0 CE credit from the UT School of Social Work as well as a certificate of completion. To register for this webinar please go to https://learn.extension.org/events/2921


 This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on February 17, 2017.

Celiac Disease Symptoms in Adults and Children

CC Wikimedia Commons photo by Nephron

by Joanna Manero

If you missed the webinar by Amy Jones MS, RDN, LD on the

The Scoop on Gluten Free: Research and Practice Tips

You can still watch the recording and earn 1.0 CPEU by using the link https://learn.extension.org/events/2832 

Gluten-free eating may be a popular trend among fad dieters; however, to a person with Celiac disease, it may not look so glamorous.  Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which the ingestion of gluten leads to an immune attack to the small intestine.  The villi in the small intestine become damaged, which leads to malabsorption of nutrients.

According to a large multicenter study carried out by Alessio Fasano and his research team (2003), celiac disease affects 1 in 133 Americans; however, when people have first-degree relatives with the disease, the incidence increases to 1 in 22.  Unfortunately, the average length of time for a symptomatic person to reach a diagnosis is four years. This delay can lead to substantial damage to the intestine that can take years to repair leading to further complications.  This difficulty in diagnosis is likely because celiac disease can present itself so differently from one person to the next.  Some people may even be asymptomatic. However, about 200 symptoms have been associated with the disease.  The most common symptoms are below.

In Children:

  • Abdominal bloating and pain
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Behavioral issues
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Delayed growth and puberty
  • Dental enamel defects of the permanent teeth
  • Failure to thrive
  • Fatigue
  • Short stature
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

In Adults:

  • Arthritis
  • Bone loss
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Canker sores
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Infertility or recurrent miscarriage
  • Iron-deficiency anemia
  • Liver or biliary tract disorders
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Seizures or migraines
  • Skin rash

You can see how many of these symptoms overlap with those of other diseases, making diagnosis challenging.  If you are suffering from one or more of these symptoms do not start a gluten free diet without getting a diagnosis first!  This is very important to accurately identify what is causing your symptoms.  Once you are diagnosed see a Dietitian to help you with the diet.

As of now, the only form of treatment for this disease is a strict gluten-free diet.  Once a client is diagnosed with celiac disease, eliminating gluten from their diet may seem like the next daunting task.  So what exactly is left to eat? Foods that are naturally gluten-free may be a place to start. These foods include:

  • Beans, Legumes, and Nuts
  • Dairy
  • Fruits
  • Fish and Seafood
  • Meat and Poultry
  • Vegetables

There’s also a variety of grains and other starchy foods that are gluten free. These include beans, cassava, chia, corn, flax, potato, quinoa, rice, sorghum, soy, tapioca, and yucca.  And finally, with a higher incidence of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, the number of gluten-free products has also increased.  Most supermarkets now have sections dedicated to gluten-free versions of products that were once thought to be a distant memory for those suffering from the disease.

What are your experiences with celiac disease and gluten intolerance? 

Do your clients have a hard time getting a diagnosis as the literature suggests?

Share your opinions on gluten-free diets without medical reason below!

https://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/glutenfreediet/food-options/

https://celiac.org/celiac-disease/understanding-celiac-disease-2/celiacdiseasesymptoms/

Celiac Disease Facts and Figures. The University of Chicago Medicine  

Prevalence of Celiac Disease in At-Risk and Not-At-Risk Groups in the United States 

This was posted by Robin Allen, a member of the Military Families Learning Network (MFLN) Nutrition and Wellness team that aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Find out more about the MFLN Nutrition and Wellness concentration on our website, on Facebookon Twitterand LinkedIn.

 

Join a Savings Challenge

By Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, oneill@aesop.rutgers.edu

America Saves Week and Military Saves Week are February 27 to March 4 so now is a good time to discuss savings strategies with service members. What is the best way to “find” money to save? There is no one right answer. Automatic payroll deductions work well for many people. For example, they have deposits into a credit union savings account or the Thrift Savings Plan automatically taken out of their paycheck, before they can spend it. Other people do well by saving loose change in a jar and depositing it periodically in a savings account as the jar fills up.

Find more info at http://militarysaves.org/
Find more info at http://militarysaves.org/

A third way to save money is to complete a savings challenge that gradually ramps up (or down) weekly deposits. While many people start these challenges during the first full week of January, as a New Year’s resolution, they can be started at any time. For example, another option is to make a “catch up deposit,” perhaps using tax refund money, in February or March and then complete a calendar year challenge from that point forward until the end of December.

Below is a description of six different savings challenges and how they operate:

The 52-Week Money Challenge– This challenge begins with a $1 deposit during Week #1. The weekly deposit rises by $1 per week and reaches $52 during the final week of the Challenge (Week #52), with total savings of $1,378. Some people have suggested doing the 52-Week Money Challenge in reverse if people have more money in January (e.g., from holiday gifts or a year-end bonus at work) than they do in December, which tends to be a very expensive month for many people with holiday gifts and travel. The “reverse challenge” strategy is also very motivating. After five weeks, you already have $250 saved. A third way to do the 52-Week Money Challenge is to pick an amount each week that you can afford (e.g., $25 one week and $16 the next) and complete the challenge in any order. Tracking forms are available at

http://walton.ifas.ufl.edu/fcs/files/2014/01/52-Week-Money-Challenge.pdf

https://www.affinityplus.org/Portals/0/Documents/Blog/52Week.pdf

https://www.lgfcu.org/sites/default/files/docs/52week_challenge.pdf

The 365-Day Penny Challenge- With this challenge, people make a daily savings deposit and increase their deposit by a penny a day. At the end of a year, they have $667.95 of savings. A description and tracking form are available at http://funhappyhome.com/2016/01/365-day-penny-saving-challenge-save-667-in-one-year/. Like the 52-Week Money Challenge, the 365-Day Penny Challenge can be done forward, backward, or in any order that works for savers.

The 52-Week Youth Money Challenge– This challenge is for parents to use to encourage their children to save. See http://www.slideshare.net/BarbaraONeill/52-week-money-challenge-for-youth0315. Weekly savings deposits are 10 weeks each of $1, $2, $3, $4, and $5, resulting in $150 of savings. Week #51 is an optional $25 from birthday gifts and Week #52 is an optional $25 from holiday gifts ($200 total). There is also an option for parents to provide a 50% ($100) match of their child’s savings, resulting in total annual savings of $300.

The 15-Week Money Challenge– This challenge is for high school and college students and adults with short-term financial goals. See http://www.slideshare.net/BarbaraONeill/15-week-college-student-money-challenge0715. The Basic Challenge includes five weeks of $10 savings, five weeks of $20 savings, and five weeks of $30 savings, resulting in a total accumulation of $300. The “Hard Core” Challenge starts with a $10 weekly deposit and ramps up the savings deposit by $5 per week for a final deposit of $80, resulting in a total accumulation of $675.

The $2,500 Savings Challenge- This challenge begins with a $2 deposit during Week #1. The weekly deposit rises by $2 per week and reaches a high of $98. There are two weeks “off” at a saver’s discretion and a $50 deposit is made during the final week of the Challenge (Week #50), with total savings of $2,500. Like the 52-Week Money Challenge and the 365-Day Penny Challenge, the $2,500 Savings Challenge can be done forward, backward, or in any order that works for individual savers. See http://www.slideshare.net/BarbaraONeill/50-week-2500-savings-challenge

The 30-Day $100 Savings Challenge– This challenge is for small dollar amounts and

Join us in saving this month by making small daily deposits July 1-30 to save $100 in 30 days.

short-term financial goals. The challenge format is saving $1 for five days, $2 for five days, $3 for five days, $4 for five days, and $5 for ten days, resulting in $100 of savings on Day #30: http://www.slideshare.net/BarbaraONeill/30-day-100-savings-challenge-0416. Like several other challenges, deposits can be made in any order throughout the month.  For example, some people may have more money to save at the beginning of a month than the end.

Can Good Really Come from Bad? Understanding Posttraumatic Growth

By: Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT

Sunset Sky
Pixabay[Sunset Sky, January 4, 2014, by Adina Voicu]
Most of us know about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at this point. We may have heard about it in relation to the experience of combat veterans, natural disasters, or any other traumatic life event or crisis. Some of us may even know someone who suffers from PTSD. But, there is a new term related to the experience of traumatic events and life crises coined by Posttraumatic Growth Research Group at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Posttraumatic Growth is the idea that something positive comes from these negative experiences- growth. The group contends that while this idea is certainly not new, the systematic study of this is, in fact, relatively new.

According to the PTG Research Group, the growth has a tendency to happen in the following 5 areas:

  1. New opportunities have emerged from the struggleperhaps the experience has opened the door for opportunities that may not have presented themselves before.
  2. Change in relationships with othersa traumatic event may bring people closer together for various reasons.
  3. Increased sense of own strengththe trauma may have shown the survivor that they have more strength than they ever imagined, having survived the experience.
  4. Greater appreciation for lifethe event may have “opened the eyes” of the survivor to new aspects of life they never saw before.
  5. Change in or deepening of religious/spiritual beliefsIt is quite possible that the experience could shift spiritual/religious beliefs in various ways, depending on the person.

While PTG Research Group recognizes the potential for the growth from traumatic experiences, they also see the importance in acknowledging the following:

  • While people may experience growth from traumatic events, they still suffer.
  • There is no implication that traumatic events are good.
  • Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will experience growth

So, can good really come from bad? The answer: there is certainly potential for growth.

References:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: https://www.va.gov

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte: http://www.uncc.edu

Posttraumatic Growth  Research Group:  http://ptgi.uncc.edu

This post was written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT, the Social Media and Programming Coordination Specialist for the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development concentration on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.

In Depth Coverage – Building Healthy Military Communities Initiatives

We’ve been following the Building Healthy Military Communities (BHMC) pilot program over the last few months. Today we’d like to expand upon the information that we initially provided, to take a closer look at the objectives of BHMC as well as some of the data that is driving the need for this program.

 

Mission of Building Healthy Military Communities

The Building Healthy Military Communities pilot aims to better understand unique challenges faced by geographically dispersed Service members and their families that may impact their readiness, resiliency, and well-being.

Background & History

 

Over the years, there have been various programs in place to promote healthy lifestyles among service members and their families. In 2013 the Healthy Base Initiative (HBI) was launched to focus on healthy lifestyles on installations across the US.

 

  • A major conclusion of HBI was that most military families live off the installation and further coordination and leveraging of resources with adjacent communities is an important component of success when considering the well-being.
  • HBI demonstrated a need to coordinate the DoD’s efforts to move from a system that treats disease to one that promotes well-being. The TFF Capabilities Based Assessment (CBA) was chartered to inform the DoD’s long-term strategy for TFF optimization.
  • The CBA is the initial analysis process designed to identify and validate capability gaps. The CBA aims to identify what current efforts exist in the eight TFF domain areas, what gaps exist, and how the DoD can address those gaps.

 

The findings of the TFF Capabilities Assessment include the following:

The Issues:

The Department of Defense (DoD) lacks a comprehensive plan to improve policies and programs that support the well-being of Service members and their families.

  • There is a limited understanding of differences in well-being outcomes between Active Component (AC) and the Reserve Component (RC), particularly for those that are geographically dispersed.
  • Despite investment in programs supporting Service members, existing data suggest the need for increased support across TFF domains for the geographically dispersed Uniformed Services population.
  • To identify and understand any challenges that exist for the geographically dispersed population, R. 114-63 calls for the execution of a pilot to “ensure enhancement of recruitment, retention, readiness and resilience”.
  • DoD increasingly relies on the RC, consisting of the Guard and the Reserves, due to factors such as decreasing budgets and personnel and funding reductions.

 

Proposed Plan:

Who is involved?

It is important to note that there will be a BHMC pilot partner within each branch of the military, allowing the Rapid Needs Assessment to complete a full evaluation of the needs of all US service members.

Pilot State Selection:

Rapid Needs Assessment Timeline:

  • Jan 09 – 13, Maryland
  • Jan 23 – 27, New Mexico
  • Feb 6 – 10, Mississippi
  • Feb 27 – Mar 3, Oklahoma
  • Mar 13 – 17, Florida
  • Mar 27 – 31, Indiana
  • Apr 24 – 28, Minnesota

Steps following the RNA:

  • Develop key interventions based on findings from the RNA
  • Execute tailored interventions based on the findings from the RNA
  • Evaluate continuous evaluation of key interventions
  • Review ongoing review of Quarterly Reports from State Coordinators and adjustment of interventions as needed

 

Engaging Community Partners

 

Source: Building Healthy Military Communities training, November 2016