[Presidential Directives and Executive Orders]
A National Obligation

Planning for Health Preparedness for and Readjustment of the Military, Veterans, and Their Families after Future Deployments
 
 

NSTC Seal
 

National Science and Technology Council

Presidential Review Directive 5

Executive Office of the President

Office of Science and Technology Policy

August 1998



 


















About the National Science and Technology Council

President Clinton established the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) by Executive Order on November 23, 1993, and he serves as Chairman. This Cabinet-level council is the principal means for the President to coordinate science, space and technology policies across the Federal Government. The NSTC acts as a "virtual" agency for science and technology to coordinate the diverse parts of the Federal research and development enterprise. Membership consists of the Vice President, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Cabinet Secretaries and Agency Heads with significant science and technology responsibilities, and other White House officials.

An important objective of the NSTC is the establishment of clear national goals for Federal science and technology investments in areas ranging from information technologies and health research to improving transportation systems and strengthening fundamental research. The Council prepares research and development strategies that are coordinated across Federal agencies to form an investment package that is aimed at accomplishing multiple national goals.

To obtain additional information regarding the NSTC, contact the NSTC Executive Secretariat at 202-456-6100.
 

About the Office of Science and Technology Policy

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) was established by the National Science and Technology Policy, Organization and Priorities Act of 1976. The OSTP's responsibilities include advising the President in policy formulation and budget development on all questions in which science and technology are important elements; articulating the President's science and technology policies and programs; and fostering strong partnerships among Federal, State and local governments, and the scientific communities in industry and academe.
 
 









A National Obligation

Planning for Health Preparedness for and Readjustment of the Military, Veterans, and Their Families after Future Deployments
 

NSTC Seal
 
 

Improving the Health of Our Military, Veterans, and Their Families


 








We have a national obligation to protect to the extent possible the health of our military, veterans, and their families. Those we place in harmís way to protect the national interest deserve the best. The 1991 Gulf War highlighted both our successes and failures. Even though the number of casualties, in the traditional sense, was low, Federal agencies responsible for the health of our troops were not prepared to deal with the health issues that followed the Warís completion.

Federal agencies discovered numeroushealth related deficiencies in monitoringthe health of deployed troops. For example, our record keeping capabilities were not designed to track troop and asset movements to the degree needed to determine who might have been exposed to any given environmental or wartime health hazard. Seven years later, we just now have a complete accounting of who was actually deployed to the Gulf.

In addition, we discovered major deficiencies in the way we approach health risk communication. While the desire is strong to disseminate all relevant health information to the affected groups as soon as possible, we must ensure that information is delivered in a way that is understandable and causes neither unwarranted concern nor undue complacency. We must ensure that even during wartime situations, the military leadership ensures accurate communication of risks associated with countermeasures, such as vaccines, and maintenance of accurate records.

Our Nationís research programs also must be well coordinated and designed to fill gaps in our knowledge that can be applied to improving the health of our military, veterans, and their families. Here, coordination across Federal research agencies is required to ensure that scarce research dollars are spent in a way that addresses the special health needs associated with troop deployments.

The President is committed to heeding the lessons learned in the 1991 Gulf War and subsequent deployments in Bosnia, Haiti, Rwanda, and Somalia. The plan detailed in this report reflects that commitment. This plan provides a blueprint for coordination among Federal agencies and proposes strategies to correct deficiencies in our current state of military readiness and for improving health care for our military, veterans, and their families.
 
 










Neal Lane

Assistant to the President

for

Science and Technology
 
 
 
 
 



Table of Contents

 







Improving the Health of Our Military, Veterans, and Their Families iii

Executive Summary vii

Chapter 1: Introduction

Lessons Learned

Establishment of PRD/NSTC-5

Scope of the Plan

How the Plan Was Developed

Factors Influencing the Plan

Chapter 2: Deployment Health Deployment Health Goals, Objectives and Strategies Chapter 3: Record Keeping Military Personnel Information Management

Military Personnel Information Management Goals, Objectives, and Strategies

Health Information Management

Health Information Management Goals, Objectives, and Strategies

Implementation

Chapter 4: Research Research Goals, Objectives, and Strategies

Setting Research Priorities

Chapter 5: Recommendations Improving Coordination

Creation of a Military and Veterans Health Coordinating Board

Creation of an Information Management/Information Technology Task Force

Recommendations For Specific Agency Actions

Appendix A: A Guide to Health Risk Communications

Appendix B: PRD/NSTC-5 Interagency Working Group and Task Forces

Appendix C: Establishment of NSTC/PRD-5

Appendix D: List of Abbreviations
 
 



Improving the Health of Our Military, Veterans, and Their Families

 








We have a national obligation to protect to the extent possible the health of our military, veterans, and their families. Those we place in harmís way to protect the national interest deserve the very best. The 1991 Gulf War highlighted both our successes and failures. Even though the number of casualties, in the traditional sense, was low, Federal agencies responsible for the health of our troops were not prepared to deal with the health issues that followed the Warís completion.

Federal agencies discovered numerous health related deficiencies associated with troop deployments. For example, our record keeping capabilities were not designed to track troop and asset movements to the degree needed to determine who might have been exposed to any given environmental or wartime health hazard. Seven years later, we just now have a complete accounting of who was actually deployed to the Gulf.

In addition, we discovered major deficiencies in the way we approach health risk communication. While the desire is strong to get all relevant health information out to the affected groups as soon as possible, we must ensure that information is delivered in a way that is understandable and causes neitherunwarranted concern nor undue complacency. We must ensure that even during wartime situations, health care professionals accurately communicate risks associated with countermeasures, such as vaccines, and maintain accurate records.

Our Nationís research programs also be well coordinated and designed to fill gaps in our knowledge that can be applied to improving the health of our military, veterans, and their families. Here, coordination across Federal research agencies is required to ensure that scarce research dollars are spent in a way that addresses the special health needs associated with troop deployments.

The President is committed to heeding the lessons learned in the 1991 Gulf War and subsequent deployments in Bosnia, Haiti, Rwanda, and Somalia. The plan detailed in this report reflects that commitment. This plan provides a blueprint for coordination among Federal agencies and proposes strategies to correct deficiencies in our current state of military readiness and for improving health care for our military, veterans, and their families.
 
 




Sincerely,
 
 
 
 

Neal Lane

Assistant to the President

for

Science and Technology Policy
 
 
 
 



Executive Summary

 









The Federal Government has an unwavering obligation to care for those placed in harmís way to defend the vital interests of the Nation. Therefore, the Federal Government must be able to respond promptly and effectively to the health needs of our military, veterans, and their families. In particular, when health problems are identified following a military deployment, plans must be in place to improve and facilitate cooperation and coordination among the Departments of Defense (DoD), Veterans Affairs (VA), and Health and Human Services (DHHS), as well as among other appropriate agencies of the Executive Branch. This report provides the first comprehensive set of recommendations designed to help ensure that this obligation is met in a manner that takes into consideration the successes and failures of past deployments.

INTRODUCTION

Because of the subsequent health issues associated with veterans who served in the Gulf War, President Clinton established the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veteransí Illnesses (PAC) on May 26, 1995. This Committee was to ensure an independent, open and comprehensive examination of health concerns related to Gulf War service. The Committee issued its Final Report on December 31, 1996, which documented its review of the governmentís outreach, medical care, research, efforts to protect against and to assess exposure to chemical and biologicalweapons warfare, and coordination activities pertinent to Gulf War veteransí illnesses.

The Committee recommended that the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) develop an interagency plan to address health preparedness for and readjustment of veterans and families after future conflicts and peacekeeping missions. Presidential Review Directive (PRD)/NSTC-5 responds to the Committeeís recommendation. In particular, PRD/NSTC-5 directs DoD, VA, and DHHS to review policies and programs and develop a plan that may be implemented by the Federal government to better safeguard those individuals who risk their lives to defend our Nationís interests. The plan was to focus on existing policies and lessons learned from the Gulf War and other recent deployments such as those in Bosnia, Haiti, and Somalia.

How the Plan Was Developed

An NSTC Interagency Working Group (IWG) was established to conduct the review and planning process. Members of the IWG included representatives from DoD, VA, and DHHS. The IWG oversaw the work of four task forces that focused on (1) deployment health, (2) record keeping, (3) research, and (4) health risk communications. Each task force reviewed policies and programs that relate to health preparedness of, and readjustment for, veterans and their families after future deployments. In particular, each task force considered lessons learned from the Gulf War and other recent deployments such as in Bosnia and Somalia. Each task force paid special attention to issues associated with chemical and biological weapons as well as the impact of emerging technologies and international cooperation.
 
 

Major Factors Influencing the Plan

During the review and planning process, the following major factors (other factors are identified in chapter 1) were identified that influenced the planís development and its potential for success:

GOALS FOR IMPROVING HEALTH PREPAREDNESS

Extensive review and analysis of Gulf War veteransí illnesses and risk factors by government agencies, the Presidential Advisory Committee, and other groups have identified a number of opportunities for government action aimed at minimizing or preventing future post-conflict health concerns. Actions to ameliorate, avoid, or, ideally, prevent such health effects include: improving service members' understanding of health risk information; improving medical and non-medical countermeasures; enhancing government collection of health and exposure data, along with improving linkages among health information systems; coordinating agency research programs; and improving delivery of health care services to veterans and their families.

The Deployment Health Task Force (chapter 2) developed objectives and strategies to support the following five goals: (1) maintain a healthy, fit, and physically- and mentally- ready military force; (2) identify and minimize or eliminate the short- and long-term adverse effects of military service, especially service during deployments (including war), on the physical and mental health of veterans; (3) preserve the health and well-being of those who have served and their families; (4) strengthen the national strategy to protect and defend military service members from warfare and terrorism with Cchemical and Bbiological Weaponswarfare (CBW) agents; and (5) implement an effective health risk communication strategy. The Task Force highlighted the importance of recent initiatives within DoD to improve force health protection and medical surveillance especially during deployments. In addition, the Task Force addressed the need for the government to respond promptly and in a coordinated manner to both the anticipated and unanticipated health needs and concerns of veterans returning from major deployments through appropriate programs for their evaluation, health care, and benefits/compensation determinations. To prepare for future health preparedness, DoD needs to critically evaluate current force health protection programs and exploit new and emerging technologies to improve force health protection continually.

The Record Keeping Task Force (chapter 3) focused on information management (IM) and information technology (IT) issues in two broad areas: military personnel information and health information management. Improvements are needed in both these areas to ensure the accuracy, timeliness, security, and retrievability of information that must be entered into records or automated systems that document personnel or health history for active duty, National Guard, and reserve service members and veterans. The Task Force highlighted current initiatives of DoD and VA that support the objectives and strategies necessary to meet these goals.

The Research Task Force (chapter 4) established six goals with supporting objectives and strategies. The first goal is for the Federal Government to have the coordinated capability to apply epidemiological research to determine whether deployment-related exposures are associated with post-deployment health outcomes. The second goal is for the Federal Government to maintain a balanced research program targeted at: (1) improved prevention, intervention, and treatment strategies for priority health risk factors and exposures and (2) improved biologically based dose-response models. The third goal is for the Federal Government to have the capability to collect systematically population-based demographic and health data to enable longitudinal evaluation of the health of all service personnel (active duty, reservist, National Guard) throughout their military careers and after leaving military service. The fourth goal is for the Federal Government to develop the capability to collect and assess data associated with anticipated exposures during deployments. The fifth goal is for the Federal Government to establish the capability to monitor deployments for the appearance of novel or unanticipated health risks and to deploy assets quickly to collect and assess data relevant to newly identified threats. The sixth goal is for the Federal Government to maintain a wide range of national and international collaborative relationships to enhance research efforts.

The Health Risk Communications Task Force structured its review and its goals, objectives, and strategies into a guide for developing health risk communications for deploying, deployed, and returning military members, veterans, and their families (appendix A). The Task Forceís planning guide outlines the questions and actions necessary to: develop a health communication plan and select a strategy; analyze and segment intended audiences; select appropriate messages and channels; develop written communication objectives; develop a written implementation and monitoring plan; and assess the effectiveness of the plan.
 
 

RECOMMENDATIONS

The IWG identified the essential recommendations emanating from the interagency plan (chapter 5). While each task force developed strategies, which in essence are recommendations for new or continuing actions in specific areas, key recommendations must be addressed in order to meet the goals and objectives contained in this plan.

There must be ongoing coordination of all agencies involved in maintaining the health of military members (active duty, National Guard, and reservist), veterans, and their families. Therefore, the IWG recommends creation of a Military and Veterans Health Coordinating Board (MVHCB). Once established, the MVHCB would ensure coordination among VA, DoD, and DHHS on a broad range of health care and research issues relating to past, present, and future military service in the U.S. Armed Forces. The MVHCB is modeled on the Persian Gulf Veterans Coordinating Board, which is enhancing interagency coordination especially on research and clinical care related to health issues of Gulf War veterans. The MVHCB should be chaired by the Secretaries of the DoD, VA, and DHHS. Representation on the MVHCB and its working groups should include policy and program level staff from these Departments. As necessary, the MVHCB should call upon representatives from veteransí service organizations, other governmental agencies, and civilian institutions for expert advice and consultation. Note that the U.S. Coast Guard functions as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), except in time of war, when it becomes a part of the U.S. Navy. DOT's advice will be important in carrying out the recommendation included herein.

To succeed with many of the goals and objectives laid out in this plan the government requires ongoing direction and coordination for the Departmentsí health and personnel information management and record-keeping activities, especially activities associated with deployments. The IWG recommends that DoD and VA, in consultation with DHHS, establish an ongoing interagency task force to coordinate IM/IT efforts, including the development of standards and other requirements.

In addition to the creation of these two coordinating groups (MVHCB and IM/IT Task Force), the IWG recommends the following actions:


 



Chapter 1

Introduction


 








The Nation has a commitment to protect and care for, to the maximum extent possible, the health of military personnel, veterans, and their families. The President has vowed "to improve the health of our veterans, their families, and all who serve our Nation, now and in the future." This responsibility includes minimizing adverse health effects of military serviceóboth those experienced during the years of military service and those that first appear years after the period of military service. The Federal Government needs to demonstrate its commitment by making sure the practices and procedures to meet this goal are in place and effectively used. In addition, our civilian and military leaders at every level of government and military services need to keep in mind the importance of meeting this commitment.
 
 

LESSONS LEARNED

The Nation and the governmentís response to the health problems and concerns of veterans after their return from the Gulf War did not match the battlefield health protection successes of that war. The Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) did implement health and readjustment programs to address the expected post-war health problems of veterans. However, DoD and VA were not fully prepared to recognize, respond promptly, and treat the type of health problems reported by a large number of Gulf War veterans. The number of veterans wounded or injured in the line of duty was small, but new challenges included:

The governmentís initial response was not part of a prevention and planning strategy that could have been developed before deployment. In particular, the governmentís response was not well coordinated. As a result, Federal efforts did not fulfill the expectations of Gulf War veterans and their families.

The evolution of our Nationís commitment to the health and health protection of military members parallels the evolution of our concepts of wartime strategy. With superior advanced technology, military planning and operations, our wartime strategy over the past 50 years has evolved and is continuing to evolve from reliance on strong logistical support and superior numbers of personnel and equipment to a strategy of light, mobile, highly capable forces. This strategy places fewer military members in harmís way in the traditional sense, but those few will need to be more fit, healthier, more highly trained, and more mentally resilient.

The hazards during a deployment may be the physical threats of combat, environmental extremes, injury, or illness; the physical and psychological threats of weapons of mass destruction; toxic environmental threats; or the psychological threats associated with combat, peacekeeping, refugee care, disaster relief, arduous conditions, or physical and social isolation.

The Gulf War also exposed many deficiencies in the ability to collect, maintain, and transfer accurate data describing the movement of troops, potential exposures to health risks, and medical incidents in theater. These problems were of two basic types: the lack of procedures and mechanisms to support the automated collection, maintenance, and transfer of useful information; and lapses in the process of the collection of data by personnel and health care managers in theater. Without accurate record keeping, it has been extremely difficult to get a clear picture of what risk factors might be responsible for Gulf War illnesses. It also has been difficult to ensure that appropriate service-related benefits are allocated accurately to those who served.

Many of the major health concerns and uncertainties identified after the Gulf War are similar to those associated with other major foreign deployments. The response to these concerns could have been more effective if there were a better understanding of the potential biological and toxicological associations between exposure and response. Better knowledge of biologically based relationships between specific exposures and specific health outcomes enhances: (a) analysis of potential causes of illnesses; (b) research and development on effective prevention, intervention, and treatment strategies; and (c) development of an accurate and effective health risk communication plan to inform troops about potential exposure risks. Furthermore, if epidemiological researchers had comprehensive population-based troop health assessments and exposure monitoring data and data systems, they might have been better able to define potential associations between exposures and outcomes. A coordinated research program is required to ensure that, to the extent possible, this knowledge is available for future troop deployments.

Our actions before, during, and after the Gulf War also made it apparent that we must do a much better job of health risk communication. For example, service members must understand the risks associated with countermeasures, such as vaccines. DoD and VA must routinely develop well-reasoned health risk communication strategies when attempting to convey to large numbers of veterans the potential risk associated with hazardous exposures.

The President has committed the Nation to applying to future troop deployments the lessons learned from the Gulf War and other recent military actions. He has directed DoD and VA to create a new force health protection program. He has stated that "Every soldier, sailor, airman, and marine will have a comprehensive, life-long medical record of all illnesses and injuries they suffer, the care and inoculations they receive, and their exposure to different hazards."
 
 

ESTABLISHMENT OF PRD/NSTC-5

Because of the subsequent health issues associated with Gulf War veterans, President Clinton established the Presidential Advisory Committee, on Gulf War Veteransí Illnesses (PAC) on May 26, 1995. This Committee was to ensure an independent, open, and comprehensive examination of health concerns related to Gulf War service. The Committee issued its Final Report on December 31, 1996, which documented its review of the governmentís outreach, medical care, research, efforts to protect against and to assess exposure to chemical and biological weapons, and coordination activities pertinent to Gulf War veteransí illnesses. During the course of the Committeeís deliberations, government efforts to address and to resolve veteransí concerns continued, consistent with respective agenciesí missions.

Extensive public review and analysis of Gulf War veteransí illnesses and risk factors have identified a number of opportunities for government action aimed at minimizing or preventing future post-conflict health concerns. Ameliorating, avoiding or, ideally, preventing such health effects can be approached through a variety of means. These include improving service members' understanding of health risk information; enhancing government collection of health and exposure data; coordinating agency research programs; and improving the delivery of health care services to veterans and their families.

The Committee recommended that the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) develop an interagency plan to address "health preparedness for and readjustment of veterans and families after future conflicts and peacekeeping missions." Presidential Review Directive (PRD)/NSTC-5 responds to the Committeeís recommendation. In particular, PRD/NSTC-5 directs the DOD, VA, and DHHS to review policies and programs and develop a plan that may be implemented by the Federal Government to better safeguard those individuals who risk their lives to defend our Nationís interests.
 
 

SCOPE OF THE PLAN

The plan will focus on existing policies and lessons learned from the Gulf War and other recent deployments such as those in Bosnia, Haiti, Rwanda, and Somalia. Using the Committeeís recommendations as a guide, the plan addresses the following areas:

HOW THE PLAN WAS DEVELOPED

An NSTC Interagency Working Group (IWG) was established to oversee the review and planning process. Members of the IWG included representatives from DoD, VA, and DHHS. Specific components of the plan were delegated to the following four task forces:

Each task force was asked to review policies and programs that relate to health preparedness of and readjustment for veterans and their families after future deployments. In particular, each task force was to consider lessons learned from the Gulf War and other recent deployments such as in Bosnia and Somalia. Each task force was instructed to pay special attention to CBW issues as well as to the impact of emerging technologies and international cooperation.
 
 

FACTORS INFLUENCING THE PLAN

A significant factor influencing this plan is the inherent diversity associated with modern troop "deployments." Numerous military deployments occur each year. An individual may deploy many times during a military career. The total career deployment history for an individual is referred to as his or her deployment lifecycle. The number of military members in a specific deployment may be less than ten, several thousand, or hundreds of thousands. A deployment may last for a few days or forsix 6 months or longer. Military members may deploy to a well-supported U.S. or foreign military base in a developed country, may be on a ship making foreign port visits, or may deploy to a field setting in an urban or rural part of a developing country. The deployment missions vary. They include: military liaison and training support, joint and coalition force exercises, construction projects, humanitarian assistance (including healthcare), refuge relief, peacekeeping, peacemaking, low intensity conflict, and war, or any combination of these and other missions. Within the United States, military members "deploy" to fight forest fires, provide disaster relief, assist against terrorist actions, maintain civil order, or support drug interdiction and border patrol operations.

Another major influence on this plan is the division of responsibilities for the health and health care of military service members and veterans of military service inherent in the DoD and VA. The two Departments function under distinct Titles of United States Code and with oversight by different congressional committees. The two Departments must respond to their own legislative, regulatory and administrative mandates and restrictions in areas of eligibility for care, benefits and compensation, different missions, and budget realities. In addition, DHHS is responsible (in coordination with the States) for overall public health in the United States, manages an extensive biomedical research portfolio including diseases of military significance, maintains surveillance and registries applicable to military medicine, and has broad regulatory responsibilities [e.g., Food and Drug Administration (FDA)]Food and Drug Administration () FDA that affect the military.

The long history of military membersí experiences with government and military leadership, and the not infrequent mistrust of government actions and motives, tempers any response to present and future health and benefit issues for veterans. A mandate for the government to be responsible and accountable for actions and exposures that affect the short- and long-term health of military members and veterans requires the government to know their health status at entry into service and over the continuum of their military service and remaining life span. Real and perceived uses of the extensive data that need to be collected will lead to valid questions regarding the confidentiality of health data and the bioethical safeguards on the use of such data. In addition, efforts to protect, preserve, or enhance the health of military members may be viewed with suspicion if such measures appear to restrict retention in the military, infringe on freedom of choice, limit personal or career opportunities, pose a potential adverse health effect, or exceed current civilian norms regarding risk and benefit.

The evolution of science, medicine, and societal perceptions regarding health and illness limits our ability to predict the future reality and expectations regarding health, acceptable risks, disease prevention tools, and illness. Thus, even guided by past and present experiences, our vision of the future is limited regarding the potential health effects of military service in the next century and the tools that we will require to mitigate those health effects. Therefore, this plan must be dynamic and flexible to address unforeseen challenges and capitalize on important developments.

Finally, the plan must acknowledge the current, national expectation that, compared to military deployments during the first half of this century, most modern deployments are expected to carry much less risk to the health and well-being of those who deploy and their families. The concern with placing or keeping U.S. forces in harmís way is not limited to going into combat and sustaining combat casualties. The current expectation influences approaches and decisions regarding military training, use or non-use of protective countermeasures, environmental hazards during deployment, psychological stresses of deployment and service, terrorist threats, and other issues. The military and civilian leadership of the government is being held to the extremely high standard of avoiding adverse health effects subsequent to military serviceóservice that by definition, tradition, and reality is inherently hazardous.

Other important factors include:


 



Chapter 2

Deployment Health


 









The Nation and the military long have recognized the obligation to minimize the hazards of wartime military service and to provide both acute and chronic care for those injured or disabled during wartime service. Weapon systems and protective measures are continuously improved to allow U.S. military men and women to achieve their military objectives with the least risk to their survival and their survival as a military force. Threats from chemical and biological warfare agents present special problems and require the Nation to greatly improve its detection and protective measures. Immediate medical and surgical capability, rapid medical evacuation, and an extensive system of military medical centers provide for care on the battlefield and care, treatment, and rehabilitation upon return home. VA medical centers provide care for those requiring extensive rehabilitation and chronic care following separation from military service.

Force health protection before and during the Gulf War was implemented in varying degrees. Although U.S. forces experienced historically low rates of classic preventable diseases and combat casualties, force health protection efforts were incomplete, were neither standardized nor centralized among deployed forces, were not well documented, and, for the most part, did not anticipate the need for follow-up post-deployment. While field commanders made a concerted effort to ensure their forces were protected from medical hazards, there was not a sufficiently strong, centralized program requiring specific protection against known threats or to ensure specific force health protection actions. Implementation of countermeasures often was localized and, at times, not adequate, consistent, or systematic. Similarly, medical surveillance when conducted at the local level was incomplete and not always well documented; therefore, centralized analysis of exposures and health consequences was extremely difficult during and after the war.

Lessons learned from the Gulf War resulted in a complete review of doctrine, policy, oversight, and operational practices for medical surveillance and force health protection. Major lessons were applied in subsequent operations and improvements in force health protection were realized during subsequent deployments. For example:

Health protection is receiving increasingly higher attention from field commanders, as shown by improving operational-level infectious disease prophylaxis, environmental sanitation, and disease surveillance. However, more remains to be done.

Until recently, DoD leadership had not fully integrated post-deployment health issues (other than rehabilitation of injuries) into military operational planning. Indeed, the military has not been sufficiently sensitive to military members' health concerns and generally has responded slowly to post-deployment health problems. Now, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the military services, in consultation with the VA, are aggressively pursuing unified force health protection strategies to protect military members from health hazards associated with military service. The civilian and military leadership together is actively involved in this dynamic process. There is clear recognition of the importance of protecting military members in every operation. For the first time all government departments with a role in assuring military membersí health are actively collaborating to assure that preventable post-deployment health concerns are addressed throughout military service and after separation.

DEPLOYMENT HEALTH GOALS, OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

Goal 1. Maintain a healthy, fit, and physically and mentally ready military force.

Objective 1.1. Direct military doctrine and policies for maintaining a healthy, fit, and ready force that reflect the lessons learned from preparations for recent major deployments.

Strategy 1.1.1. Complete integration of the force health protection strategy into the doctrine and policy of the Office of the Secretary of DefenseOSD, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the military services.

Strategy 1.1.2. Insert force health protection values, policy, rationale, and guidance into the curriculum of all leadership training from non-commissioned officers through the senior military and civilian leadership of DoD.

Strategy 1.1.3. Strengthen health and fitness programs to maintain physical and mental health throughout a military career.
 
 

Objective 1.2. Assure that the force health protection strategy addresses the needs of special military populations, including reserve components, women, and minorities. Strategy 1.2.1. Develop a plan to address the unmet military health readiness and training requirements of reserve component personnel. Supporting Narrative

The desired outcome is a healthy and fit force that is physically and mentally ready to succeed in fulfilling the military mission. This overarching strategy relies on the military servicesí action to ensure the health and fitness of their service members, successful application of all capabilities of DoDís Military Health System (MHS), and coordination of DoD activities with the VA and DHHS. During peacetime or in training, the MHS provides comprehensive health services throughout DoD that equal or exceed civilian standards of care. DoD, through the military services and the MHS, targets the health and fitness and the optimal physical and emotional well-being of military members and their family members.

The involvement of military leaders in all aspects and levels of force health protection is critical. Ultimately, the fitness, readiness, and well-being of the military force are an operational commanderís responsibility. Line leadership, direction, and support will be critical to assuring the highest degree of health and health readiness of the deploying force commensurate with achieving operational objectives.
 
 

Goal 2. Identify and minimize or eliminate short- and long-term adverse effects of military service, especially service during deployments (including war), on the physical and mental health of veterans.

Objective 2.1. Direct doctrine and policies that reflect lessons learned from the Gulf War and subsequent major deployments to protect the health of the military force during future deployments.

Strategy 2.1.1. Complete integration of the force health protection strategy into the doctrine and policy of DoD, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the military services. [Same as 1.1.1]

Strategy 2.1.2. Develop improved protective measures, doctrine, and policies to address special problems of medical defense against chemical and biological warfare agents.

Strategy 2.1.3. Insert force health protection values, policy, rationale, and guidance into the curriculum of all leadership training from non-commissioned officers through the DoD senior military and civilian leadership. [Same as 1.1.2]

Strategy 2.1.4. Develop a force health protection strategy that addresses the prevention and health care requirements arising from the effects of combat and deployment-related stress on the military member and his/her family.

Strategy 2.1.5. Conduct an assessment of DoD resources, including appropriately trained and qualified personnel that are required to successfully accomplishing the force health protection strategy.
 
 

Objective 2.2. Maintain military medical readiness that encompasses the ability to mobilize, deploy, and sustain the most capable field medical services and support for any operation requiring military services and to maintain and project the continuum of healthcare resources required to provide for the health of the force. Strategy 2.2.1. Provide mission-capable medical units and military health care providers uniquely trained, equipped, and qualified to meet the health needs of military forces for any mission within the operational spectrum.

Strategy 2.2.2. Take advantage of research and technology to advance the health care support to deployed forces to ensure that deployed military members who become casualties due to battle or nonbattle injuries or illness receive optimal health care to preserve life, function, and health.

Strategy 2.2.3. Provide a seamless and fully integrated medical evacuation system to support military operations with trained and ready resources capable of supporting the continuum of care.

Strategy 2.2.4. Develop a standardized, integrated and seamless system of medical command and control for the military medical community within the Global Command and Control System (GCCS)/Global Combat Support System (GCSS), including development and deployment of an individually carried data device (see chapter 3).
 
 

Objective 2.3. Use external expert review, analysis, and recommendations for improvement of policies, procedures, and science and technology efforts to protect the military force in future deployments. Strategy 2.3.1. Proceed with a DoD contract with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Research Council (NRC) for a 3-year program of scientific, technical, and policy analysis activities. Objective 2.4. Ensure all Federal Government programs support and complement goals to minimize or eliminate short- and long-term adverse effects of military service. Strategy 2.4.1. Strengthen relationships among DoD, VA, DHHS, and other Executive Branch agencies to make optimum use of all Federal health, science, and technology expertise that can contribute to force health protection during deployments and to health problems that may occur post-deployment.

Strategy 2.4.2. Resolve policy and regulatory issues to improve the ability to plan for and provide optimal health protection strategies for military forces.

Supporting Narrative

In November 1997, President Clinton directed "the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to create a new Force Health Protection Program." The desired outcome is a military force fully protected from preventable and avoidable health threats throughout military operations and deployments. The four critical elements of the Force Health Protection Strategy, from an operational perspective, are: as follows:

The DoD recently published a directive and instruction on joint medical surveillance (DoD Directive 6490.2, Joint Medical Surveillance, August 30, 1997, and DoD Instruction 6490.3, Implementation and Application of Joint Medical Surveillance for Deployments, August 7, 1997), which direct the implementation of some aspects of this strategy. The Director, Joint Staff authored a memorandum to all theaters and services directing the inclusion of health surveillance into all deliberate and crisis action planning. The revision of Joint Publication 4.02, Doctrine for Joint Health Service Support, will incorporate force health protection and joint health services concepts into joint doctrine. Force health protection responsibilities have been incorporated into Joint Publication 5.00-2, Joint Task Force Planning Guidance and Procedures. Insertion of force health protection language into the Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan (Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 3110.03, Enclosure E) is underway. Theater operational plans are being reviewed to ensure appropriate force health protection planning is incorporated into deliberate and crisis action operational plans.

The involvement of military leaders in all aspects and levels of force health protection is critical. Ultimately, the protection and well-being of the military force is a commanderís responsibility. In future deployments, line leadership, direction, and support will be critical to assuring the highest degree of health protection for the deployed force. The degree of involvement of senior civilian and military leadership within the Office of the Secretary of Defense OSD and the Joint Staff in the development of doctrine and policy has been unprecedented. The force health protection strategy ensures commanders and leaders at every level have a force that is protected through any operation, and supported with exceptional physical and mental health care capability. Service members deserve every measure of protection as they serve in the military. Leadersí commitment and charge must be to ensure the protection of military members today, tomorrow, and into the next century.

DHHS (FDA) and DoD need to explore viable options to allow access to products that may protect military members during military exigencies. As part of DHHS (FDA) and DoDís exploration of viable options, both Departments may also consider whether there is a limited need to modify certain existing vaccine and drug requirements for military personnel under differing exigencies. Information on those requirements must be included in the training of military personnel who may, for their protection, be required to use or be offered vaccines and drugs that have not been approved for marketing for the intended use.

The prevention and amelioration of the adverse effects of combat and deployment-related stress help to preserve military strength. The emotional health of the service member, although invisible, affects all aspects of his/her behavior. In theater, stress that adversely affects emotional health may affect the ability to maintain physical health and hygiene, may hinder the ability to physically complete a mission, or may affect the good judgement and creativity needed to find and apply solutions to accomplish the mission on the rapidly moving, high-tech battlefield. Long-term adverse effects of combat and deployment-related stress may include poor physical and mental health, dysfunctional family and work relationships, substance abuse, and poor military and civilian work performance.
 
 

Goal 3. Preserve the health and well-being of those who have served and their families.

Objective 3.1. Improve and coordinate interagency efforts to provide for the health care needs of military service members, including reserve component personnel , and their families following return from deployments.

Strategy 3.1.1. Develop interagency solutions to provide access to the appropriate levels of financial support, health services, and readjustment counseling for military service members transition to future military service or civilian life.

Strategy 3.1.2. Establish a combined DoD, VA, and DHHS plan to respond promptly and in a coordinated manner to both the anticipated and unanticipated health needs and concerns of veterans returning from major deployments.
 
 

Objective 3.2. Ensure DoD and VA have appropriate programs and resources, including appropriately trained and qualified personnel, for the evaluation and health care of veterans with health concerns of particular interest after major deployments. Strategy 3.2.1. Conduct a combined DoD and VA assessment of the adequacy of the Departmentsí evaluation and health care programs for veterans regarding: Strategy 3.2.2. Conduct a combined DoD and VA assessment of the adequacy of the Departmentsí evaluation and health care programs for veterans and their dependents with stress-related and mental health concerns.

Strategy 3.2.3. Prepare a combined DoD, VA, and DHHS plan for a standardized post-deployment registry program including standard registry criteria, standard registry evaluation protocol, and standard registry/registry evaluation database.

Strategy 3.2.4. Prepare DoD and VA plans for providing individual and family counseling and mental health services for military members and members of their families, especially in preparation for and upon the return home of the deployed military member.
 
 

Objective 3.3. Assure that special military populations, including reserve components, women, and minorities, benefit from programs for the post-deployment health care of veterans. Strategy 3.3.1. Develop a plan to address the unmet health care requirements of reserve component personnel upon return from deployments.

Strategy 3.3.2. Conduct a combined DoD and VA assessment of the adequacy of the Departmentsí programs for the post-deployment health care of veterans to address the needs of women and minorities.

Supporting Narrative

Support for the family of a military member before, during, and after a deployment requires additional attention, especially for prolonged deployments or deployments into a combat theater and for reserve component members. Deployment may create problems within a family unit or may exacerbate existing problems. Deployment may strain already fragile family relationships and coping mechanisms. The heightened personal and interpersonal stress upon all family members due to the sudden changesófirst from separation and second, and far more significant, from the military member's returnócan have adverse effects on the physical and mental health of each family member. The stresses also may have adverse effects on interpersonal relationships within the family unit. Spousal abuse and child abuseóphysical, emotional, and sexualófrequently result from heightened family stress due to deployment and return home.

Local commanders need the support and tools for preventing or dealing with the destructive outcomes from these tenuous family situations. The family stress and the lack of the personal and family skills to respond productively to that stress often result in a less effective military member. Adverse outcomes may include marital discord, substance abuse, divorce, discipline problems, and arrest and conviction for abuse. Family problems readily become mission-related issues if they detract from a military memberís ability to perform his/her duties or take the command leadersí attention away from performing their mission. Professional resources need to be available to respond to military families in crisisóbefore, during, and after deploymentóand also to provide the family and marriage counseling needed to prevent the crises. Both DoD and VA need contingency plans to respond to the increased needs of military families before, during, and after deployments. The prevention of adverse effects on the family of military deployments can minimize associated long-term adverse effects on the military member's physical and mental health, performance, and career, and on the family membersí physical and mental health.
 
 

Goal 4. Strengthen the national strategy to protect and defend military service members from warfare and terrorism with chemical, biological, radiological, and chemical agents.

Objective 4.1. Assure strong national commitment to improving military defense and response capability against CBW agents.

Strategy 4.1.1. Complete the Presidential Report on preparations for a national response to medical emergencies arising from terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction (Public Law 105-114, Sec. 210).

Strategy 4.1.2. Establish an interagency program for medical defense against CBWand biological agents to address the militaryís readiness and response capability for war and terrorist use of CBW agents against military populations.
 
 

Objective 4.2. Use external, expert review, analysis, and recommendations for improvements in the militaryís policies, procedures, and science and technology efforts to detect, protect, and defend against biological and chemical warfare and terrorism agents. Strategy 4.2.1. DoD proceeds with its contract with NAS and NRC for a 3-year program of scientific, technical, and policy analysis activities. [Same as 2.2.1] Supporting Narrative

The Gulf War emphasized the threat of biological and chemical warfare on the battlefield and the effect of its use, or threat of use, on the conduct of war and its aftermath. While there is continued concern about our ability to protect and defend our military forces from terrorism associated with CBR warfare CBW agents, DoD does have unique capabilities and requirements for the protection of military members from CBWwarfare agents, whether used on the battlefield or as terrorist weapons. Part of the NAS and NRC task is to assess current techniques for detecting and tracking exposures of military members to harmful agents, including chemical and biological warfare CBW agents, and make recommendations for improvements in technologies and policies. The NAS will evaluate current policies, doctrine, and training, and recommend adjustments to strategies to afford better protection against such agents. The effort includes a focus on technologies, tools and methods for improved detection and monitoring,; physical protection and decontaminations,; and vaccines and other prophylactic agents.

Goal 5. Establish an effective health risk communication program that educates and informs active military personnel, veterans, and their families throughout the deployment lifecycle and beyond on issues related to health risks and available services.

Objective 5.1. Coordinate health risk communications efforts of the DoD and VA.

Strategy 5.1.1. VA and DoD, in consultation with DHHS, will develop and implement an interagency health risk and health research communication program based on the guide for health risk communication contained in appendix A of the this interagency plan.

Strategy 5.1.2. VA and DoD, in consultation with DHHS, will develop and implement an interagency applied research program on health risk communication for military members, veterans, and their families.

Objective 5.2. Improve outreach and training capability to state and local health professionals who provide services to active duty military, veterans, and their families. Strategy 5.2.1. DHHS, VA, and DoD will build essential capacity for electronic communications with state and community public health departments to enhance the dissemination of health risk information to veterans and their families through local public health infrastructures.

Strategy 5.2.2. DHHS, VA, and DoD will provide training to local public health officials on the use of essential information technologies to disseminate and receive health risk information from veterans and their families.

Supporting Narrative

Health risk communicators (public affairs officers, line commanders, researchers, medical professionals, community involvement specialists, and others) must often work closely with their intended audience concerning health risk issues and the consequences of hazardous exposures. Unfortunately, communicators frequently rush to provide information before they have definitive information about the health risk or hazard.

What are the planning problems faced by do these communicators face? Effective health risk communicators must initially determine what exposure data are available, consider what scientific uncertainty is evident from the data, and understand what is being done to provide appropriate medical care. Then, they must determine how to convey the problematic concepts to an intended audience that expects accurate and complete answers. Additionally, they must understand the meaning of thehealth risk associated with the hazardous exposure. Finally, communicators must understand their limits and get helpon with scientific issues that require more technical expertise. Once these communication aspects have been developed,Then, the communicator must translateall the scientific information into an easily understandable message. To meet these objectives, health risk communication professionalsfacing these situations must develop an overall health communication strategic plan.

Whether derived from research findings or not,tThe way risk estimates are conveyed to the intended audience significantly affects how individuals perceive those risks. Single-value estimates do notprovide an indication of indicate the degree of uncertainty of risks associated with the exposure estimate. On the other hand, communicating a range of risk estimatesdoes not often convey seldom conveys the conservative nature of some risk estimates. For example, most individuals maynot be aware be unaware that risk estimates are typically created by extrapolating from information based on high dose exposures to the very low dose that an individual might actually encounter.

"Risk" is a complex concept and "hHealth rRisk cCommunication" often appears complicated and unstructured. A large and growing body of literature confirms the common intuition that humans factor much more into perceptions of risk than the "objective" findings of well- designed research studies. For example, is the risk voluntary or involuntary? If Does an individual or group that imposes a risk on others,does it listen attentively to the concerns of the risk bearer, or turn a deaf ear?

An additional layer of such fFactors, those associated with risk controllability, may be particularly salient within the context of "risk perception." Often too many elements pertain to a riskís relative significance for any single health communication process to yield a single correct approach. Nonetheless, a strategic planning process can yield more effective communication outcomes by fosterfostering sustained dialogue between different factions of the scientific community and between scientists and the intended audience.

The health risk communicator must realize that an audienceís reaction to a message about a hazard ismuch more complexthan just considering the hazard itself. Many personal variables contribute to risk perception and how an individual will respond to the risk,. including: Such variables include education, values, cultural background, religion, social experience, health, economic status, psychological outlook, and trust level. These factors will also influence the level of trust and mutual respect between the communicator and the audience. Therefore, when developing communication messages, the health risk communicator needs to know the intended audience in great depth, including its attitudes, concerns, channels, and the consequences of specific risk factors. To be successful, the health risk communicator must develop an approach in which determine how to achieve effective two-way communication, constructive discussion, and resolution of health risk issues can be achieved.
 
 











Chapter 3

Record Keeping


 







MILITARY PERSONNEL INFORMATION MANAGEMENT

ALlack of data on personnel deployments and movements in theater makes it difficult to accurately monitor deployment-related health risks or conduct research on populations at risk. Further, data currently collected are often difficult to access and are stored in multiple locations. As a result:

It wasNot untilfive 5 years after the end of the Gulf War before were data bases were corrected to the point that there is 99 per cent accuracy in identifying those who had been deployed. There are no reliable databases that describe or track specific locations of individuals while they are in theater. One result is that service members and medical researchers have difficulty documenting potential exposures to environmental and other hazards of the theater.

Military personnel functions and information systems support and sustain active duty and reserve service members, and their families, throughout their military careers. This includes periods of peacetime, during mobilization and war, and beyond military service as members separate or retire and transition back into civilian life. Many interactions and transfers of data with other agencies must be supported, especially with the VA. The Military Personnel Information Management Strategic Plan supports the entire military personnel life cycle with primary emphasis on the deficiencies highlighted during and after the Gulf War. This discussion focuses on the parts of the plan that relate directly to those deficiencies and on our objective to develop a system to provide a seamless process of life-cycle support to the service member integrated with transparent delivery of benefits and entitlements to the veteran.
 
 

MILITARY PERSONNEL INFORMATION MANAGEMENT GOALS, OBJECTIVES, AND STRATEGIES

Goal 1. Ensure the accuracy, timeliness, security, and retrievability of information that must be entered into records or automated systems that document personnel history for active, guard, and reserve service members and veterans.

Objective 1.1. Resolve the record keeping deficiencies that continue tohave an impact on affect readiness, contingency and peacekeeping operations as well as those that have an impact on affect the quality of service we provide to service members and veterans to ensure that they receive correct pay, accurate credit for service, and appropriate benefits and entitlements.

Strategy 1.1.1. Design and implement an automated system to collect and maintain the required information to meet the operational needs of military Commanders in Chief; military personnel and manpower management needs; and the needs for historical documentation, scientific research and analysis, and health surveillance and monitoring. Once the information requirements are known and defined, mechanisms must be put in place to collect and maintain the data in formats that facilitate their use.

Strategy 1.1.2. Define information requirements and develop standard data that can be implemented across all military services and components. This strategy will result in definition of a complete set of data that, when collected, would satisfy the requirements of the personnel, medical, and research communities throughout the Federal gGovernment.

Strategy 1.1.3. Develop mechanisms to facilitate access to existing data that are currently used or are historical in nature. Historical data that are already archived, are being used, or will be collected over the next few years, will not benefit from the new data collection and maintenance system. Although these data are not adequate in terms of the full requirements, in many cases it is the only information available for this period and for many service members and veterans.

Supporting Narrative

Strategy 1.1.1

Current deficienciesare a direct resultof from the inability of the existing systems (over 1770 separate systems with multiple, complex interfaces) to support collection and maintenance of the required information, especially in the areas of personnel accountability and asset visibility. These deficiencies continue to affect our readiness, contingency, and peacekeeping operations. They continue toimpact affect our ability to assess potential health hazards and the quality of service we provide to service members to ensure that they receive correct pay, accurate credit for service, and appropriate benefits and compensation. The Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System (DIMHRS) will be designed to resolve the information collection and access deficiencies identified. DIMHRS will enable the Department DoD to collect and maintain the standard military personnel data and will address the problem of asset visibility. It will enhance our ability to account for reservists who are mobilized and change to active duty status. It will assure that they receive proper credit for service, timely pay, and benefits and entitlements for themselves and family members. It will also give DoD the capability to track military and civilian personnel in and around the theater of operations, support the collection of casualty and medical evacuation information that will be integrated with medical management systems, and provide data for use by outside agencies such as the VA and the Red Cross. DIMHRS will correct the personnel, pay, and operational records keeping issues that were made obvious during the Gulf War. It will be a single, fully integrated, all-service, all-component, military personnel and pay management system. DIMHRS will be a major link in a process that will provide seamless delivery of personnel services and veteransí benefits and entitlements. Since much of the required data must be collected in the field and transmitted to central databases, DIMHRS must encompass both the field level data collection capability and the central databases for all services. It will use modern, web-based technology and be built on a COTS commercial off-the-shelf platform.

Funding for initiation of DIMHRS was obtained in FY1998 and an initial operating capability is planned for 2003. Detailed requirements are being defined with full coordination and support from all service components, the Joint Staff, and other communities who may need information from the personnel data (for instance, the medical community). The DIMHRS requirements definition team will also participate in the Health Affairs business process reengineering project to define requirements for tracking the use of investigational drugs and to ensure that the personnel system will incorporate their requirements.

After the initial investment establishing DIMHRS, significant savings are expected as maintenance and development costs for specified legacy systemswill be are eliminated and military personnel management processeswill be are streamlined and improved. The project isa complexone in that it requiresthe coordination and support from all of the services as well as from OSD. Senior management must ensure that action officers throughout the Department understand the importance of the program and the inadequacies of current practices.

One of the most significant problems in managing military personnel in theater and through mobilization is that the different services, and their components (Aactive, Rreserve, and Gguard), collect data that are inconsistent and incomplete. During the period fFrom 1992 through 1995, the DoD personnel community focused on the definition of information requirements, development of the Defense Personnel Data Model (DPDM), and definition of standard personnel data elements to address the information requirements. These data will beimplemented acquired through the DIMHRS.

Strategy 1.1.2

A series of focused workshopswere was held to identify information requirements for effective military personnel management, including tracking personnel in theater and maintaining adequate personnel records for future access to ensure appropriate benefits, documentation of potential exposures, and accurate credit for service. The workshops included full participation from all military components (active, reserve and guard), OSD staff analysts and managers (from Reserve Affairs, Health Affairs, and other parts of OSD), Joint Staff representatives, and, for areas of special interest, representatives fromVeterans Affairs VA and other Federal Aagencies. Data defined by the workshops were incorporated into the DPDM.

As a parallel effort, all data collected by the services military personnel systems (active, reserve and guard) were analyzed and also incorporated into the DPDM. A set of standard data elements was defined and coordinated throughout the personnel community, with other DoD communities and with other agencies. Standard data elements will replace the approximately 30,000 component- and system-specific elements identified in our systematic review of personnel systems. The Defense Personnel Data Model (DPDM) is complete and maintained through the regular data administration program. Over 1,500 standard personnel data elements have been developed.

Strategy 1.1.3

Even after DIMHRS is fully implemented, there will be a need to access data and information collected, and archivedprior to before the systembecoming becamebecomes operational. DIMHRS is expected to be available in 2003. Full integration and connectivity with other Federal agencies in order to deliver support and services based on online or real-time access to DoD databases and systems will not be feasible until well after that date. As DoD and VA work toward providing transparent delivery of services, support, benefits and entitlements to service members and veterans, we will need to implement interim procedures and take incremental steps toward the above mentioned interagency systems integration and connectivity. Since data collected and maintained in older legacy systems, and in other technological formats (paper, micro-fiche and optical storage) must be kept for at least 75 years, an interim capability to facilitate access to these other sources of information is critical.

Several studies have identified business process improvements within DoD, VA, and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) that will facilitate access to current and historical personnel information. Business Process Reengineering initiatives that will facilitate access to existing data are briefly described below.

HEALTH INFORMATION MANAGEMENT

In 1994, the Defense Medical Information Management and Information Technology Program was established. It specifically addresses both the management of health information and the supporting technology. The goal of the program is to provide the right health information to the right people at the right time across theentire continuum of health care operations. To this end, the MHS Information Management and Information Technology Strategic Plan, which is updated annually, addresses health information requirements including those necessary to resolve issues that arose during and after the Gulf War. The specific issues the plan addresses include:

HEALTH INFORMATION MANAGEMENT GOALS, OBJECTIVES, AND STRATEGIES

Goal 2. Ensure the accuracy, timeliness, security, and retrievability of information that must be entered into records or automated systems that document health history for active, guard, and reserve service members and veterans.

Objective 2.1. Resolve deficiencies in health record keeping that have an impact on the health of our forces which in turn affects our readiness posture, contingency activities, and operations other than war as well as those that have an impact on the quality of both preventive care and treatment for injury and illness provided to service members.

Strategy 2.1.1. Define, acquire, and implement a fully integrated Ccomputer-based Ppatient Rrecord available across the entire spectrum of health care delivery over the lifetime of the patient.

Strategy 2.1.2. Develop a total patient tracking mechanism to capture information from the time the patient enters the medical system as an inpatient until discharged from inpatient status, to include in-transit visibility.

Strategy 2.1.3. Develop a mechanism to capture information on training and currency of skills for medical personnel.

Strategy 2.1.4. Define the requirements and develop the necessary mechanisms to transfer health information to non-medical or non-DoD departments and agencies.

Supporting Narrative

Strategy 2.1.1

The MHS requires a single, integrated system that collects health data and makes it available worldwide. A Ccomputer-based Ppatient Rrecord will capture comprehensive, relevant, and accurate health information during each beneficiaryís lifetime. It will provide the MHS with the ability to supply clinical data to predict and evaluate health outcomes and to view clinically relevant data where and when needed within a single, transportable computer-based patient record. An electronic patient record provides the capability makes it possible to combine several enterprise-wide electronic medical records concerning patient. A computer-based patient record generally meets five criteria:

The following initiatives are underway to develop the Ccomputer-based Ppatient Rrecord: Strategy 2.1.2

A seamless process and mechanismthat that includes in-transit visibility and can track personnel from the time they enter the medical system until they are returned to duty, placed in a medical holding unit, medically retired, or die on active duty, including in-transit visibility, is essential to managing casualties. The following two initiatives address this need:

Strategy 2.1.3

Medical leaders need to be able to make informed decisions regarding which medical personnel are qualified for deployment in support of military operations and what positions they should fill. This information allows medical commanders to select the right individuals to achieve the necessary quantity and mix of medical personnel at each deployed location. This They need current and accurate information must be current and accurate and should includingde the status of general readiness training, medical skills, specialty skills, and the training required for assignment to a particular type of field facility. The following initiative is currently underway:

Strategy 2.1.4

Information must flow smoothly among DoD activities, the various departments, and agencies who have a need to access to health information. In addition, medical personnel need information related to treatment within the VA health system, exposure to potentially harmful materials, and personnel information (such as location, duty history, and demographics). Exchange of information is facilitated by standardized data definitions, standardized technology, and mechanisms designed to bridge systems with differing data or technology standards. The following initiatives address this need:

IMPLEMENTATION

Personnel Information Management

The Under Secretary of Defense (USD) Personnel and Readiness (P&R) Information Management Program involves the entire Mmilitary Ppersonnel community. The Joint Requirements and Integration Office manages and implements the IM program and ensures that each initiative meets the Departmentís goalsand is effectively coordinated and implemented. Every initiative receives four or five levels of review: first, the project-specific working group, with appropriate representation from the services, Joint Staff, USD (P&R), and, where appropriate, other Federal agencies; second, internal P&R staff; third, the Joint Integration Group (JIG); fourth, where available, existing functional-area-specific steering committees (for instance, the Joint Casualty Advisory Board and the Military Personnel and Pay Management System Steering Committee); and fifth, the Military Personnel Policy Review Committee (PRC).

The JIG provides high-level review and coordination on all products and recommendations. It is a group of senior military personnel and pay representatives from all components, the Joint Staff, OASD (Reserve Affairs), and USD (P&R). Members are briefed regularly and kept informed of project status and plans. Recommendations from the JIG are incorporated into both the selection and performance of projects.

The PRC, chaired by the Deputy Under Secretary (Program Integration), is a Deputy Assistant Secretary level group that includes the Service Personnel Chiefs, the Director of Personnel (J1) from the Joint Staff, and representatives from OSD and the Service Secretariats. The PRC provides final review and coordination. After comments are received from the PRC members, recommendations and decision packages are forwarded to the USD (P&R).

Additionally, the Joint Requirements and Integration Office maintains close work ties to works closely with other Federal agencies and carries out interagency business process reengineering programs through the DoD/VA Reinvention Partnership Agreement signnged by the Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs in June 1994.
 
 

Health Information Management

A consolidated MHS Information Management and Information Technology Program, which addresses health care requirements across the operational spectrum, is thekey cornerstone to establishing a health information baseline, meeting future requirements, and addressing issues discussed in this plan. In addition, the service member life-cycle depicts the need for information at differentpoints in times during the career of the service member. An It is importantfactor to successfully capturing the necessary information is to identifying a single point of data entry for the collection of necessary information.

The OASD (HA) has an established a management and oversight structure that provides senior executive oversight of the MHS Information Management and Information Technology Program and ensures that MHS investment in information systems and technologyare is firmly based on the goals and objectives of the MHS. The TRICARE Readiness Committee and the TRICARE Executive Committee develop broad policy guidance. The MHS Information Management Proponent Committee and the Information Management Program Review Board oversee execution and ensure integration at the enterprise level. Functional Proponent Working Groups ensure the functional requirements are defined and prioritized to support customer needs and the policies set forth by the TRICARE Readiness Committee and the TRICARE Executive Committee.

The Theater Functional Steering Committee oversees the integration and approval of health requirements in support of joint and combined military operations. This committee aggregates and prioritizes medical requirements for all echelons of care and addresses functional areas including command and control, medical logistics, blood management, patient regulation and evacuation, medical threat/intelligence, health care delivery, manpower/training, and medical capabilities assessment and sustainability analysis. Requirements approved by the Theater Functional Steering Committee are managed through the Theater Medical Information Program which integrates the capabilities into medical deployment packages for use in land-based, non-fixed medical facilities, and aboard ship.

OASD (HA) has clustered information management and technology activities into six discrete business areas: Cclinical, Eexecutive Iinformation/Ddecision Ssupport, Rresources, Llogistics, Ttheater, and Iinfrastructure. Each of these business areas has prescribed responsibilities, expected outcomes, support requirements identified by the Theater Functional Steering Committee, and is managed by an Executive Agent.

Health information systems developed in the future will consist of standards-based commercial off-the-shelf, government -off-the-shelf, or MHS-developed functional applications, in that order of preference. Functional applications will be supported by a DoD standard computing and communications infrastructure to facilitate the seamless flow of patient information across the operational continuum.

The MHS is actively engaged in business process reengineering activities that cover the spectrum of from continuous improvement at the military treatment facility level to radical changes in the delivery and management of health care services for the entire enterprise. These activities focus on improving the processes associated with providing health care in peacetime, wartime and operations other than war.

In support of health information exchange for health care delivery to military members (active, retired, and separated) who are entitled to care in the VA health system, an DoD/VA Executive Council DoD/VA meets on a monthly basis to address health care issues.
 
 











Chapter 4

Research


 







Many of the major health concerns and uncertainties identified after the Gulf War are similar to those associated with other major foreign deployments. The response to these concerns could have been more effective had there been a better understanding of the potential biological and toxicological associations between exposure and response. Better knowledge of biologically -based relationships between specific exposures and specific health outcomes enhances: (a) analysis of potential causes of illnesses; (b) research and development on effective prevention, intervention, and treatment strategies; and (c) development of an accurate and effective health risk communication plan to inform troops about potential exposure risks. Furthermore, if epidemiological researchers had comprehensive population-based troop health assessments and exposure monitoring data and data systems, they might have been better able to define potential associations between exposures and outcomes.

Attention to the uncertainties of exposure-related health outcomes during deployment could have resulted in directed (or focused) research efforts, the results of which could have been applied before and during these deployments to mitigateagainst adverse health outcomes.

Furthermore, population-based health assessments of troops before and after deployments could have improved the ability to answer readily the deployment-related health concerns of veterans. Such knowledge could have also helped to plan for future deployments. Although design, development, and implementation of databases are not research per se, they play an important part in the research process because the quality of these activities can have a significant impact on the ability of epidemiological researchers to answer important questions about deployment health. Consequently, this strategic plan also describes database requirements necessary to enable the pursuit of research.

The concerns of many veterans from other wars regarding their deployment experiences and their potential connection to long-term health problems underscore the need for a government focus on deployment health. Employment of effective, evidence-based actions to mitigate deployment-related health problems in the past is enhanced by research aimed at identifying and understanding these problems. It is for this reason that research is an essential component of the overall deployment health strategy presented in this document.

The brief duration of the Gulf War and the relatively low incidence of traumatic injuries focused attention on combat-related illnesses. Such illnesses include the potential health consequences of exposures from the wartime environment. New health issues associated with chemical, biological, and radiological threats also emerged. These emergent health issues have brought to the governmentís attention a requirement to enhance capabilities of addressing deployment-related health problems. The following have been identified as essential needs as the foundation for this research plan This research plan is designed to achieve following essential needs:

The fFederal gGovernmentís investment in health research spans multiple agencies and is the primary source of health research funding in the United States. Responsibility for execution of this plan will reside within the appropriate operational and research infrastructures in different agencies. Coordination, however, will be at an interagency level. Based on missions, capabilities, and capacities, the three primary agencies that will bear the responsibilityof for implementing this strategy are theDepartments of Defense DoD,Veterans Affairs VA, andHealth and Human Services DHHS.
 
 

RESEARCH GOALS, OBJECTIVES, AND STRATEGIES

Goal 1. The U.S. gGovernment will have the capability to apply epidemiological research to determine whether deployment-related exposures are associated with post-deployment health outcomes.

Objective 1.1. Maintenance of the capability and capacity to conduct epidemiological health studies (morbidity and mortality) as follow-up to military deployments.

Strategy 1.1.1. Establish guidelines for initiating morbidity and mortality follow-up studies.

Strategy 1.1.2. Establish guidelines for initiating necessary coordinating efforts for deployment-related health follow-up activities.
 
 

Objective 1.2. Maintenance of the capability to identify and link exposure and health data by social security number (SSN) and unit identification code (UIC). Strategy 1.2.1. Identify the responsible government agency charged with collecting, consolidating, maintaining, and updating health data and related exposure data for all service members.

Strategy 1.2.2. Establish an interagency team charged with identifying and selecting appropriate epidemiological study cohorts for deployment health studies.

Supporting Narrative

For the government to successfully acquire appropriate health and exposure data using well designed data collection, archiving, and management systems, itneeds to have the capability to must be able to apply sound scientific principles to determine whether exposure-outcome relationships exist in connection with a deployment.

Different departments, DoD and VA in particular, have epidemiological capability and capacity that is spread across many sectors within those departments. Essential to the establishment of the capability t To carry out exposure-outcome assessment, is the identification of the departments must identify a locus for that activity.
 
 

Goal 2. The U.S. Government will have balanced research programs targeted at (1) improved prevention, intervention, and treatment strategies for priority health risk factors and exposures, and (2) improved biologically based dose-response models.

Because some deployment-related health risk factors are already the subjects of substantial targeted research efforts within the fFederal gGovernment, it would not be prudent to include them in this strategy. Consequently, this plan identifies a number of research priority areas that currently deserve special emphasis. These research areas are as follows:

  1. Chemical, biological, and radiological warfare (CBR) agents.
  2. Stressors.
  3. Emerging health concerns.
  4. Infectious diseases.
  5. Occupational risk factors and non-combat injuries.
Research Priority Area 1. Chemical, Biological, and Radiological (CBR) Warfare Agents

Objective 2.1. A broad knowledge base of the possible health effects of low-level exposures to CBR agents.

Strategy 2.1.1. Develop a separate strategic approach to research on the health effects of low-level exposures to CBR warfare agents, environmental/chemical agents, and other factors, alone or in combination. Objective 2.1. Improved protection measures for service members. Strategy 2.1.1. Develop improved masks with minimal burden to wearer while providing enhanced respiratory protection.

Strategy 2.1.2. Develop improved protective clothing examining new materials and technologies, that allow greater flexibility and longer sustainment of activities before fatigue sets in.

Strategy 2.1.3. Develop pharmacological and other countermeasures for long-term effects of CBR weapons.
 
 

Objective 2.3. Improved chemical, biological, and radiological detection devices. Strategy 2.3.1. Define medically relevant detection requirements for CBR agents for operational forces.

Strategy 2.3.2. Develop wide area, standoff technologies to detect liquids, aerosols, and vapors, permitting a true-mapping information capability.

Strategy 2.3.3. Develop technologies to detectmedically and characterize relevant levels of chemical and biological agents in water.
 
 

Objective 2.4. Effective training methods for CBR personnel defense. Strategy 2.4.1. Review current detection strategy and sensor employment.

Strategy 2.4.2. Evaluate effectiveness of CBR agent training.

Strategy 2.4.3. Develop high-resolution (0-3 meters) chemical/biological agent dispersion modeling that supports transport and diffusion in complex terrain and build-up areas.

Strategy 2.4.4. Evaluate the effects of stress on leadership and decision making in nuclear/biological/chemical warfare environments.
 
 

Research Priority Area 2. Stressors

Objective 2.5. Expansion of the biomedical research knowledge base on stress and stress-related illnesses with emphasis on the neurobiology of stress.

Strategy 2.5.1. Expand basic research characterizing the neurobehavioral links between stress and risk factors for medical illnesses such as suppression of the immune response. Objective 2.6. Effective strategies for prevention of adverse psychological outcomes associated with deployments. Strategy 2.6.1. Conduct research on predisposing risk factors for adverse adjustment outcomes.

Strategy 2.6.2. Conduct research on the effectiveness of behaviorally based protocols to reduce responses to stress.

Strategy 2.6.3. Conduct research on educational interventions to prevent adverse health outcomes and prepare service members for expected stressors during deployment.

Strategy 2.6.4. Develop pharmacological countermeasures to neutralize vulnerabilities to medical illnesses associated with extreme stress.
 
 

Objective 2.7. Effective strategies for intervention during exposure to deployment-related stressors, with these interventions based on the principles of proximity, immediacy, and expectancy. Strategy 2.7.1. Conduct research on the effectiveness of different debriefing protocols.

Strategy 2.7.2. Conduct research on the effectiveness of acute pharmacological intervention protocols.
 
 
 
 
 

Objective 2.8. Effective treatments for the adverse psychological effects of exposure to deployment-related stressors. Strategy 2.8.1. Identify and assess the efficacy of a broad spectrum of treatment approaches. Research Priority Area 3. Emerging Health Concerns

Objective 2.9. Targeted research programs on the potential health consequences of exposure to those materials, including mixtures of agents, for which toxicological data to establish exposure standards are lacking.

Strategy 2.9.1. Conduct periodic assessments of toxicological data to identify data and knowledge gaps.

Strategy 2.9.2. Set priorities for research programs within DoD, VA and DHHS based on the periodic assessments.
 
 

Objective 2.10. Maintenance of up-to-date information on the potential health effects and the appropriate exposure standards associated with exposures to materials comprising weapons systems. Strategy 2.10.1. Appoint a single organization within theDepartment of Defense DoD to serve as a clearinghouse for the aforementioned information.

Strategy 2.10.2. Create a centralized database containing the aforementioned information.
 
 

Objective 2.11. Maintenance of a DoD database on the potential iatrogenic effects of various disease prevention strategies, such as vaccines, and pesticides/insecticides, etc. Strategy 2.11.1. Design, develop, and maintain the database using the system under Objective B2.10 above.

Strategy 2.11.2. Periodically review, update, and report contents of database.
 
 

Research Priority Area 4. Infectious Diseases

Objective 2.12. Research directed toward attaining the lowest achievable incidence of infection during deployments due to endemic infectious agents in the region of deployment.

Strategy 2.12.1. Support infectious disease research programs, with emphasis on threat assessment, rapid diagnostics, preventive measures (particularly vaccines that can be given before deployments), and improved treatments. Objective 2.13. Science-based deployment practices to achieve the lowest possible incidence of communicable infectious diseases generally associated with deployments. Strategy 2.13.1. Establish working group to evaluate scientific evidence that could result in changes in preventive medicine and treatment practices, for example, in the prevention and treatment of respiratory infections. The workgroup should identify research needs. Research Priority Area 5. Occupational Risk Factors and Non-Ccombat Injuries

Objective 2.14. Comprehensive research programs aimed at achieving significant reductions in non-combat injuries and illnesses during deployment experiences.

Strategy 2.14.1. Expand epidemiologic research on the underlying causes of motor vehicle and other transportation-related injuries.

Strategy 2.14.2. Develop countermeasures against excessive fatigue and sleep loss arising from rapid deployment and demands for 24-hour mobility.

Strategy 2.14.3. Undertake longitudinal studies of acute behavioral and neurological deficits (e.g., loss of attention or alertness, lack of motor coordination) associated with wartime toxic exposures.

Strategy 2.14.4. Develop valid portable tests for early, pre-morbid, identification of individuals exposed to toxic substances in the field.

Supporting Narrative

The risk assessment/risk management paradigm shown in fFigure 1 provides a way of to viewing risk as arising from a number of sequential events, each of which contribute in some way to a health outcome. There are fFactors associated with each event that shape and determine the health outcome (determinants of response). For example, the patterns of troop movement in space and time determine how an atmospheric concentration is converted into exposure where exposure is defined as the intersection of a concentration and a person or populations. Another factor that can determine response to an agent is the iIndividual susceptibility of troops to that agent an agent also merits consideration. An example of this is exposure to an infectious agent. TroTroops who are vaccinated against that an infectious agent will have a reduced susceptibility be less susceptible to its effects.

Figure 1,

The paradigm allows the identification of points at which prevention, intervention, and treatment strategies can be applied, and point to the highlights specific research needs and actions that can help improve health outcomes from deployments. Although generic, fFiigure 1can be appliesd to a wwide range of exposures, including environmental toxins, contamination by radiological materials, infectious agents, and stressorsSuch an application to a specific type of exposure or multiple exposures will help to identify specific strategies and actions.

Identification of research directed towards prevention, intervention, and treatment is accomplished by applying the risk assessment paradigm to a service memberís life-cycle defined later in (fFigure 2). For example, exposure to stressors occurs during the immediate pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment phases., There are several time points in the life-cycle of the service member. during which mMitigation strategies can be applied.

The role of research is to identify potential mitigation techniques and test their effectivenessAnother example is potential exposure to chemical warfare agents. In the case of potential exposure to chemical warfare agents, for example, Rresearch can help in the identifyication of effective means of protection. Such means would include such as improved protective clothing and improved detection devices.

Finally, research directed at improved biologically -based dose-response models is important to overall research efforts on causal relationships between exposure and response.
 
 

Setting Research Priorities for Goal 2

There are aA variety of health risk factors and exposures are associated with a military deployment. For this strategic plan to be effective, it is necessary to limit consideration of specific risk factors and exposures to those that are considered most important. To accomplish this, the answers to tThe following questions were used to identify those exposures and risk factors worth consideration for research purposes:

The risk factors or exposures commonly associated with virtually any deployment include: Other risk factors, although less likely to be present during any particular deployment, could pose a high degree of harm both in extent and severity include: Risk reduction should be the overriding focus in conducting research on these risk factors. Risk reduction can be accomplished through prevention, intervention, and treatment, which can potentially be applied at all stages of military life: induction, training, pre-deployment, deployment, immediate post-deployment, and long-term post-deployment. Eachof these stages is considered in the context of research opportunities for improved risk reduction.
 
 

Research Area 1. Chemical, Biological, and Radiological Warfare Agents

Although there have been few documented uses of chemical, biological, or radiological weapons in combat during this century, a number of recent assessments confirm our concerns about their potential future application and thus the need for continued research. Due to their high degree of acute toxicity, these agents have the potential for producing large numbers of casualties and/or markedly compromising mission accomplishment. In addition to protecting our service members from the effects of overt attacks with chemical or biological weapons (an area which has historically received a high degree of research attention), we must further examine the potential health effects of incidental exposures which do not produce acute symptoms or diseaseneeds further examination. The ultimate goal of this research is to attain the lowest achievable incidence and severity of either short-term or long-term injuries through a combination of detection, physical protection, and medical countermeasures.

Research Area 2. Stressors

Psychosocial stressors of all kinds are present in all phases of a deployment. It would be expected that the severity of health outcomes of stressors is a function of exposure (amount and duration) and thus would vary from deployment to deployment. However, it is reasonable to assume thatno every deploymentis without has stressors and the potential for both short- and long-term health consequences.

Research Area 3,. Emerging Health Concerns

The armed forces are engaging in deployments to increasingly complex and novel environments with the potential for a variety of exposures with potential health consequences. For example, deployments to heavily industrialized areas raise the potential for exposure to myriad industrial chemicals with toxic potential. These potential exposures and combinations of exposures must be considered as potential deployment-related threats.

As weapons technologies change, new health concernsalso begin to arise. For example, the introduction of depleted uranium as a material in kinetic energy weapons to enable piercing of armor has created some concern over heavy metal toxicity and potential radiation effects. The military and veteran health communities must, therefore, be alert to these emerging technologies and be prepared to address health issues potentially associated with them at the earliest stages of development and implementation.

LastlyFinally, force protection measures, such as the use of prophylactic agents against biological and chemical threats, may carry with them potential health consequences that must be weighed against their potential utility. Research must be specifically applied to ascertain such potential health consequences in military populations. Such knowledge will better inform commanders of risk and benefit associated with protective measures.
 
 

Research Area 4. Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases are associated with all deployments. There are the problems of infectious agents associated with poor sanitation and close living conditions. Then there are the problems associated with infectious agents that are endemic to particular parts of the world and create unique and threatening health hazards, e.g., malaria, yellow fever, schistosomiasis, and leishmaniasis, etc. Effective prevention, intervention, and treatment continue to be areas where significant advances can be made.

Research Area 5. Occupational Risk Factors and Non-Combat Injuries

Because physical combat injuries and their long-term sequelae have been a part of DoD and VA research agendas for decades, the value-added for additional research in this area would be minimal. However, disease and non-battle injuries (DNBI) associated with deployments currently account for the vast majority of deployment-related casualties.

This priority area focuses on issues of motor vehicle-related injuries, fatigue, and sleep loss, and the links between stress and health, as they relate to performance of service members in the field. This ensures that the spectrum of critical research needs concerning preventing occupational risk factors and non-combat injuries during deploymentare is addressed. The strategies, when taken together, should address the major non-combat injury and occupational morbidity and mortality risks faced by service members and during deployment.
 
 

Goal 3. The U.S. gGovernment will have the capability to collect systematically population-based demographic and health data to enable longitudinal evaluation of the health of all service personnel (active duty, reservist, nNational gGuard) throughout their military careers and after leaving military service.

Objective 3.1. An interdepartmentally coordinated, centralized, and computerized repository of health data, physical examination data, and laboratory analyses that would serve as the basis of a longitudinal database for military personnel.

Strategy 3.1.1. Create an interagency coordinating body with a clearly defined charge and scope of responsibility and authority to provide the necessary interagency coordination.

Strategy 3.1.2. Develop the structure and detailed contents of self-administered health questionnaires specific to different periods of a service memberís life--cycle beginning with the new recruit and extending into veteran status.

Strategy 3.1.3. Develop and implement a computerized system for monitoring baseline health status data on all new recruits.

Strategy 3.1.4. Fully implement the current system of routine, periodic self-administered health assessments during military service.
 
 

Objective 3.2. Standardization of current data elements to facilitate their utility in forming relational databases to augment self-administered questionnaire data. Strategy 3.2.1. Assess current data collection and storage activities by each service with the purpose of encouraging standardization across services.

Strategy 3.2.2. Create relational databases of centralized computerized administrative, personnel and medical data sets, as they become available.

Strategy 3.2.3. Continue to maintain the existing centralized biological specimen bank.
 
 

Objective 3.3. Mechanisms for long-term outcome follow-up after discharge. Strategy 3.3.1. Longitudinally follow appropriate populations of discharged individuals using self-administered questionnaires.

Strategy 3.3.2. Study feasibility of maintaining accurate post-discharge data for service membersí addresses. Create database if feasible.

Strategy 3.3.3. Extract data from other sources (i.e., VA Patient Treatment File, BIRLS Beneficiary Identification and Record Locator Subsystem, National Death Index, Medicare, etc.) and link with health assessment data described above.
 
 

Objective 3.4. Safeguards for protection of database confidentiality and of the basic human rights of all service members relative to the achievement of this goal. Strategy 3.4.1. Develop guidelines for access to databases.

Strategy 3.4.2. Develop ethical guidelines for the collection of information from service members.

Strategy 3.4.3. Develop ethical guidelines for the use of information in the database for non-research purposeds.

Supporting Narrative

Figure 2 illustrates the requirements to satisfy the overarching and recurring need to be able to conduct population-based epidemiological studies that can compare pre- versus post-deployment health status. Ideally, as is shown in the figure, aAccurate health status data are desirable at all points during a service memberís life--cycle.

It should be noted that the pre- and post- deployment health status is a continuum with routine occupational exposures involving the same agents as during deployment. Therefore, effects from multiple exposures (e.g., from cumulative doses) must be assessed since these exposure patterns can lead to acute/chronic health outcomes and can have a direct bearing on deployment-related health outcomes.

Figure 2
 
 

Essential to any longitudinal research activity on the impact of deployment cCollection of baseline health assessment data on all military personnel is essential to any longitudinal research on the impact of deployment. This type of data forms the cornerstone of any longitudinal database.

Already DoD has designed the Health Enrollment Assessment Review (HEAR) survey to collect personal information from MHS beneficiaries. Primaryily health care personnel use this information to plan health care delivery needs.

Existing data elements that would be of use in tracking the health of military personnel include administrative, personnel, medical record, pharmacy, immunization, reportable diseases, physical profile, dental class, and other databases (see chapter 3). These should be standardized across services and data should be centralized. While these efforts would enhance the primary utility of these data sets for their current uses, they would also enable the data to be downloaded to the centralized database (described above). Banked baseline biological specimens are of considerable use in exploringto explore biochemical and genetic associationsas well to provide the potential and make it possible to explore the interactions of lifestyle, medical history, and biochemical, and genetic interactions. DoD has already initiated such banking.

A large central repository of personnel and health data of military personnel would allow investigators to propose research projects on targeted groups of individuals. A mechanism should be put in place to make these data sets available for research purposes.
 
 

Goal 4. The U.S. Government will have the capability to collect and assess data associated with anticipated exposures during deployments (also see chapter 3).

Objective 4.1. Simple and effective methods to assess exposures of troops to environmental pollutants using personal, area, and biological monitoring.

Strategy 4.1.1. Identify the organizations that collect information relevant to exposure on a regional and/or worldwide basis, and assess the current extent of that knowledge.

Strategy 4.1.2. Determine spectrum of potential exposures.

Strategy 4.1.3. Compile in a computerized database all relevant environmental exposure and threat data on a country/regional basis.

Strategy 4.1.4. Determine the current state of the art for sampling and detecting various exposures and environmental media during deployments.

Strategy 4.1.5. Conduct research to develop smaller, lighter, simpler, more sensitive, and more rugged personal and area environmental samplers and detectors that are capable of measuring and/or sampling multiple exposures/chemicals at toxicologically relevant levels.

Strategy 4.1.6. Expand research in human biological monitoring to increase the number of chemicals that can be assessed and improve the analysis time and data interpretation.
 
 

Objective 4.2. Improved meteorological and dispersion models to predict environmental exposures to troops in the absence of actual sample data or incomplete data. Strategy 4.2.1. Survey and evaluate existing environmental, dispersion and meteorological models for their ability to predict exposures to deployed forces.

Strategy 4.2.2. Expand the knowledge base of environmental modeling and the ability of models to predict accurately exposures to deployed forces.
 
 

Objective 4.3. Methods for measuring exposure of service members to psychological stressors.

Objective 4.4. Simple and effective methods to measure toxicologically relevant exposures of service members to chemical/biological agents using personal and area monitoring.

Strategy 4.4.1. Expand existing toxicological database to determine physiologically relevant occupational and environmental exposure standards.

Strategy 4.4.2. Assess deficiencies in current technologies and practices and develop essential equipment, methods, and procedures for operational use.

Strategy 4.4.3. Develop passive detection capabilities for application as personal monitors or archival devices.
 
 

Objective 4.5. Improved methods for tracking troops, both individual service members and units, in space and time. Strategy 4.5.1. Survey and evaluate the current methods and technologies being developed in universities, private industry, DoD, and other government agencies that are applicablefor to tracking individual troops, troop units, and vehicles.

Strategy 4.5.2. Conduct research on potential methods, technologies, and systems capable of tracking and recording troop locations on an individual and unit basis, and that are capable of providing this information on a real time basis.

Strategy 4.5.3. Conduct research into systems capable of integrating troop location data with exposure and medical outcome data, on as near a real time basis as possible and maintaining appropriate confidentially protections.

Supporting Narrative

There are a variety of exposures that troops experience during a deployment (environmental chemicals, occupational chemicals, stress, vaccines, pesticides, radiological,etc., or any combination thereof). Many of these exposures are common to all deployments, whether they are peacekeeping missions or an actual armed conflict. Many are also the same, and at the same level, as the troops receive when they are at installations in the United States or stationed abroad. Current epidemiological research on Gulf War veteransí illnesses has frequently been hampered by reliance upon self-reported exposures, leading to reporting bias. Thus, deployment-related exposures potentially associated with adverse health outcomes are important to measure directly. There is currently a certain level of exposure surveillance that occurs during major military deployments (environmental sampling, medical record keeping and questionnaires, serum samples, etc.). It generally employs near state- of-the-art methodology, much of which is used by the civilian community and government regulatory agencies in this country. There is also a new DoD Directive and implementing Iinstruction on Jjoint Mmedical Ssurveillance. Nevertheless, more work can and should be for exposure surveillance during military deployments. Much of this additional effort is dependent depends on research that will provide expeditious methods of conducting exposure surveillance at the lowest operational level under battle conditions. Expanded research into development of biological markers of exposure would reduce the need for quantitative environmental monitoring under actual deployment conditions and would provide better data about actual exposures of individual service members.

The first priority of exposure surveillance is to determine the spectrum of potential exposures, and the resultant health outcomes that could occur during a deployment. There is aA number of intelligence, environmental, health, and government agenciesthat partially fulfill this need. However, there is noone central system or source for this type of rapidly changing information. Before exposure surveillance needs and countermeasures can be planned and carried out, the extent of the exposure threat must first be ascertained.

Many current methods of environmental monitoring require large cumbersome equipment that have has extensive power requirements,are is often difficult to operate,are is sensitive to environmental conditions, andare isvery fragile. These characteristics clearly make this equipment unsuitable for most of the environmental monitoring that occurs during a deployment. Much of the smaller, simpler equipment does not have the required sensitivity to detect low levels of chemical contamination. Once we know the potential exposures that exist during a deployment,it is we mustimperative that we determine the actual type and level the troops really encounter. Only with this information available can we determine if the health outcomes experienced by troops are related to the exposures they experienced during a deployment.

Often it is notIt is seldom possible to collect quantitative data when an exposure incident occurs. The data also may be inadequate from a spatial, temporal, or sensitivity standpoint. Therefore, it is often necessary to reconstruct the exposure by modeling the incident. Currently, nNumerous environmental models are used to predict exposure. However, their accuracy and precision are sometimes questioned and their ability to handle different chemicals and atmospheric conditions can be a problem. In the absence of actual exposure data, model predictions are critical to determine if health outcomes that troops experience during and following deployments are associated with environmental exposures.

To determine the exposure of service members using environmental modeling, area monitoring, or exposure incident proximity, it is necessary to know their locations at the time the possible exposure occurred. This task is difficult Wwith the present systemthat is now a difficult task to accomplish. . Currently troop location data are on a unit basis and are generally compiled from paper records after the deploymentis over. Therefore,improvements to the system must be made improved to characterize better the exposures that occur during deployments and the potential medical outcomesbetter.

The ultimate objective of environmental exposure monitoring and assessment is to determine whether there are associations between exposures that occurred during a deployment and adverse health outcomes in deployed troops. To make this determination we must be able to catalogue the exposure that an individual service member receives and link those data to individual health records. To accomplish this objective we must create a computerized database that stores all relevant exposure data for an individual and is capable of linking those data with individual health records, to determine if exposure is responsible for adverse health outcomes. It may, however, never be possible to capture all the relevant exposure data that may be needed to determine if an exposure is responsible for an adverse health outcome.
 
 

Goal 5. The U.S. Government will have a reasonable capability to monitor deployments for the appearance of novel or unanticipated health risks and to deploy quickly the means to collect and assess data relevant to such threats.

Objective 5.1. Mechanisms to determine, before all deployments, the potential for novel exposures associated with a deployment region.

Strategy 5.5.1.5.1.1. The U.S. Government, under the leadership of a group formed by theas advised by a working group chaired by the NSC, National Security Council (NSC), should integrate organizational expertise to identify and assess the potential for novel or unanticipated exposures associated with major deployments or large scale contingency operations. Objective 5.2. Personnel, resources, and equipment will be available before a deployment to collect the data necessary to assess these novel exposures. Strategy 5.2.1. The NSC chaired working group should make recommendations for research on sampling and detection equipment to address their requirements.

Strategy 5.2.2. Before a deployment, DoD should assemble and prepare for deployment the necessary equipment and personnel to rapidly collect and assess data associated with exposures. These assets must be available and capable of deployment to protect U.S. forces.
 
 

Objective 5.3. Methods, models, and systems that permit better and more timely assessment of potential biological and health responses to novel or unanticipated exposures, especially for complex or combined exposures and unusual exposure conditions associated with military operations. Strategy 5.3.1. Based on intelligence input, develop research approaches that permit more timely screening or assessment of potential agents and combinations of agents (biological, multi-chemical, physical, stress) for harmful outcomes prior to deployments in order to establish operational exposure limits.

Strategy 5.3.2. Develop deployable (compact, rugged, simple) screening or test systems that can rapidly assess the potential biological and health responses to novel or unanticipated exposures and exposure conditions, including complex, mixed exposures.

Strategy 5.3.3. Conduct research needed to develop more sophisticated laboratory test systems that can be used post-deployment to evaluate experimentally the biological and health responses to exposures encountered during deployments.

Supporting Narrative

When exposures can be anticipated, mechanisms to measure and assess them are theoretically possible (see above). Indeed, deployment planners know the vast majority of deployment-related exposures, and appropriate responses to these exposures (e.g., medical intervention, protective equipment, environmental monitoring, etc.) are planned and executed during the deployment. However, the unpredictable nature of war can lead to unexpected or novel exposures. If possible, mechanisms to anticipate and measure novel or unanticipated exposures should be available.
 
 

Goal 6. The U.S. Government will maintain a wide range of national and international collaborative relationships to enhance research efforts.

Objective 6.1. Maintain an ongoing interdepartmental review of and input into research strategies and programs for preventing and reducing adverse health outcomes associated with military deployment.

Strategy 6.6.1. Establish a permanent interdepartmental research coordinating body, consisting of scientists and senior managers fromthe Departments of Defense DoD,Veterans Affairs VA, andHealth and Human Services DHHS, and other agencies as appropriate. This committee will meet on routine basis to ensure continued implementation of the current research strategy.

Strategy 6.6.2. Provide liaison to the National Security Council NSC and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to ensure appropriate strategies are in place to address unique health concerns associated with specific deployments in support of the National Military Strategy.

Strategy 6.6.3. Integrate available intelligence into threat-based research protocols.
 
 

Objective 6.2. Establish and maintain appropriate collaborations between U.S. and international investigators. Strategy 6.2.1. The interdepartmental research coordinating body should work with ongoing international strategic research alliance structures.

Strategy 6.2.2. The interdepartmental research coordinating body, along with its international partners, should ensure appropriate exchange of information on the most effective research strategies for preventing and reducing adverse health outcomes associated with military deployment.

Supporting Narrative

Research on deployment-related health issues spans a wide array of research areas. In order t To maximize the efficiency of research investigations and the application of research to deployment health problems, it is important that deployment-related health research efforts engage appropriate government research sectors, university-based research, private research, and research conducted in other countries. Only through coordinated efforts with all sectors of research, nationally and internationally, can significant progress be made in this area.

Ongoing interdepartmental input and review is essential for ensuring that an appropriate research strategy based on the most current scientific knowledge is implemented. Planning for special meetings associated with specific deployments is equally important as not all health outcomes or environmental exposures can be anticipatedin advance.

Many countries have considerable experience in addressing the health consequences of military service. A priority should be placed on establishing a mechanism for ensuring collaboration with international research organizations. Such collaboration amongUnited States U.S. and international investigators will enhance U.S. efforts to address the health concerns of its military personnel by ensuring that new scientific findings are integrated into the research strategy in a timely manner.
 
 

SETTING RESEARCH PRIORITIES

Although eachof the Goals, Objectives, and Strategyies is important, it is necessary to identify priorities. The goals related to data needs (Goals 3-5) are crosscutting across all aspects of deployment health and, therefore, of highest importance for deployment health.

Althoughthe availability of population and exposure data is a prerequisite for much research, the acquisition and maintenance of such data are not, per se, research. Thus, within the narrower context of research, additional priorities need to be set. Of the two primary research goals identified (Goals 1-2), Goal 1 is the highest priority. Maintenance of the capability and capacity to conduct deployment-related epidemiological research ensures the continued flow of vital information needed to assess the health consequences of deployments, and to stimulate new research directed toward improved prevention, intervention, and treatment strategies.

Goal 6 is an organizational priority requiring not so much a commitment of resources as but a commitment of will to engage a wide range of national and international scientific communities in this endeavor. Therefore Based on its, minimal cost, but and potentially high impact, of Goal 6 argues for it receiving should receive high priorityconsideration.

Within each goal of this research strategy, objectives are listed in order of importance to the goal. Likewise, within each objective, strategies are listed in order of their importance to the objective.
 
 











Chapter 5

Recommendations


 







The Federal Government has an unwavering obligation to care for the health of those placed in harmís way to defend the vital interests of the Nnation. Therefore, the Federal Government must be able to respond promptly and effectively to the health needs of our military, veterans, and their families. In particular, when health problems are identified following a military deployment, plans must be in place to improve and facilitate cooperation and coordination among DoD, VA, and DHHS, as well as among other appropriate agencies of the Executive Branch. This report, prepared in response to PRD/NSTC-5, provides the first comprehensive set of recommendations designed to help ensure that this obligation is met in a manner that takes into consideration the successes and failures of past deployments.

The numerous goals, objectives, and strategies contained in the report provide a roadmap to improve the health preparedness associated with troop deployments. Each strategy recommends specific actions needed to achieve the stated goals and objectives. This chapter provides the IWG's assessment of the major recommendations that emerged from its deliberations.

These recommendations can be divided into two main categories:

IMPROVING COORDINATION

Creation of a Military and Veterans Health Coordinating Board

To achieve many of the goals laid out in this plan, there must be ongoing coordination of all agencies involved in maintaining the health of military members (active, guard and reserve component), veterans, and their families. This could be accomplished through the creation of a Military and Veterans Health Coordinating Board (MVHCB). Once established, the MVHCB would ensure coordination between the VA, DoD, and DHHS on a broad range of health care and research issues relating to past, present, and future military service in the U.S. Armed Forces.

To be optimally effective, the Board should be chaired by the Secretaries of VA, DoD, and DHHS. Representation on the Board should include policy and program level staff from these departments as well as liaison representatives from veterans service organizations and other agencies, as deemed necessary. Note, for example, that the U.S. Coast Guard functions as part of the U.S. DOT except in time of war, when it becomes part of the U.S. Navy. Representation on the Board from DOT is appropriate.

The work of the Board must take into account that National Guard forces after a deployment are the responsibility of their respective state governments. It must also take into account that state and community public health officials have roles and responsibilities related to the health of veterans and their families residing in their state. States and communities may be responsible for the health and health care of veterans and their dependents who choose not to use VA health care services. In addition, health problems in the population that are not initially recognized as being associated with military service may first come to the attention of the state and community public health officials. In these cases, the states may call upon various components of DHHS to assist in responding to such health problems.

The Board should provide oversight, coordination, and linkages to other related efforts in the fFederal gGovernment in the areas of deployment health, health care, research, health risk communication and education, record keeping, and compensation. The Board should establish working groups to carry out its mandate.

Outreach

The MVHCB would make information available as needed to other Executive Branch agencies, the Congress, the medical and scientific community, and the public. It is critical to the success of the Board that it adopts an inclusive mode of operation. In addition to other fFederal gGovernment entities, the Board must have effective avenues of outreach to veteransí service organizations, scientific professional societies, the press, state and community governments, and our Nationís international partners. As part of its outreach mission, the MVHCB would develop and implement a protocol and infrastructure for establishing an integrated electronic web page to communicate health information related to future combat operations.

The Board Staff

To be effective, the MVHCB will require a dedicated staff that is committed to achieving the goals and objectives detailed in this interagency plan. At a minimum, the Board will require one full-time professional in each of the following positions: executive director,medical director military public health officer, health scientist, health risk communication specialist, and administrator/program analyst.
 
 

Creation of an Information Management/Information Technology Task Force

DoD and VA, in consultation with DHHS, will establish an Information Management/ Information Technology Task Force (IM/IT Task Force) to provide direction and coordination for health and personnel information management and record keeping activities, especially activities associated with combat operations and deployments. The primary responsibilities of this Task Force will be toas follows:

The Task Force members will meet with MVHCB Working Groups and incorporate functional information requirements defined by MVHCB Working Groups into data models and integrate data sets into existing or planned IM/IT activities.
 
 

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SPECIFIC AGENCY ACTIONS

In addition to identifying the need for ongoing interagency coordination, each Task Force developed strategies, which in essence are recommendations for continuing or new actions to achieve goals and specific objectives. The IWG identified the following recommendations emanating from the interagency plan that clearly represented essential strategies for successfully meeting the broad objectives of thePresidential Review Directive PRD.

Deployment Health

Record Keeping Health Risk Communication Research
 
 



Appendix A

A Guide to Health Risk Communications


 







This appendix provides a planning guide for health risk communications managers and planners involved during the training, pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment stages of a given military exercise or peacekeeping mission.

The planning guide is designed to help:

Whether a large unit or a smaller field unit,tThis guide will help in the assessment of the capacity of an organization whether a large unit or a smaller field unit to implement health communication projects, analyze a unitís working environment, and plan to increase the effectiveness of health communication interventions.
 
 

HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE

This guide presents a diagnostic process that involves a series of basic key communication elements organized by the six general goals and related objectives and strategies necessary to develop and implement a successful communication activity.

Completion of the six- goal planning process will identify areas of need and opportunity for your organization and provide a structure to lead the reader through an effective health risk communication process. A major theme of this process is involvement of the intended primary and secondary audiences as well as appropriate external partners in both the identification of their needs and the selection of communication messages and strategies.

Outreach

Although this guide is intended for communication managers, the organizational development process works best if other staff members, the intended audience, and, when appropriate, external partners have input into key planning discussions. By involving these groups,you one receives realistic feedback from the intended audience, external partners, and the field personnel responsible for much of the intervention work.
 
 

Training

This strategic planning guide can be used for occasional communication support, choosing a strategy, or planning an idea that is needed at a given moment. However, to be most effective field personnel should test this process in the intended environment. Results and necessary adjustments should then be folded into a continuing staff training program for health communication personnel. Above all, these materials provide a planning structure that must be continuously modified based on the realities of the communication environment.
 
 

HEALTH RISK COMMUNICATION GOALS, OBJECTIVES, AND STRATEGIES

Goal 1. Develop a health communication plan and select a strategy.

The planning stage of a program provides guidance for managing the entire health communication process. Planning is a systematic and creative process in which information, attitudes, and ideas are managed to be exchanged and transmitted via specific messages and channels. The efforts to shape and disseminate messagesin order to accomplish established objectives and goals become the elements of communication planning. Careful assessment of a health problem and strategy selection in the beginning of the process will reduce flawed decision making and improve outcomes.

Objective 1.1. Develop a written purpose statement.

The first component of a sound communication plan is a written purpose statement based on a thorough understanding of the health problem as dealt with by those expected to be most burdenedó - the intended primary audience. Good planning will help with identification of the audienceís beliefs and current behavior regarding the health problem., which in turn will serve to define the feasible behaviors that the communication intervention will ask the intended audience to know and perform. The health communicator turns the expected knowledge or behavior of the audience into specific communication messages with specific objectives. These messages are translated into communication materials (print, video, electronic, etc.) and pre-tested in the field with a sample of the recipient audience. Final dissemination of health messages is based upon a clear health problem statement, pre-tested materials, andclear achievable communication objectives.
 
 

Objective 1.2. Assessyour the environment.

Before developingyour a communication program, it is importantfirst to complete an analysis ofyour the operating environment. This external assessment will provide an overall picture of who is active in the communication area, whereyou one might find support foryour the activities, how to avoid duplication of efforts, and the human and resource capacity to actually develop and manage the communication intervention within your organization. The answers to the following questions will help guide your assessment:

Objective 1.3. Develop a written health problem statement.

Early in the planning processyou one must set priorities anddefine develop a health problem statement. One Ddefines this problem by asking yourself the following questions:

Objective 1.4. Develop a written health communication strategic plan.

Developing a written health communication strategy forces the health communicator to consider all the elements of the strategic planning processIn developing a written health communication strategy, the health communicator must consider all elements of a strategic planning process (overall strategy statement, dissemination strategy, written communication objectives, and health messages). and to place them in a strategy that will give the target audience the motivation to understand and act upon the proposed communication product. The elements of thehealth communication strategic plan may vary considerably as the environment changes from training, pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment phases.

TheA health communication strategic planis composed includes of the following elements:

Implementation Strategies Strategy 1. Establish within DoD both administrative level and unit (or installation) level health risk communication teams responsible for health risk communications during the training, pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment phases. The administrative teams should oversee the activities of the local or installation level team.

Strategy 2. Develop guidelines to identify generic threats common to all deployments. Establish appropriate health risk communication strategies for each generic threat.

Strategy 3. Develop interdepartmental guidelines for writing health communication problem statements and a quick-response mechanism to integrate new threats.

Strategy 4. Link surveillance data with communication planning as troops movements change during deployment.

Strategy 5. Develop a written guidebook that details how post-deployment service personnel and veterans can continue to receive health information and communicate their health concerns to medical personnel.

Strategy 6. Develop a strategic communication media planning guide that will be used to answer the "who, what, where, when, why and how" types ofquestions.
 
 

Goal 2. Analyze and segment intended audiences.

Audience analysis is the gathering, interpretation, and application of demographic, behavioral, and psycho-graphic information related to audience interest.

Segmentation is the process of breaking down a largeintended audience into a small number of subgroups that are internally as homogeneous as possible and as different from each other as possible. Dividing a large population into homogeneous subsets of priority audiences helps to better describe and understand a segment, Segmentation makes it easier to describe and understand each subset, predict behavior, develop tailored messages, and meet specific needs. Segments may be demographic (e.g., age, sex, education, etc.), geographic (e.g., theater of service, physical location in post deployment stage, etc.) or psycho-graphic (e.g., medical usage patterns, risk factors, health status, benefits sought, information patterns, trusted sources, etc.).
 
 

Objective 2.1. Describe and segment intended audiences.

Risk communicators need to be especially alertto describe the in describing their audience(s). that are to receive the communication intervention. Few messages are appropriate for everyoneincluded in the military population given the diverse interests, needs, concerns, and priorities during the various stages of training, deployment, and post-deployment. Trying to reach all recipients with one message or strategy is rarely successful and tends to dilute the message. Single message dissemination may only be appropriate when the intent of the communication is merely to raise recipient awareness.

The four major purposes of audience segmentation are as follows:

The health communication team must think carefully about the feasibility of the segments chosen. Linking feasible health risk communication activities and appropriate audiences will help focus activities on disseminating useful information for individual decision making. In addition, segmentation can increase the confidence and the credibility of the health risk communication team and demonstrate their trust and effectiveness of their message and strategy selection.
 
 

Objective 2.2. Apply segmentation criteria to segment audiences.

Useful criteria for choosing audience segmentsto focus as focuses for a communication intervention include the following:

Objective 2.3. Develop working relationships with important partners.

Organizational partners from within a particular community can provide audience insight and key information that will help communicators design and implement health communication interventions. These sources include influential local leaders, private veterans groups, local health professionals, and special interest groups.

Network partners can help solve the numerous communication problems that will emerge and can provide needed support and comfort to the primary audience. These sources include health professionals, family members, and religious groups.

Media partners can effectively and efficiently reach a large audience. Coverage of a health issue in the media can increase the salience of the topic in peopleís minds. These sources include local and national print, audio, video, and electronic groups.
 
 

Objective 2.4. Use field experience to improve your audience outreach.

Appropriate identification of the intended audience at the start of a program results in a much more cost- effective and successful intervention. After the initial health problem has been described, it is necessary to identify the primary and secondary audiences involved in the problem and to learn more about their behavior through field research. The use of local organizations and specific geographic databases, which provide much needed psycho-graphic information, can assist message development and channel selection to reach identified recipients in the post-deployment stage. Strong partner identification, outreach, and selection techniques are all necessary to gather the most useful information from the intended audiences to plan the communication intervention.
 
 

Implementation Strategies

Strategy 1. Develop guidelines for determining primary and secondary intended audiences.

Strategy 2. Establish advisory mechanisms to involve intended audiences, to assist needs assessment, and to improve information dissemination and retrieval.

Strategy 3. Develop an electronic information system tobetter send and receive information better.

Strategy 4. Encourage "science literacy" by integrating baseline service member "health and science information" with basic/advanced training.

Strategy 5. Develop a self-administered "science based" questionnaire specific to the service member life cycle.
 
 

Goal 3. Select appropriate messages and channels.

Messages are the essential communication themes and ideas that are delivered by the communicator and acted upon by the recipient. Channels describe the route of message delivery (e.g., mass media, face -to- face, print, electronic, video etc.). Channels should always be considered as two-way vehicles for transmitting information.
 
 

Objective 3.1. Explain the "what, so what, why now, and now what."

Good messages depend on knowing the audience,and what it wants to know, and what steps it might take. An effective message has three main purposesas follows:

Objective 3.2. Use written criteria to develop health risk messages.

Not allof the messages can be transmitted at the same time. The communication team will need to set priorities for the messages and select those that are absolutely necessary for initial knowledge and effective first trial. As the target audience learns and acts on the messages, the communicator can deliver other messages in succeeding phases.

How does the communication team define the messages to be used in a health communication intervention? Important criteria for successful message development include the following:

Objective 3.3. Address message elements of special concern.

The health risk communicator should be aware of special elements that must be addressed for message development and delivery. These elements are as follows:

Uncertainty: Health risk messages and supporting materials should not minimizethe existence of the scientific uncertainty of a given risk from an identified hazard. Research needs and data gaps should be acknowledged up front, as should any disagreement among experts. The level of confidence of risk estimates should be conveyed in the format, style and "mental model" of recipients.

Comparing Risks: Risk comparisons can be helpful in message development, particularly among scientists and risk managers. In health communications, there are proven pitfalls when risks of diverse character (e.g., seat belt use, smoking cessation, etc.) are compared with chemical or safety hazards, especially when the intent of the comparisoncan be seen as minimizing is intended to minimize health risk. Multiple comparisons that list a specific range of known health effects and exposure conditions may provide more useful and trusted information.

Multiple Messages: In mMost health risk communication interventionsthere will be include multiple messages which that concernreporting risk analysisissues, special interestsissues, value questions, and trustissues. For this reason, tThe health risk communication development process includes the full range of messages. Thus, a health risk message designed to convey information regarding a specific finding may also need to address issues of audience values and communicator credibility. To the extent feasible, the health risk communicator should anticipate and plan for these multiple messages.

Theme Line: For all audiences, the message should prominently present a summary statement that captures the main idea, theme, or finding. Distillation of key theme lines is critical in reporting findings of scientific research.

Vividness: For most audiences, messages should use lively language, striking but accurate statements, relevant facts, and appropriate visuals.

Appropriateness: Risk information delivery should be consistent with the general norms and preferences of the intended audience.
 
 

Objective 3.4. Pre-test messages with the intended audience.

The communication strategic plan and the information collected during the audience analysis and segmentation process provide the blueprint for developing message concepts. These concepts should be considered in "rough draft" until they can be tested with a representative sample of the recipient audience. Pre-test each message concept to make sure it complies withyour the communication strategy and objectives. Consider testing alternative concepts with the intended audience to help predict the impact of scientific information or testing the message with a group of volunteers to better clarify how the health risk information will impact the public. Pre-test the messages well in advance of final message development to allow ample time to make appropriate modifications. Plan for the modifications.

Testing message and materials should provide the communication team with the following:

Objective 3.5. Select the appropriate channel.

It is important to consider what type of communication channels is best suited to achieve different objectives. Generally, media and electronic mail are the least interactive method to reach people, but are appropriate mechanisms to disseminate simple one-way messages. Face-to-face communication (by a trusted commander, trainer, health professional,etc. for instance) allows for much greater audience participation. Use face-to-face messages for situations where the audience needs feedback and an opportunity to shape the communication. Face-to-face meetings in small group settings serve as an appropriate venue for providing detailed health information. This mechanism is particularly appropriate during the training, and deployment phases.

Special community meetings, town hall sessions, and conferences share characteristics of both media and face-to-face communication. Town hall sessions often provide a good opportunity for recipient feedback; however, communicators should expect concerns about vested interests and value differences, as well as general mistrust of expert knowledge seen often as serving a "special interest."

Finally, 800 numbers and electronic mail provide an effective way to disseminate information in large quantities and in a timely manner. However, because many audiences may have access problems, use intermediaries (e.g., local librarians) to assist recipients to "get on line." "Chat rooms" provide a mechanism for two-way electronic exchange of information, but they are susceptible to message overload from multiple sources.

Base the ultimate decision inUltimately, selecting channels based on whatyour the intended audience already listens to, views, or reads.

Objective 3.6. Use different types of channels.

Consider the following channels in selecting the mix of delivery mechanisms:

Objective 3.7. Use criteria for selecting a channel of communication.

Develop communication dissemination activities that will indicate the following:

Match the ability of the channel to deliver the message by applying the following elements: Analyze the frequency and reach of the selected channel as follows: Develop a written inventory of administration costs and potential barriers. Implementation Strategies Strategy 1. Define guidelines and criteria for developing appropriate communication messages and channels.

Strategy 2. Use extensive outreach mechanisms (focus groups, intercept interviews, surveys) to determine the general channel preferences of the audience(s).

Strategy 3. Develop links with external public health communication experts who will provide advice and assistance in developing and pre-testing message and channel selection.

Strategy 4. Conduct or sponsor research to determine communication research factors that improve message development and are determinants of positive outcomes.

Strategy 5. Use POM (preparation for overseas movements) activities as an effective communication channel.

Strategy 6. Develop channel mechanisms to provide information to all training units and interested network, media, and partner groups.

Strategy 7. Develop "easy- to- read" single page fact sheets for hazardous exposures or safety issues of concern.

Strategy 8. Work with the American Library Association to link local libraries and their electronic media resources to serve veterans and veterans service organizations.
 
 

Goal 4: Develop written communication objectives.

Goal 1 outlinesd the importance of strategic planning and general goal development. Goal 2 and Goal 3 addressed audience, channel, and messages issues. The results from implementing these goals provide the necessary framework needed to write specific communication objectives.

Communication objectives are short written statements that indicate the expected change in health status, behavior, knowledge/attitude, or process in the intended audience as a result of the communication strategy.

Communication objectives should address the following questions:

Objective 4.1. Address key objective setting elements.

Each written objective should::

Objective 4.2. Write objectives with audience outcomes in mind.

When preparing objectives, focus on expected results rather than on describing activities. For example, training is a program activity. A communication objective should describe what the audience is expected to do or learn as a result of the training.

A well-defined communication objective should be interpreted in the same way by everyone. If there is any misunderstanding or confusion, change the objective to make it clear. Accordingly, an objective should not include vague or confusing words that lend themselves to a number of different interpretations. Instead, communication objectives should use action words.

Examples of confusing words: internalize, know, understand, appreciate, value, recognize, learn, sensitize.

Examples of action words: complete, use, try, enumerate, define, explain, design, summarize, resolve, construct, prepare, make, organize, select, compare, list.

Ask the following questions whenyou are writingyour objectives:

Communication objectives serve as a blue print for program development, implementation, and evaluation. If they are not clear and "actionable," the communication program will be unfocused, unclear, and ultimately unsuccessful.
 
 

Objective 4.3. Write communication objectives for four intended audiences.

The health communicator must address four important intended audiences when writing communication objectives, as follows:

Individual: The most important health-related communication outcomes at the individual level are generally health behaviors, physical actions, health access, and health status. The important outcomes (particularly during training and pre-deployment stages) are antecedents of health behavior, including awareness, knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, and skills for behavior change.

Networks: Social networks have a profound impact on health communication messages and strategies. Health risk communicators should seek to influence the information flow (two way) in a social group. Influential persons (e.g., spouse, family members, health providers etc.) often provide entry into social networks.

Organizations: Organizational settings include work sites, training venues, health care facilities, private advocacy organizations, and veterans groups. The use of organizations as channels to deliver and receive health information allows risk communicators to better tailor messages, reach priority audiences with internal channels, and multiply efforts by using existing organizational resources. Gatekeepers often provide entry to these organizations.

Media: Mediainfluences shape the health message. Theyincrease affect the importance intended audiences attach to an issue by increasing mass media coverage, discussions by politicians and scientists, and by agenda setting. The health communicator must develop links to the media early in the communication process and, where appropriate, develop clear, unambiguous theme lines concerning health risks.

The communicator should develop communication objectives for each of these four audiences. As individuals become concerned about an issue through individual or media channels, theywill likely are likely to discuss it in their social networks or organizations.
 
 

Implementation Strategies

Strategy 1. Develop a case study- based "style manual" for writing communication objectives in the training, pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment stages.

Strategy 2. Provide guidelines for writing communication objectives for all intended audiences, including but not limited to: service members, veterans, spouses, family members, health providers, veterans groups, media, public affairs personnel, and field staff.

Strategy 3. Train field personnel in writing useful communication objectives.

Strategy 4. Provide a quick response system to add, modify, or eliminate communication objectives in each operation phase.

Strategy 5. Develop an interagency system that links research protocols, findings, and surveillance activities with communication objectives.
 
 

Goal 5: Develop a written implementation and monitoring plan.

Implementation refers here to the act of converting communication objectives into actions through detailed knowledge of administration requirements, available resources, and organizational policies and procedures. Monitoring is the process of tracking the program through all phases of the health risk communication process and using tracking data to improve program performance.

The selection of communication objectives, messages, channels, and strategieswas is based on consideration of available resources. The main purpose of implementation is to assess those resources, match resources to communication methods and strategies, and budget human and material resources. Monitoring provides a mechanism to identify flaws or oversights before they become major impediments to success and to provide a solid database for claiming success.
 
 

Objective 5.1. Develop a written assessment of resources needed.

Assess the resources required by the proposed communication intervention. This requires an examination of the time frames needed for accomplishment of the written objectives and of the type and numbers of people needed to carry out the program.

Objective 5.2. Develop a written assessment of available resources.

Goals 1-4 of the strategic planning process identifyied objectives, strategies and materials in support of written communication objectives. Such materials might need to be developed from scratch, while in some cases existing materials and delivery mechanisms may be available to your unit. However, such materials and mechanisms may not be tailored to the intended audience. Such tradeoffs will arise throughout implementation. If the communication plan requires more personnel than the sponsoring unit has available, thenyou one may need to budget for additional costs, or reduce the cost of your activity.
 
 

Objective 5.3. Develop a written assessment of regulations and operating policy.

Beforeyour the communication plan can be implemented, determine whether it is consistent with existing policy, regulation, and organization. The communicator must show how the health risk communication plan serves the overall legislative mandate, organizational mission, and operating policy of the organization.
 
 

Objective 5.4. Develop a written promotion plan.

The fully developed communication program should be introduced and promoted to the intended audiences. Promotion and distribution begin through dissemination activities for all channels. Before the program starts, one should ask the following questions:

Objective 5.5. Develop a written monitoring plan.

Monitoring the program, through all phases of implementation, provides a mechanism to identify flaws or oversights before they become major impediments to success. and a Monitoring also provides solid database for claiming success. A periodic review of planned tasks and time schedules will helpyou one anticipate the need to alter any plans that might be affected by unexpected events or delays. Anticipate altering plans to fit the situation.

The discovery of problems and flaws inyour the communication strategyreflects the vitality of your program because it provides the opportunity to correct problems in time to avoid serious damage. Monitoring allowsyou one to correct the problems and to adapt constantly to changing situations and the emerging needs of the intended audience.
 
 

Objective 5.6. Decide on the purposes of monitoring.

Consider the following monitoring purposes:

Objective 5.5. Decide strategies for tracking.

Consider the following strategies in developingyour the tracking system:

Objective 5.7. Decide what to monitor.

Consider the following:

Objective 5.8. Select appropriate monitoring methods.

Monitoring is done in many ways using multiple forms of follow- up. Among the most common methods of monitoring are the following:

Implementation Strategies Strategy 1. Develop guidelines to secure and manage interagency resources needed for effective health risk communication implementation and monitoring.

Strategy 2. Develop a written assessment of requirements and needs to assure complimentary implementation of communication programs within current agency regulations and operating policy.

Strategy 3. Develop guidelines that encourage a problem solving or veterans need- based approach to the development of communication promotion plans for key communication activities.

Strategy 4. Develop an integrated project monitoring plan to improve the coordination of interagency program tracking.

Strategy 5. Develop a "how to" tracking manual and provide necessary training for headquarters and administrative personnel on key indicators and measures of communication project management.

Strategy 6. Develop an electronic information clearinghouse to disseminate tracking information.

Strategy 7. Create and maintain a centralized tracking system in the form of an electronic databaseto that may be queried for the status of particular research reports, interim reports, and findings.

Strategy 8. Create and maintain an automated FAXfax and, phone system, andworld wide a website (with an appropriate graphical user interface) which allows individuals to immediately download backgroundsupporting science documents.

Strategy 9. Identify, train, and support key network and organizational leaders to assist in program tracking.
 
 

Goal 6. Assess effectiveness.

Goal 5 of the strategic planning process developed and implemented a monitoring system. In this final step, you will focus on ways to carry out an evaluation. Evaluation of your health risk communication intervention should build on data collected in monitoring, which will enrich your understanding of the project for reporting purposes, changes, revisions, or expansions.

Evaluation is a purposeful effort to determine the effectiveness of the health risk communication activity.

Evaluation is essential because it provides feedback about whether the intended audience received, understood, and internalized the risk messages. Furthermore, cCommunicators cannot choose the most effective messages and strategies without evaluation. Therefore, evaluation affects both the quality of the communication intervention and the primary goal: improving and protecting the health of the primary intended audience. In addition, evaluation results are valuable for other uses:

Objective 6.1. Decide what questions the evaluation will answer.

Consider the following:

Objective 6.2. Select the evaluation approach.

Process and other descriptive evaluations document what and how events occurred. Impact (or outcome) evaluations measure what changes occurred and the extent to which they can be attributed to the communication intervention.

The Table below shows the questions these two approaches answer and the best time to collect data during the intervention.
 
Type Of Evaluation
Critical Questions
Data Collection
Process evaluation Is the communication strategy performing to expected standards? Throughout the program.
Impact Evaluation

Short Term
 
 

Long Term

  • Are health behaviors changing? If so, to what extent?
  • Did the intended audienceís health status improve?
  • Was the health risk communication program effective?
  • At important transition points, and at the end 
  • At important transition points, and at the end
  • At end of program

 

Objective 6.3. Decide what questions the process evaluation will answer.

Process evaluation describes the implementation of the health risk communication process and demonstrates the efficiency of the program implementation. It answers the following general questions:

Objective 6.4. Select a technique to do the process evaluation.

Several process evaluation techniques can be applied in different ways and for different purposes as follows:

Objective 6.5. Select a techniqueto do for doing the impact evaluation.

Usually, in the case of communication activities, impact evaluations focus on the behavioral changes defined by the communication objectives. Data from impact evaluations will help you determine if and to what extent the intended audience assimilated the expected knowledge, and changed their attitudes andtheir its level of action;, fFor example,was there an increased did use of health facilities for screening purposes increase?

Impact evaluations compare one group both before and after the intervention or compare a group that did not benefit from the program with a group that did. A relatively simple method of comparison is to use time series charts, in which data for a given group, organization, or individual are entered in a time chart. For example, chart the numbers of weekly screening visits to selected clinics by veterans before and after the communication intervention (e.g., a major media campaign).
 
 

Objective 6.6. Design an evaluation plan with written evaluation objectives.

The following four steps will guide you in designing an evaluation plan for youthe communication activity:

Step 1: Establish Evaluation Objectives and Indicators. It is necessary to establish the objectives of your evaluation. They are different from your communication strategy objectives, but will be linked to them. They are indicators of expected changes in knowledge, practices, or health status as the result of your intervention. The following questions will help you develop a list of evaluation objectives:

Step 2: Determine a Research Design. The design should respond to the evaluation objectives. you selected.

Step 3: Analyze Evaluation Results. Analyze the evaluation results based on the key findings, communication objectives, adoption of feasible behaviors, change in knowledge and attitudes, and affect on health status.

Step 4: Make Use of Your Evaluation Data. Use the evaluation results to consider different strategies for the next phase of the health communication program, improve the program, and develop new implementation strategies and direction.
 
 

Implementation Strategies

Strategy 1. Develop an "easy- tto- read" (and implement) field-tested evaluation manual to improve the effectiveness of health communication messages and strategies.

Strategy 2. Train field personnel on the application of communication evaluation techniques and "tools"."

Strategy 3. Identify and select a list of peer evaluation counselors including veterans and service personnel to advise DoD and VA on evaluation strategies and programs.

Strategy 4. Disseminate the results of interagency evaluation efforts to include peer-reviewed literature, conferences, and workshops.

Strategy 5. Maintain an easily accessible electronic clearinghouse of evaluation efforts.

Strategy 6. Develop and support a fFederal health risk communication research program to investigate and recommend improved health risk communication techniques and outcome measures, specifically intended for military personnel and their families.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



Appendix B

PRD/NSTC-5 Interagency Working Group and Task Forces

Interagency Working Group Members


 









Department of Defense

Mr. Gary Christopherson (Co-Chair, Deployment Health)

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs

RADM Michael Cowan, MC, USN (Co-Chair, Deployment Health)

The Joint Staff

Mr. James Reardon (Co-Chair, Record Keeping)

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs

Ms. Norma St. Claire (Co-Chair, Record Keeping)

Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness
 
 

Department of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Michael Baker (Co-Chair, Record Keeping)

Office of the Under Secretary for Benefits

Dr. Timothy Gerrity (Chair, Research)

Research and Development Office

Dr. Frances Murphy

Public Health and Environmental Hazards
 
 

Department of Health and Human Services

LCDR Drue Barrett

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Environmental Health

CAPT G. Bryan Jones

Office of the Secretary

Dr. Max Lum

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
 
 
 
 

CAPT Peter P. Mazzella, Jr.

Office of the Secretary

LCDR Patrick McNeilly

Office of the Secretary

Mr. Christopher Olenec

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Dr. Christopher Schonwalder (Chair, Health Risk Communications)

National Institutes of Health/National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences
 
 

Executive Office of the President

RADM Paul Busick, USCG

National Security Council

Dr. Clifford Gabriel (Chair, IWG)

Office of Science and Technology Policy

Dr. Gregory Henry

Office of Management and Budget

CRD Philip Heyl, USCG

National Institute of Environmental Health SciencesCDR Phillip Heyl, USCG

National Security Council

Dr. Carolyn Huntoon

Office of Science and Technology Policy

Ms. Alexandra Lehr

Office of Management and Budget

Ms. Suzanne White

Office of Management and Budget
 
 








Deployment Health Task Force Members


 








Department of Defense

Lt ColLTCLtCol David V. Adams, NC, USAF

The Joint Staff

Mr. Gary Christopherson, (Co-Chair)

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs

RADM Michael Cowan, MC, USN (Co-Chair)

The Joint Staff

CAPT David Trump, MC, USN

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs

LTG Dale Vesser, USA (Retired)

Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses
 
 

Department of Health and Human Services

CDR Peter Delany

National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse

CAPT Brian Flynn

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration/Center for Mental Health Services

CAPT G. Bryan Jones

Office of the Secretary

Dr. Louis Mahoney

Health Resources and Services Administration

Dr. William Reeves

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Infectious Diseases

CAPT William Robinson

Health Resources and Services Administration

CAPT David Snyder

Health Resources and Services Administration

CAPT Armen Thoumaian

Health Care Financing Administration/

CDR Kevin Tonat/Office of the Secretary

CAPT Armen Thoumaian

Health Care Financing Administration
 
 

Department of Veterans Affairs

Dr. Timothy Gerrity

Research and Development Office

Dr. Susan Mather

Public Health and Environmental Hazards
 
 

Dr. Timothy Gerrity

Research and Development Office

Dr. Frances Murphy

Public Health and Environmental Hazards
 
 








Record Keeping Task Force Members


 






Department of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Michael Baker (Co-Chair)

Under Secretary for Benefits
 
 

Department of Defense

Ms. Norma St. Claire (Co-Chair)

Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness

Ms. Pat Collins

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs

Ms. Marty Hamed

Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness

Ms. Bette Mahoney

Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness

LtCol Mary Ann Morreale

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs

Ms. Nancy Orvis

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs

Mr. James Reardon (Co-Chair)

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs
 
 

Department of Health and Human Services

Mr. Brian Malkin

Food and Drug Administration
 
 








Research Task Force Members


 






Department of Veterans Affairs

Dr. Matthew Friedman

National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Dr. J. Michael Gaziano

VA Medical Center, West Roxbury

Dr. Timothy R. Gerrity (Chair)

Office of Research and Development

Dr. Matthew Friedman

National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Dr. J. Michael Gaziano

VA Medical Center, West Roxbury

Dr. Han Kang

Public Health and Environmental Hazards

Dr. Frances Murphy

Public Health and Environmental Hazards

Dr. Roberta F. White

VA Medical Center, Boston
 
 

Department of Defense

Ms. Christine Eisemann

Office of the Director, Defense Research and Engineering

LTC Charles Engel, MC, USA

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Ms. Christine Eisemann

Dr. John M. Ferriter

Col Gary Gackstetter, BSC, USAF

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Dr. Jack M. Heller

U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine

CAPT K. Craig Hyams, MC, USN

Naval Medical Research Institute

Dr. Anna Johnson-Winegar

Office of the Director, Defense Research and Engineering

Lt ColLTCLtCol James Riddle, BSC, USAF

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs

LTC James Romano, MSC, USA

U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command

CAPT Steven Torrey, MC, USN

Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses

CAPT David Trump, MC, USN

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs
 
 

Department of Health and Human Services

CAPT Michael Alavanja

National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute

LCDR Drue Barrett

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Environmental Health

CAPT Glen Drew

Food and Drug Administration

CAPT Bryan Hardin

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CAPT G. Bryan Jones

Office of the Secretary

Mr. Brian Malkin

Food and Drug Administration

Dr. Sheila Newton

National Institutes of Health/National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences
 
 

Environmental Protection Agency

Dr. Andrew Bond

Office of Research and Development
 
 

Persian Gulf Veterans Coordinating Board

CDR David Edman, MSC, USN
 
 








Health Risk Communications Task Force


 








Department of Health and Human Services

LCDR Drue Barrett

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Environmental Health

Dr. Mary Jo Deering

Office of the Secretary

Ms. Gail Hayes

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Office of Public Affairs

CAPT Bryan Jones

Office of Military Liaison and Veterans Affairs/Office of the Secretary

Dr. Max Lum

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Mr. Jim Mathews

Office of the Secretary

Mr. Christopher Olenec

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Dr. Christopher Schonwalder (Chair)

National Institutes of Health/National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences

Mr. Christopher Olenec

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Mr. Jim Mathews

Office of the Secretary

CAPT Bryan Jones - Director, Office of Military Liaison and Veterans Affairs

Office of the Secretary

Dr. Mary Jo Deering

Office of the Secretary

Dr. Max Lum

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Ms. Diana Swindel

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Environmental Health

Mr. Phil Talboy

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Environmental Health

Dr. Tim Tinker

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

LCDR Drue Barrett

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Environmental Health
 
 

Department of Defense

Dr. Kelley Brix

Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses/SRA International

Ms. Pat Collins

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs

MAJ Andrea Crunkhorn, MSC, USA

Office of the Assistant Surgeon General for Force Projection, U.S. Army

BG John Parker, MC, USA

Office of the Surgeon General, U.S. Army

MAJ Andrea Crunkhorn, MSC, USA

Office of the Assistant Surgeon General for Force Projection, U.S. Army

Ms. Pat Collins

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs

Dr. Kelley Brix

Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses/SRA International
 
 

Department of Veterans Affairs

Dr. Timothy Gerrity

Office of Research and Development

Ms. Kathy Jurado

Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

Dr. Timothy Gerrity

Office of Research and Development

Mr. John Kraemer

Public Health and Environmental Hazards

Dr. Frances Murphy

Public Health and Environmental Hazards

Mr. Donald J. Rosenbloom

Public Health and Environmental Hazards

Mr. John Kraemer

Public Health and Environmental Hazards
 
 

Executive Office of the President

CAPT Philip HyelCDR Phillip Heyl

National Security Council
 
 

Persian Gulf Veterans Coordinating Board

CDR David Edman, MSC, USN

Interagency Support Office
 
 

Environmental Protection Agency

Dr. Frederick Allen

Office of Strategic Planning and Environmental Data

CAPT Alvin Chun

Air and Toxics Division

Mr. Ken Stroech

Deputy Emergency Coordinator

CAPT Alvin Chun

Air and Toxics Division
 
 










Appendix C

Establishment of NSTC/PRD-5

Development of Interagency Plans to Address Health Preparedness for and Readjustment of Veterans and Their Families After Future Deployments President Clinton established the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans= Illnesses on May 26, 1995, to ensure an independent, open and comprehensive examination of health concerns related to Gulf War service. The Committee issued its final report on December 31, 1996, documenting its review of the government=s outreach, medical care, research, efforts to protect against and to assess exposure to chemical and biological weapons, and coordination activities pertinent to Gulf War veterans= illnesses. During the course of the Committee=s deliberations, government efforts to address and to resolve veterans= concerns continued, consistent with respective agencies= missions to provide for the health and welfare of active, reserve, and retired service personnel and their dependents. The issuance of the Committee=s recommendations provides valuable guidance to the Federal gGovernment in reviewing policies and programs and developing a coordinated, interagency plan for minimizing or preventing similar post-conflict health concerns in the future, to the extent possible.

Extensive public review and analysis of Gulf War veterans= illnesses and risk factors have identified a number of opportunities for government action aimed at minimizing or preventing future post-conflict health concerns. Ameliorating, avoiding or, ideally, preventing such health effects can be approached through a variety of means. These include improving service personnel=s understanding of health risk information; enhancing government collection of health and exposure data; coordinating agency research programs; and improving the delivery of health care services to veterans and their families, as could be accomplished by establishing effective linkages between health information systems.

The Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans= Illnesses recommended that the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Adevelop an interagency plan to address health preparedness for and readjustment of veterans and families after future conflicts and peacekeeping missions.@ This directive responds to the Committee=s recommendation. The agencies identified above, and others as appropriate, are asked to review policies and programs and identify relevant actions that may be taken by the Federal gGovernment to better safeguard those individuals who risk their lives to defend our Nation=s interests. Agency recommendations will be reviewed, programs will be coordinated, and the result will be integrated into an NSTC report. In accordance with the Advisory Committee=s proposal, the NSTC report will be submitted for outside expert review.

Agency Rrecommendations are expected to address:

C Health (e.g., stress prevention, treatment, research; medical surveillance adequacy, coordination; interventions for families);

C Outreach and health risk communication;

C Record keeping (e.g., accountability, timeliness, cross-agency coordination, application of new technologies);

C Research (e.g., adequacy, quality, coordination, dissemination of results);

C Biological and chemical weapons preparedness and research;

C Application of emerging technologies (e.g., telemedicine, technology transfer); and

C International cooperation and coordination, especially on research and technology matters.

It is crucial that the lessons from the Gulf War experience be applied in improving protection of troops, responding to health concerns and assisting veterans and their family members through difficult transitions. A comprehensive, coordinated set of interagency plans is necessary to build upon what we have learned and ensure that the burden borne by those who risk their lives and well-being to protect our countryís interests is minimized.

Assessment Contexts

These recommendations should be accommodated within and among the rest of the agencyís budget priorities. Each agency must report on how it intends to accomplish these programs and policies within its budgetary allowances, subject to its resource constraints.

Schedule

The report should be completed and approved by the NSTC by April 21,1998. At that time, it will be submitted to the President=s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and other national experts for review and comment. This process is expected to take approximately 3 months. Another 3 months are allocated for analysis and revision of the plan, after which it will be resubmitted to NSTC.

External Advice

The NSTC may seek advice, in accordance with existing laws, from members of the PCAST, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, and other appropriate representatives of industry, academia, the non-profit private sector, and state governments in preparing the report.

Resources

Agencies shall provide the NSTC with the administrative resources needed for agency review and preparation of the NSTCís report.
 
 












Appendix D

List of Abbreviations


 






Agency for Toxic substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)

Centralized Credentials Quality Assurance System (CCQAS)

Chemical and biological weapons (CBW)

Chemical, Biological, and Radiological Warfare Agents (CBR)

Commanders in Chief (CINC)

Composite Health Care System (CHCS)

Defense Personnel Records Imaging System (DPRIS)

Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS)

Defense Personnel Data Model (DPDM)

Defense Casualty Information Processing system (DCIPS)

Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System (DIMHRS)

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

Department of Defense (DoD)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Global Command and Control System (GCCS)

Global Combat Support System (GCSS)

Gulf War Illnesses (GWI)

Health Enrollment Appraisal Review (HEAR)

Information technology (IT)

Information management (IM)

Interagency Working Group (IWG)

Joint Disability Evaluation Tracking system (JDETS)

Joint Personnel Asset Visibility (JPAV)

Joint Integration Group (JIG)

Master Patient Index (MPI)

Military Personnel Policy Review Committee (PRC)

Military and Veterans Health Coordinating Board (MVHCB)

Military Health System (MHS)

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

National Research Council (NRC)

National Institute for Occupational Safety and health (NIOSH)

National Science and Technology Council (NTSC)

National Academy of Sciences (NAS)

Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)

Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (OASD (HA))

Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD)

Patient Administration Real-time Reporting and Tracking System (PARRTS)

Personal Information Carrier (PIC)

Personnel and Readiness (P&R)

Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC)

Presidential Review Directive (PRD)

Preventive Health Care System (PHCS)

Social Security Number (SSN)

Transportation Command Regulating and Command and Control and Evacuation System

(TRAC2ES)

Under Secretary of Defense (USD)

Under Secretary of Defense Personnel and Readiness (USD (P&R))

Unit Identification Code (UIC)



 
 




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