HILL AIR FORCE BASE — In an effort to help Airmen sustain the high levels of fitness and performance necessary to execute their missions and maintain operational readiness status, the 75th Medical Group has stood up an Operational Support Team, or OST.
The OST is a small group of medical support staff who rotate through squadrons, working to improve fitness routines, enhance workplace health and safety, and build relationships within the unit to make health care more accessible.
“Our strategy is to maximize readiness by optimizing mission and human performance via systemic risk mitigation strategies and utilize evidence-based interventions for both physical and mental health directly into the operational environment,” said team lead Kevin Egger, 75th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron.
Egger said the team will provide mental and physical resilience with the goal of increasing mission availability by preventing psychosocial and physical injuries related to military duty. They do this primarily by focusing on prevention, and creating individual or group efforts that help to prevent disease or injury before it occurs.
The team has the capacity to offer a variety of educational or skills classes and offers coaching that is tailored to a unit’s mission requirements. Some examples might be related to resiliency, sleep hygiene, work-life balance, relationships, and stress decompression.
The team is currently embedded in the 75th Logistics Readiness Squadron, a unit identified as being high risk and in need of the team’s coaching. They will be with the squadron anywhere from three to six months, then will rotate to a new squadron.
“By being embedded directly into a squadron, we have the opportunity to offer agile and responsive support to our warfighters – a type of concierge preventative medicine,” Egger said.
Hill is one of several bases to have begun implementing the OST squadron embedment. Each year, 15 additional installations will be launching programs, with a final goal of approximately 75 Air Force installations having a designated OST.
“OST embedded medical care model represents significant shift in the AFMS healthcare delivery system, with significant potential to maximize readiness and mission capability,” Egger said.
Once all positions are fulled, the team will consist of the team lead, physical therapist, a strength and conditioning coach, a psychologist, and a social worker. In addition to Egger, the team includes Joseph Ryan Castro, strength and conditioning coach, Dr. Brian Diiorio, physical therapist, and Jacquelyn Contant, registered dietitian.