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Hawaii Psychological Association
For a Healthy Hawaii
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The Psychologically Healthy Workplace 

15th Medical Group, Hickam Air force Base 
2005 Award Winner: Military Unit Category

The 15th Medical Group has approximately 225 employees, and most are in the Air Force. Their task is to manage the healthcare needs of over 14,000 people and in time of war to insure that the active duty members are fit to fight and ready to deploy. Of the people they serve, 38% are active duty, 52% are dependents, and the remainder retirees. The Medical Group has to deal with special circumstances and conditions including considerable stress when deployment to combat zones can occur at any time. In their work with their patient population there is the same level and source of stress. The 15th Medical Group has put together an admirable program to keep their workplace healthy at all levels.

      The upper management (Command) works as a strong leadership team representing all the various disciplines of the medical group: physicians, dentists, nurses, public health, pharmacy, medical technicians, safety, and administration.

      Safety is awarded high priority from environmental hazards to environmental preservation of their historic site, from ergonomics to physical fitness. Mental health is also a primary concern. Personnel are given annual training in violence prevention and management, and de-escalation techniques for potentially dangerous situations. Suicide prevention is a specific goal and is highlighted every year also. Personnel are taught to be on the lookout for warning signs and know how to connect troubled colleagues with resources to help.

      Because the population has to be among the fittest of the fit, there is awareness in the 15th Medical Group of the problem of identifying and adequately treating mental health problems. The Life Skills Center is a mental health facility staffed by two psychologists and a social worker designed to promote a positive image and avoid any stigma with the idea that someone might need help. Physical fitness is also a priority.

      The Group recognizes the role of fatigue in creating and maintaining problems and works hard to alleviate it by promoting adaptability. There is a relaxation room that personnel are encouraged to use. Morale and job satisfaction are boosted by many team-building and involvement activities for the personnel. There are social gatherings, sports teams and tournaments, participation in a very wide range of volunteer events, a booster club, an annual holiday party in a hotel in Waikiki, and more.

      In addition there are incentive and recognition programs for excellence in the work arena and members of the 15th Medical Group have received many individual and group awards.

Hawaii Psychological Association
P.O. Box 833
Honolulu, Hawaii 96808
ph: (808) 521-8995

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