By Vice Adm. C. Forrest Faison III
Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
As Navy surgeon general, my number one priority is keeping you – our Sailors and Marines – and your families healthy. Our Navy is the most highly-trained, highly-specialized, and highly-educated force we have ever had in our nation’s history. Each of us is important to our mission. More so than ever before, it’s critical we maintain our health and readiness, today and tomorrow, so we can accomplish our Navy’s mission.
In part, Navy Medicine we are entrusted to provide you the best care our nation has to offer. We honor that trust by making sure you are healthy and on the job. We will continue to do this in 2016 by focusing on health not health care – but we need your active participation in order to succeed. As we start the new year, I encourage each of you to become a partner in your health and commit to living a healthy lifestyle. By making that commitment, you can help prevent health problems before they occur.
There is no better time than now to think about the ways you can improve your readiness by improving your health. Today, I want to focus on three ways you can take action: physical health, resilience and healthy behavior choices.
First is physical health. If you lack physical health the readiness of your unit or ship is at risk. You can start making steps to improve your physical health today by remaining active and making smart nutrition choices. Try to get at least thirty minutes of activity every day. You can also reach and maintain a healthy weight by combining physical activity with a well-balanced diet.
The second focus area is resilience. As Sailors and Marines, we know first-hand that resilience is a critical component of our ability to remain on the job and sustain high performance. Family resilience is also important, because we can’t focus on our jobs when there are distractions at home. Take proactive steps to improve your psychological health. Recognize when it’s necessary to ask for help for yourself, a family member, or a shipmate. Know that it’s okay to ask for help.
The third way you can improve readiness is committing to healthy behavior choices. It is already challenging to maintain readiness without engaging in unhealthy behaviors. If you smoke, set a quit date. We’re there to help. Stay alive: plan ahead when drinking to keep what you’ve earned. It is critical that you remain mission-ready in 2016 and beyond. Lifestyle changes, such as quitting tobacco or drinking responsibly, can go a long way in keeping you and your family healthy, ready, and on the job.
Your health impacts the Navy and Marine Corps mission above the sea, below the sea, on the sea, and on the battlefield. Make your health a priority and take the steps to become a partner in your health in 2016, making health and wellness a part of your focus on readiness this year. Navy Medicine is invested in your health; we have the tools and resources to help you achieve your health goals.
As you make the commitment to be a partner in your health, know that Navy Medicine is there to support you. I look forward to continuing to honor and fulfill the trust you and your families have placed in Navy Medicine, and I wish you a happy and healthy new year.