Dr. Daniel Christensen, on screen, Madigan's chief of Soldier Readiness Service, chats with a room full of Telehealth and Technology's Introduction to Telemental Health Delivery workshop participants July 21, 2011. US Army photo
Imagine being a psychologist sitting across from your patient.
Now imagine that patient is actually hundreds of miles away.
The first-ever live Introduction to Telemental Health Delivery Workshop at the National Center for Telehealth and Technology’s, or T2, headquarters on Joint Base Lewis-McChord last week offered guidance to providers on offering mental health services from a distance — in this case, using videoconferencing technology.
“The (Department of Defense) is pushing for this form of care because it’s a way to reach a lot of people who otherwise wouldn’t get care,” T2 clinical health psychologist Dr. Greg Kramer said.
Kramer was one of the all-day workshop’s presenters. About 25 health care professionals from every military branch attended the training, some coming from as far away as Japan. The idea was to build a knowledge base so that clinicians can provide care even when their patient is too far to get to.
Doc Bender on top of the Ziggurat of Ur in Southern Iraq, in February 2009. (DCoE photo)
Dr. James Bender is a former Army psychologist who deployed to Iraq as the brigade psychologist for the 1st Cavalry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Hood, Texas. During his deployment, he traveled through Southern Iraq, from Basra to Baghdad. He writes a monthly post for the DCoE Blog on psychological health concerns related to deployment and being in the military.
I’m sometimes asked about how the brain responds when exposed to stressful situations, like being in combat or intense training. Think about that first Airborne jump or testing for military combatives. Your brain has one main reaction to stress, whether that stress comes from being shot at during a combat deployment, asking someone out on a date, or any other situation where you’re scared or anxious. Knowing how the human brain responds to stress is helpful for military training. Not only is it good to understand how your brain operates under intense conditions, but also understanding the importance of physical fitness and psychological fitness in your ability to handle all aspects of a demanding mission is important.
One of the first parts of your brain to be affected by stress is the prefrontal cortex (PFC), which is the “smart” part of your brain that plans tasks, predicts outcomes, controls behavior and directs attention. Unfortunately, the PFC generally shuts down during intense stress, impairing these functions. Under stress, you stop paying attention to parts of your environment that are most relevant to completing your goals and start paying attention to things that are loud, brightly colored or moving, but not necessarily helpful in achieving your mission. In a firefight, you might pay very close attention to the pop of a weapon but completely miss a small alley that can lead to an escape.
Holly Schnelbach, science teacher at Palmer Ridge High School, launches her rocket during the STEM boot camp June 27-29 at the Air Force Academy. The camp taught high school teachers about the entire U.S. space mission and each built and launched their own rocket. Courtesy Photo| United States Air Force Academy
The U.S. Air Force Academy recently hosted a boot camp for math and science teachers.
This boot camp didn’t involve push-ups, though.
Instead, it focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. The goal is to provide training and motivation to K-12 science and math teachers that they can pass on to their students.
The STEM boot camps provide teachers with hands-on learning labs for classroom use. They don’t leave empty-handed: All teachers receive GPS units and software, and some take home robots and other kits.
With a deafening blast, Rakkasan mortarmen from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division fire a 120 mm mortar system during the brigade level training, Sept. 29, 2007 at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. The rounds' targets were far behind the hills in the distance. U.S. Army Photo by Pvt. Mary Gurnee
Troops out in the field, wearing heavy battle rattle and carrying their weapons, will soon have lighter mortar systems in their arsenal.
Mortar crews have started receiving new lightweight 60mm mortar systems that are approximately 20 percent lighter than previous versions. The Program Executive Office for Ammunition fielded the Army’s first M224A1 60mm Lightweight Company Mortar Systems to 1st Special Forces Group in Fort Lewis, Wash., last month.
Eventually all former legacy M224 systems will be replaced with the new lightweight systems.
Dr. Bernard Reger is an engineer at the US Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) located at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ. He is the lead for Business Planning and Development at the Armament Software Engineering Center, a CMMI Maturity Model 5 rated life cycle software engineering center, responsible for development, management, and sustainment of our Soldiers’ software intensive systems.
Picatinny recently received a patent for the process to train Soldiers to operate robotic vehicles, such as the Talon and PackBot, using a virtual operator control unit within a virtual environment, based upon the “America’s Army” interactive videogame. Courtesy photo.
Tron. It was 1982 and the world watched as Kevin Flynn was sucked into his computer by a laser pointed at his back. We watched the laser scan and pull him into the computer. For the next hour or so, Flynn battled his way through a computer generated world. Like most computer ‘geeks’ of my generation, I was captivated. ‘Programs’ were beaten in disc games and de-rezzed, but they were only computer generated. I was so looking forward to buying my own person sucking laser.
Time moves on and we all grow up. First I go to Binghamton University (Binghamton, NY) and get a degree in Physics. Then it’s off to get my Masters and PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University (Evanston and Chicago, IL).
Fast forward to the present: I am an engineer at the Armament Software Engineering Center at the U.S. Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ. The challenge: our Soldiers in Explosive Ordnance Disposal (that’s mil-speak for bomb squad) use state-of-the-art robots, such as Qinetiq TALON and iRobot PackBot, to disarm or destroy explosive devices placed by our enemies. Soldiers want to practice on the robot as much as possible before they are tasked on a mission with life or death consequences, but most of them are already being used and aren’t always available for training. (more…)