WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio —
“Excellence in all we do” is a core Air Force value. Excellence can encompass a myriad of things, including work ethic, training and education, and even maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is the duty of every Airman to be the best he can be.
Active duty airmen have long had fitness and weight standards to keep them combat ready. Although civilians do not have the same demands, maintaining a robust civilian force is essential since the Air Force’s most important asset is its personnel.
“Priorizing the health of our civilian force is key to the success of the Air Force mission,” said Lt. Gen. Carl E. Schaefer, deputy commander of Air Force Materiel Command.
That’s why the Civilian Health Promotion Services Program, or CHPS, was created in 2006. Because of its huge civilian workforce, the program grew out of AFMC, which is now the program’s administrator at the CONUS scale.
CHPS started with on-site teams performing health screenings and educational workshops. They work closely with other base entities including the Fitness Center, Health Promotions, Employee Assistance Program, and Military OneSource to reduce redundancy and make the best use of resources. CHPS also serves as a communications platform, directing users to support agencies when needed.
“The multi-faceted program has been so successful within AFMC that management has approved its expansion throughout CONUS,” said Katie Doyle, CHPS Program Manager.
The first pilot outside of AFMC was with Air Mobility Command in 2018, with on-site teams located at 13 facilities. The most recent development, last February, added 16 additional offices on site which are now operational.
The growth enables virtual health and wellness benefits for facilities with smaller populations of civilian employees, as well as periodic visits from a CHPS travel team to provide in-person services.
Between visits, some of the most popular themed courses, such as stress management and nutrition, have been recorded and are available on the CHPS wellness portal—USAFwellness.com
The portal, which also has a handy mobile application, is a great asset for anyone who needs round-the-clock advice. Users can perform a health risk assessment and, since the app is location-based, can enter a local calendar of events.
“Can’t sleep at 3 am?” Tune into a recording on the portal with tips for closing your eyes,” Doyle said.
The portal was updated the fall before the pandemic hit, just in time to provide the virtual help Airmen needed most. Some recent campaigns have included preventing burnout, fighting loneliness, losing weight, and promoting healthy relationships. The app also links to Apple Watch, Fitbit and other tracking wearables so data can be added to the fitness mix.
“Our wellness web portal is a great asset,” Doyle said. “People can use tracking tools and participate in activities to help them facilitate lifestyle behavior change.”
The CHPS is primarily a civilian resource, but active duty members can also use it. The team tries to identify at least one person in each unit to lead communications for further dissemination. Portal users receive targeted messages on topics of interest.
“CHPS has proven to be a valuable asset to AFMC personnel and is now reaching civilian Airmen and Guardians through CONUS,” Schaefer said. “This physical health resource promotes a culture of health and demonstrates a commitment to our workforce. This has a significant impact on their lives, both in and out of the workplace.
If you or your team are interested in CHPS health and wellness services, contact the program office at [email protected]. Locate the app on the Apple App Store Where google play and search for “Motivation Alliance”. Download the free app and enter USAFwellness.com as the platform.