TAMPA, FL and BREMERTON, WA — Since TRICARE, the Department of Defense (DoD) health care program for active duty and retired members of the uniformed services, their families and survivors, introduced the Heroes of TRICARE program five years ago, nearly 200 nominations have been received resulting in 26 Hero Salutes.

The MacDill Air Force Base Health and Wellness Center (HAWC) and Naval Hospital Bremerton's Health Promotions Teams (NHB) recently earned the awards. The DoD selected both based on their involvement with the 2005 TRICARE Conference theme, “Fit for Life: Healthy Force, Healthy Families,” which stresses responsible alcohol use, tobacco cessation and weight management.

The MacDill HAWC partnered with the installation to hold a Do Not Drink and Drive event for more than 300 people. To better promote tobacco cessation, the HAWC expanded its class schedule and incorporated the use of electronic behavior modification devices designed to help smokers quit without medication. In support of its Eat Smart — Play Hard program, the team provided weight management information, screenings and advice for more than 700 attendees of a HAWC-sponsored Fit Stop community health fair. The HAWC also assisted Air Mobility Command to obtain grants for obesity assessment, the president's fitness challenge and Fit-Stop, the diabetes health fair, cholesterol education and deployment fitness, all of which enabled beneficiary access to more than 450 health and wellness intervention classes.

The NHB Health Promotions Team also promoted a variety of initiatives toward tobacco cessation, along with supporting the Ship Shape program to help sailors and Marines adopt successful strategies for nutrition, exercise and stress management in order to meet physical readiness standards. Their Why Weight program provides education on menu planning, shopping tips, recipe modifications, relapse prevention and exercise, while the Heart Smart workshop focuses on cholesterol and blood pressure management. The team also promotes alcohol cessation through classes for Substance Abuse Rehabilitation program participants and staff, and provides such classes for the Mental Health Clinic's Outpatient Crisis Intervention program.

Heroes are featured on TRICARE's Web site at www.tricare.osd.mil, and selected heroes are featured on posters for display at meetings, at the recipient's workplace, and at the Assistant Secretary of Defense Health Affairs and TRICARE Management Activity offices.