TAMPA, FL and BREMERTON, WA—TRICARE, the Department of Defense health care program for active duty and retired members of the uniformed services, their families and survivors, saluted MacDill Air Force Base Health and Wellness Center (HAWC) and Naval Hospital Bremerton’s Health Promotions Teams (NHB) as “Heroes of TRICARE” for their commitment to promoting healthy choices.

TRICARE chose the heroes based on their involvement with the 2005 TRICARE Conference theme “Fit for Life: Healthy Force, Healthy Families.” The theme stressed promoting 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, and to better promote tobacco cessation, the HAWC expanded their class schedule and incorporated the use of electronic behavior modification devices designed to help smokers quit without medication. In support of their “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. On their Web site, the HAWC conducted an awareness campaign on the link between alcohol and sexual assault and an online weight management class with information and interactive links to assist users. 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, enabling 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, including development of a tobacco cessation handbook; placement of cessation material throughout the military and local community; using the “Adopt a Smoker,” “Quit Kit” and “Bring a Smoker to Breakfast” programs to support “The Great American Smokeout;” introducing a “Getting Ready to Quit…Again” workshop; and starting a secondhand smoke awareness campaign “Blow Bubbles, Not Smoke,” in partnership with the Kitsap County Tobacco Coalition. The Naval hospital also supports 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 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. To nominate a hero or for more information go to http://www.tricare.osd.mil

Visit the April 2005 news archive for more news stories.