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U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity

USAMMDA Addresses Exhaustion

Maj. Mabel Salas
Maj. Mabel Salas, product manager for the USAMMDA Office of Quality Management, with a poster created by her daughter, which was her inspiration for the Stress Free program. (Photo: Erin Bolling, USAMMDA Public Affairs)

Stress, exhaustion and fatigue are important concerns to address, as it can affect one's personal and professional life. The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity is committed to providing a positive work environment for all of its personnel, and has developed the Stress-Free Zone workshop to address these concerns.

Col. William Geesey, commander of USAMMDA, reviewed annual command survey results and determined that workplace exhaustion is a concern worth addressing.

"We spent some time looking at the issue to include sensing sessions with different groups and no clearly identifiable single cause emerged," said Geesey.

Maj. Mabel Salas, product manager for the USAMMDA Office of Quality Management, also serves as the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer. Salas was tasked by Geesey to develop a solution to address the issue. The proposed solution was a series of stress free lunch and learn workshops. Each month a 30 minute scheduled activity focused around stress reduction, relaxation tips and improving the overall health of the workforce will take place.

"Everyone is invited to these sessions and our intent is to have regular monthly prioritizing for 30 minutes of our health," said Salas. "It is a luxury to have these events here at USAMMDA. The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life at work and extend it into our homes. It would reinforce our relationships, our self-esteem, our productivity and most of all our personal satisfaction that we are doing the right thing for ourselves. It is conducted at lunch time so all personnel can attend."

USAMMDA worked with the Barquist Army Health Clinic and the U.S. Army Fort Detrick Garrison to utilize resources from the Family Advocacy Program, which assisted with providing support for the program.

Previous workshops include an "Exhaustion or Burnout" session with Clarissa Darr, aBAHC psychiatric nurse practioner, who provided recommendations about getting enough sleep and exercise; eating a healthy and balanced diet; participating in enjoyable activities; accessing spiritual, cultural or religious resources of recovery; and enhancing fellowship within the unit.

The second workshop in the series was on the topic of living a healthy lifestyle presented by BAHC Psychology Technician Claudia Clemmings.

The series also held an iYoga session, facilitated by Joan Twigg, an iRest Yoga Nidra certified teacher. iRest Yoga Nidra, is a research-based transformative practice of deep relaxation and meditative inquiry that releases negative emotions and thought patterns, calms the nervous system and develops a deep capacity to meet any and all circumstances you may encounter in life. iRest Yoga Nidra is currently being practiced in Veterans Affairs hospitals, military bases and medical facilities, hospice, homeless shelters, community programs and schools.

Most recently in February, Cindy Hurd, a BAHC social worker, led a mindfulness-based stress reduction session that focused on living every single day as the best day of your life.

"The command's priority is readiness and we want to improve the well-being, enhance the cohesion, increase productivity and esprit de corps of the team," explained Salas.

These sessions are planned to continue through July 2016. The next session on resiliency and stress is scheduled for March 25.

Last Modified Date: 06/22/2017