DOD builds health library for deployed troops

Deployment Health and Family Readiness Library

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The Defense Department has set up an online library to help service members, their families and health care professionals understand the wide variety of health risks that come with deployments overseas.

The new Deployment Health and Family Readiness Library offers information on diseases such as anthrax and malaria that travelers to exotic locations might encounter.

The library also has information on health risks that are unique to combat deployments, including exposure to depleted uranium used in high-powered cannon rounds and possible toxicity that could result from exposure to oil well fires.

The library offers health guides to countries and regions worldwide, highlighting potential diseases and preventive measures to combat those diseases.

The library, developed by the DOD Deployment Health Risk Communication Working Group and the Joint Task Force for Family Readiness Education on Deployments, draws its material from a number of military health and environmental organizations including the DOD Deployment Health Support Directorate, the Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, Naval Environmental Health Center, and the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center.

The new Web site also deals upfront with mental problems that can result from combat stress, a sharp change for DOD, which in previous wars, has ignored the issue.

The library recognizes mental problems in clear and unambiguous terms, such as in a video by Capt. Jennifer Berg, chairwoman of the psychiatry department at the Naval Medical Center San Diego, titled, “Combat Stress: Normal Reactions to Abnormal Conditions.”

Other combat stress information on the Web site includes a pamphlet titled “Just the facts….Stress and Combat Performance," and a “Reintegration Roadmap,” which was designed to help service members and their families after their return from Iraq deployments.

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