The best of the federal blogosphere

'Ancient Chinese secret’ goes mainstream; TSA employees in trouble; Farm-fresh blogging; Visiting the floods.

‘Ancient Chinese secret’ goes mainstream
Armed With Science blog
science.dodlive.mil

Military field physicians are using acupuncture, a medical technique that originated in ancient China, to treat mild brain injuries and some cases of post-traumatic stress disorder, writes Carla Voorhees in the Defense Department’s “Armed With Science” blog.

The treatment is part of a joint Navy/Marine Corps effort, called the Operational Stress Control and Readiness Program, Voorhees writes. It includes embedding psychiatrists and psychologists with combat teams in Afghanistan.

“The program trains medical officers, corpsmen, chaplains, religious personnel and key leaders at the sergeant and first sergeant level to deliver basic mental health services,” she reports. “Troops also have the option to see physical therapists, occupational therapists, and acupuncturists at an outpatient concussion center to address physical and emotional impacts of combat-related injuries.”

Acupuncture is recommended as a supplementary therapy for PTSD, anxiety, pain and sleeplessness in the Veterans Affairs Department’s most recent clinical guidance. “The VA is even recruiting candidates for a formal study of acupuncture’s effectiveness on PTSD” and mild traumatic brain injury, Voorhees reports.

TSA employees in trouble
TSA blog
blog.tsa.gov

Some Transportation Security Administration screeners could lose their jobs over malfeasance, writes Nico Melendez on the TSA blog.

TSA had been investigating the employees, who work at Honolulu International Airport, and determined that some of the checked baggage presented to the employees on one specific shift was “purposefully improperly screened.”

As a result, TSA sent proposed letters of removal to more than 30 employees, including two managers, Melendez writes. An anonymous commenter explained that “proposed letters of removal” means the employees are not yet fired. They will remain on paid administrative leave until they have had a chance to appeal.

“We have a serious job to do, and anyone who is not doing that job will be held accountable,” Melendez writes. “Our country, our agency and the flying public deserve no less.”

Farm-fresh blogging
GSA blog
gsablogs.gsa.gov

The General Services Administration wants to help turn some government-owned property into farmers’ markets at least one day a week, writes George Prochaska, regional commissioner of the Greater Southwest Region at GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service.

In a post on the GSA blog, Prochaska cites Agriculture Department figures showing that the number of farmers’ markets in the United States has grown from about 2,000 in 1994 to more than 6,000 today. In partnership with USDA, GSA is preparing a guide for people interested in opening a farmers’ market on federal property.

“So why visit a farmers market? Because eating locally grown foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, promotes good health and helps support local farmers,” Prochaska writes. “It’s also an opportunity to reduce your personal environmental footprint. Buying fresh food that hasn’t traveled far cuts down on harmful greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, you’re supporting your community’s economy by supporting local farms.”

GSA’s involvement goes deeper than writing a guide, he adds. “In Atlanta, GSA’s Southeast Sunbelt Region launched the Midday Market at the Sam Nunn Federal [Center], a fresh produce stand offering more than 70 varieties of fresh, organic, and often locally sourced fruit, vegetables, nuts and honey,” Prochaska reports.

Visiting the floods
USDA blog
blogs.usda.gov

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Karis Gutter, acting deputy undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services at the Agriculture Department, have visited flood-ravaged areas of the nation recently, writes Eric Redden of USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

Gutter visited Mound City, Mo., and Hamburg, Iowa, “to hear from local producers, and to see for himself the devastating effects of the flooding,” Redden writes in the USDA blog.

Redden’s entry focused on the aid available for farmers who suffered damage in the floods. “In the wake of these disasters that have affected the Midwest, USDA and the entire federal family have been working with state and local officials to provide relief to residents, farmers, ranchers, businesses and those who need it most,” Redden writes.

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