Fort Belvoir Community Hospital is consolidating more than a dozen health services under the umbrella of an Armed Forces Wellness Center, according to Col. Vanessa Meyer, chief, Occupational Therapy.

“The Wellness Center provides community-based programs and services that improve and sustain the health, performance and readiness of Service members of all branches; their family members; retirees and DoD civilians delivered by highly trained professionals,” Meyer said. “Personnel provide body-composition and metabolic testing, fitness testing, or VO2 Max, stress management and biofeedback along with health and wellness coaching.”

The website, at https://home.army.mil/belvoir/index.php/about/Garrison/headquarters-command-battalion/fort-belvoir-army-wellness-center, details all of the services and contact information available, including:

Health assessment review

• Analysis of a patient’s risk for disease

• Wellness questionnaires to determine Service members’ fitness for duty

• Biometric screening that’s a general health check that identifies any cardiovascular or nervous system problems

Physical fitness

• Exercise testing offers VO2 peak/max testing for respiratory system diseases

• Exercise prescription for master fitness trainer groups and occupational therapy

Nutrition

• Metabolic testing measures the rate the body burns calories and uses oxygen.

• Weight management offers specific nutrition advice for medical conditions and athletic performance

• Healthy nutrition education

Stress management

• Education through social work helps manage issues and medical concerns affecting everyday life

• Biofeedback helps patients learn to control functions, like heart rate

General wellness education

• Healthy lifestyle habits assures Force Health Protection and responds to emerging health threats

• Wellness coaching helps with goal-setting, using mental imagery and optimal healing

• Good Sleep Habits at the Sleep Medicine Clinic diagnosis and treats adult sleep disorders.

Tobacco education

• Tobacco-free Living is a four-week program; no consult is required

Nicole Leth, Belvoir’s AFWC lead health educator, is setting up a temporary location in Occupational Therapy on Belvoir Hospital’s River Pavilion, second floor. She is very excited about the October launch of consolidated services there, with a larger, dedicated space to open late this year that is, ironically, behind Dunkin’ Donuts. She said knowing what to do is a start, but many people need help taking that next step toward holistic health.

“I think, in general, most of us know what to do – that the apple is a better choice than the pizza. It’s a matter of reframing things for people, and then helping them understand the things that are preventing them from achieving their health and wellness goals,” Leth said. “I think that is (MDW commanding general) Maj. Gen. Jones’ priority, because he sensed this need, and having all these services consolidated is such a tremendous value. I appreciate his passion for health and wellness, and his understanding of how important these services are for Service members, their families and the civilians who support them.”

Leth said a bod pod is already enroute, for precise body composition readings, and along with biometric screening, can provide anyone keys to improving health. She said there is intention in removing wellness from the clinical setting.

“Wellness centers were designed to be a 1-on-1 tool, and we sit with you and figure things out. People can come in regularly – you don’t need a provider referral, and we help you where you are at, and help you get after your goals.

“A lot of issues, like height/weight, and passing the new PT test can be intimidating when your job is on the line. Sometimes, we avoid height and weight issues at the start, but instead begin with stress management. Let’s do some metabolic testing and targeted calorie goals to help you realize you can do this. We give you tools to help you feel empowered.”

Leth is passionate about nutrition and health, and is already going remote to work units on post, to improve overall health. She can be reached at Nicole.e.leth2.ctr@mail.mil or stop by Occupational Therapy on the second floor of the hospital’s River Pavillion.