Assessing Fitness: TVA Protecting Health of Those
Who Protect Nation’s Nuclear Program
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Tenn., which operates three nuclear plants that generate 6,700 megawatts of electricity each day, has made protecting the health of those who protect these high-security locations a top priority. Over the past few years, the TVA has created a program that not only assesses the health of its workforce, but helps personnel on the road to fitness and wellness.
Back in 2009, Nuclear Security management asked TVA’s Nuclear Medical Services to develop a physical-fitness testing program to address changes made by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for nuclear security officers. The Medical Services team, led by Dr. Brenda K. Sowter, senior physician, Employee Health, Nuclear MRO [medical review officer] and SAE [substance abuse expert], Tennessee Valley Authority, oversaw the creation and implementation of the program.
Sowter, who is board certified in family practice and addiction medicine, developed the entire pilot program based on the MicroFit system, which is a comprehensive fitness assessment lab system with ergonomic bike and treadmill testing protocols that are monitored and controlled by MicroFit’s HealthWizard software. ...
FIRST RESPONDER FITNESS
Inside Tactical Training: From Police to SWAT, Fitness Guru Jay Dawes Breaks It Down
For a closer look at physical training for first responder communities, Government Recreation & Fitness (GRF) caught up with Jay Dawes, Ph.D., assistant professor of strength and conditioning, University of Colorado — Colorado Springs (UC-CS) who has been working closely with law enforcement communities, including Police and SWAT, for almost a decade, helping them develop optimum fitness standards and programs. When he is not behind his desk at the university, you can find him low-crawling through high grass in sweltering triple-digit temperatures with SWAT teams to get a better idea of the physical challenges that these professionals must endure to do their jobs. But it is all in the name of health and fitness, which is his love and passion.
GRF: I understand that you are currently working with the Colorado State Police. Can you please share with us some of that work?
Jay Dawes: Yes, and it is a really exciting project right now. I am meeting with the Colorado State Patrol to talk about developing fitness standards with a focus on creating minimum fitness standards and requirements. At first, we were looking at injury rates and trying to correlate that back to fitness; trying to see if we can draw some relationships between injury and performance on the different fitness tests. We want to be able to say that in order to do this job and be more resilient, we recommend that you are within these fitness levels or ranges.
We have been looking at injury rates over the past few years. and found that the cadets who were injured, and would go on altered duty, or even exit the academy, were significantly less fit than the ones who made it through. So that was our initial thrust. Instead of trying to prove how good you need to be to be an officer, with the cadets especially, the focus should be on what you need to be able to do to get through the initial academy training successfully. ...
President Obama’s proposed FY 2017 budget of $182.3 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides funding increases that will continue to support the largest transformation in VA history; expand access to timely, high-quality health care and benefits; and advance efforts to end homelessness among veterans.
“VA has before it one of the greatest opportunities in its history to transform the way it cares for our veterans who nobly served and sacrificed for our nation,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “As we work to become a more efficient, effective and responsive, veteran-centric department, we can’t do it alone; we need the help of Congress. This year, VA submitted over 100 legislative proposals, including 40 new proposals to better serve veterans. Our goal is provide the best care to our veterans, while removing obstacles or barriers that prevent them from getting the care they deserve.”
The 2017 budget continues the largest department-wide transformation in VA’s history through the MyVA initiative, which is changing VA’s culture, processes and capabilities to put the needs, expectations and interests of veterans and their families first. MyVA has developed five objectives fundamental to the transformation of VA:
– Improving the veterans’ experience;
– Improving the employee experience;
– Improving support service excellence;
– Establishing a culture of continuous performance improvement; and
– Enhancing strategic partnerships.
To aid in this transformation, the department established the Veterans Experience Office (VEO). The VEO will represent the voice of veterans and their families in Departmental governance; design and implement customer-centric programs to make interactions with VA easier; and support VA’s “mission owners” in carrying out MyVA improvements across the system. ...