In order to perform at your peak, it’s important for service members to be physically and psychologically healthy . To maximize the health readiness of the U.S. military, the Defense Department implemented a multi-step health assessment process for personnel deploying around the world. This three step process enables service members to take control of their physical and psychological health by identifying any health challenges that may arise throughout the deployment cycle.
If you or a loved one will be deploying, this article may provide answers to some of your questions about the deployment health assessment process, including why it is important to provide honest feedback to your health care provider.
The deployment health assessment program was designed to maintain and improve the readiness, fitness and well-being of military personnel before, during and after deployment. The program can help health care providers screen, identify, evaluate, and refer you for treatment.1 By participating in the health assessment program, you have an opportunity to take control of your health by speaking with a provider and learning about the health care and community services that are available to you.
If you are an active duty service member or a member of the National Guard or reserve, and will be deploying outside of the U.S. to locations without a fixed medical treatment facility for more than 30 days, you are required to complete health assessments pre- and post-deployment. Deployments of less than 30 days may still require you to complete a deployment health assessment program at the discretion of the combatant commander, service commander or commander exercising operational control.1
The program includes the pre-deployment health assessment, post-deployment health assessment (PDHA) and the post-deployment health reassessment (PDHRA). Figure 1 shows the entire deployment health assessment cycle and indicates when each assessment takes place in relation to deployment.
Incorporating psychological resilience skills into your everyday life can help you cope with stress experienced throughout the deployment cycle and reintegration process. Read the Real Warriors Campaign article, “Build Resilience to Maximize Mission Readiness ,” for tips and resources on developing psychological resilience.
By completing all three assessments, a health professional can help you identify, track, evaluate and resolve any physical or psychological challenges or concerns you may be facing. Identifying health and readjustment concerns early can help you resolve challenges that could – if left unattended – negatively affect your deployment status, career or personal health.7
Army Maj. Gen. David Blackledge was physically and psychologically wounded by explosions during two different tours to Iraq. After returning home, he started to experience nightmares and instances of rage that seemed to come from nowhere. Maj. Gen. Blackledge sought care from a medical professional and was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder. Hear him tell his story of reaching out for care and support for psychological health concerns in the Real Warriors Campaign podcast, “Creating New Norms of Care .”
Each step in the deployment health assessment process requires self-reported data, including demographic and health information, and an interview with a health provider. It’s important that you’re honest with yourself and your health provider so that health concerns can be addressed early. Early intervention greatly assists successful treatment, and can benefit yourself, your family and your unit.
For additional information about the deployment health assessment process or any of its components, visit PDHealth . PDHealth is a product of the Deployment Health Clinical Center and provides information on deployment health and health care for service members, veterans, their families and health care professionals.
1 “Deployment Health ,” [PDF 229.47KB] Defense Department Instruction 6490.03. Published Aug. 11, 2006; Certified current Sept. 30, 2011.
2 “Post-Deployment Health Reassessment Program – PDHRA ,” Human Resources Policy Directorate. U.S. Army. Last accessed Sept. 20, 2012.
3 “Why Do I Need All three Assessments ,” [PDF 731KB] United States Air Force Medical Service. Last accessed Sept. 20, 2012.
4 “Enhanced Post-Deployment Health Assessment (PDHA) Process DD Form 2796) ,” Deployment Health Clinical Center. Last accessed Sept. 20, 2012.
5 “Post-Deployment Health Reassessment (PDHRA) Program (DD Form 2900) ,” Deployment Health Clinical Center. Last accessed Sept. 20, 2012.
6 “Post-Deployment Health Reassessment (PDHRA) ,” [PDF 149.19KB] Force Health Protection and Readiness Policy and Programs. Published January 9, 2006.
7 “FAQ for Service Members ” The Post-Deployment Health Reassessment, Force Health Protection and Readiness Policy and Programs. Last accessed Sept. 20, 2012.