Medical Operations Squadron: More than just primary care

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Douglas Odegaard
  • 509th Medical Operations Squadron
When our beneficiaries think of the 509th Medical Operations Squadron they think about our primary care mission; providing our patients with outstanding health care. Our squadron provides the Whiteman Air Force Base community with more than just primary health care. The Medical Operations Squadron is an eclectic mix of professionals that provides more than just family health care, specialty care clinics, dental care, and aerospace medicine. Many beneficiaries don’t know about the incredible job many of our professionals do to make their day-today lives safer and healthier.

A little known area of our squadron is our Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight. Bioenvironmental provides many protective services to our community to include regular water vulnerability assessments that test for lead and other contaminants in the public water sources utilized on the installation. They accomplish regular Radon testing in buildings to ensure levels are safe for occupation. Other services provided are air sampling and respiratory gas mask fit testing, noise surveillance, and x-ray radiation testing on equipment. They are also responsible for identifying, evaluating, and testing all base lasers, base static displays for radiation, and the Hazard Communication (HAZCOM) program that provides chemical awareness. Bioenvironmental also provides the installation with an emergency response team to respond to chemical spills, as well as biological and radiation accidents or threats.

The Public Health Element is charged to protect our community through oversight of base health programs and surveillance of installation facilities. Public health performs all of the food service inspections on base, to include where food is prepared, by ensuring that food is prepared in a clean environment, maintained at required temperatures, and served in a safe manner. They also perform regular food vulnerability assessments that help determine proper facility sanitation and security. Other services provided by public health include infectious disease control programs, disease surveillance and mitigation actions, animal bite control, sexually transmitted infection prevention programs, community health and outreach programs at schools, influenza prevention campaigns, medical entomology and pest surveillance.

The Family Advocacy Program is very engaged with our military community and provides many outreach programs that are available to both active duty and dependent patients, and are intended to protect and strengthen our families. Our New Parent Support Program provides in-home assistance to expectant mothers and/or families with children from 0 to 3 years old. Other outreach programs include parenting classes, pre-marital and marital counseling, family communication counseling, stress management classes, tobacco cessation workshops, sleep hygiene support, weight loss motivation classes, and domestic abuse victim advocacy. The Mental Health Clinic also provides an alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment program that helps our beneficiaries’ battle dependency issues.

The Medical Operations Squadron has many aspects to provide as healthy and safe environment for our Airmen and their families.