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DoD Deployment Health Risk Communication Working Group

Founders of the Online DoD Deployment Health and Family Readiness Library

Collaborating DoD and Military Service Organizations
  • DoD Force Health Protection & Readiness Programs (FHP&RP)
  • DoD Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC)
  • US Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (USACHPPM)
  • US Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC)
  • US Air Force Institute for Operational Health (AFIOH)
  • Military Vaccine Agency (MILVAX)
  • DoD Military Community & Family Policy (MC&FP)
  • National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI)
Personal & Family Readiness Sub-group Organizations
  • Joint Task Force for Family Readiness Education on Deployments (FRED)
  • Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS)
  • Military OneSource 24/7 Call Center (1-800-342-9647) (MOS)
  • National Military Family Association (NMFA)
  • National Guard Bureau (NGB)
  • DoD Reserve Affairs (RA)
  • Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD)

On March 15, 2004, Dr. William Winkenwerder, ASD for Health Affairs, established the DoD Deployment Health Risk Communication Working Group. Its purpose is to rapidly develop and disseminate Tri-service Health Risk Communication products and messages to Health Care providers and Service members. Dr. Winkenwerder felt it was important for all the Services to speak with a "single voice" on health-related messages and also to target Service members, their families, and Health Care providers with risk communication messages and products specific to their needs.

The DoD Deployment Health Risk Communication Working Group has worked to address four specific areas pertaining to deployment health-related information needs of Health Care providers, Service members/veterans, and families.

  1. Development of consistent health risk communications messages and products within DoD for multiple audiences.
  2. Standardize flow of high quality messages and products across the Services.
  3. Archiving of health risk communication messages and products for future use.
  4. Creating universal access to the messages and products by Health Care providers, servicememebers/veterans, and families.

To increase efficiency and timeliness, the working group created a secure ‘File Management Collaboration and Discussion Forum’ on the internet. The password protected website allows for the working group members to post product drafts, revisions, and messages for other working group members. The website, while still undergoing enhancements, has shown to be an effective resource for minimizing email traffic, ensuring internal message consistency, improving increasing editorial review efficiency, and developing final products.

Once the final products are complete they are posted onto a public web site where they are available for universal access. The public website, the Deployment Health and Family Readiness Library was launched August 2005. It provides Service members, families, veterans, and Health Care providers a way to find the deployment health information they value as well as information on family readiness and preparedness for situations and events specific to their situation. Users can browse and search numerous topic areas, such as family issues, infectious diseases, Health Care issues, stress, radiation, exposure prevention and more.

Topic Nomination Process
User Input
  • Working Group members, health care providers and public affairs officers are encouraged to host and attend town hall meetings, focus group sessions, usability tests, family support group meetings and other direct customer interface sessions to gather requirements for health risk and family readiness public information product development. Site users are encouraged to identify areas of interest and concern.
  • Topics gathered from such groups and activities are submitted to the Chairpersons for discussion and action planning by the Working Group.
Topic Development, Work Priorities and Deadlines
  • Based on factors such as the status of military operations, scope/severity of health threats, public perceptions, and frequency of similar recommendations from different user groups, priorities for addressing information needs are set by the full Working Group via telephone conference call or face-to-face meetings.
  • As a first step, a search for existing public information materials that can answer user requirements is conducted. If found, this information is posted to the online Deployment Health and Family Readiness Library with data owner permission. If an appropriate resource can’t be found or does not exist, a new product may be developed using the Working Group's approved "Fact Sheet" template and development process.
  • The overarching goal is to answer user questions quickly and accurately using official, trustworthy, scientific data sources. Development deadlines for new materials development deadlines are set according to organizational mandates, topic and user needs, and other requirements. Generally, once user questions have been posed and researched for each topic, it takes one to two days to complete and post a first draft Fact Sheet document.
  • Subject matter experts are used to develop each writing project approved by the Working Group for development. At least one Working Group member serves as the Lead Agency's representative to oversee writing project development and quality control. This person is responsible for ensuring that all participating agencies have the opportunity to review each version of the document as it moves through the development process and that the final form is finally endorsed by each participating agency.
Vetting and Approval Processes
  • Force Health Protection & Readiness Programs shall provide an online Collaboration and Editing Suite for use by Working Group members and content researchers, writers, editors. This suite shall be used to post and access drafts of all working documents in progress.
  • FHP&RP provides a Working Group Administrator to ensure the smooth daily operations of this suite and to provide training and support to Working Group members, who use it to review, edit and approve documents in development. This Administrator establishes and monitors document production deadlines, and sends electronic reminders to Working Group members when their comments and approval are needed.
  • Generally, three versions of a document emerge until the final draft is created. Working Group members are given deadlines by which they must review each version, coordinate them throughout their agencies for further comment, and submit recommendations for changes prior to the time that final draft status is reached.
  • Once each agency’s final revisions have been addressed on the third draft version, the Working Group Administrator declares the final version. If there are disagreements among Working Group members, the DoD Chairpersons for the Working Group negotiate identified issues and make final decisions regarding such things as content wording, tone, graphics, photos, layout, resources/references, links, etc. These issues are important for acceptance by each participating agency since organizational culture, structure and language can vary.
  • Final form is generally reached and published online within one to two weeks of the first draft depending upon complexity and sensitivity of the topic being addressed.
  • Working Group members have veto power if the final product is deemed to be unacceptable to their organization or would have a negative impact on their target audiences.
  • Final products shall be approved by the Working Group as a whole for public release via the online Deployment Health and Family Readiness Library and their partner organization, the Deployment Health Clinical Center’s website,
  • Once the final product is placed online, the Working Group's Marketing Collaborative and individual Working Group members are free to promote the availability of the product to target audiences, the press and other agencies.
Roles and Responsibilities
Working Group Co-Chairs
  • Convene Working Group meetings and teleconferences to facilitate the new materials production, review and approval processes.
  • Take the lead in identifying and providing training and support to subject matter experts from appropriate agencies who can serve as researchers, writers, and editors.
  • Establish and manage suspense dates for each writing project.
  • Seek and coordinate graphic and technical support as needed.
  • Resolve issues or conflicts between participating agencies and Working Group Members.
  • Notify Working Group members when products are finalized and encourage them to promote the availability of each new product that is made available via the Deployment Health & Family Readiness Library.
Lead Organization (for Each Writing Project)
  • Provide a brief purpose statement and outline for each writing project to the Working Group.
  • Recommend the project priority level and monitor throughout the development process.
  • Once approved by the Working Group, prepare first and subsequent drafts of the document based on review and comments from Working Group members.
  • Prepare and coordinate the final draft.
  • Advise the Working Group Co-Chairs when final status has been reached.
Working Group Members
  • Assist in identifying lead organizations, subject matter experts, researchers, writers and editors. Serve in these roles as appropriate.
  • Attend Working Group meetings and participate in scheduled teleconferences.
  • Review and comment on writing projects by established deadlines. Use the Collaboration and Editing Suite to make changes and post new versions for each project if changes are warranted.
  • Serve as liaison between the working group and your individual service organization, consolidate internal service organization’s revisions on writing projects, and work with internal subject matter experts, researchers, etc., to identify issues the working group should address.
  • Help promote the availability of writing projects once approved and posted for public access via the Deployment Health and Family Readiness Library.