“READY AND RESILIENT: Q&A WITH DHAP PM LTC STEVEN J. GANDIA”



Q. HAVE YOU DEPLOYED?
A. I deployed from 2008-2009 to Iraq as the commander of a Medical Company.
I have also been mobilized CONUS quite a bit: 2005-2008 with First Army, and
now since 2013 as the Army Reserve Program Manager for Deployment Health Assessments.
 
Q. WHAT WAS YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT WHILE DEPLOYED?
A. Of course it's hard to say.    But I had a team of medics who responded to a rocket attack away from their duty location and provided first responder care.  They really saved some lives.  They were in the right place at the right time, knew what to do, and did it without hesitation.  You can't be much prouder about your team than that. 
 
Q. YOUR FAVORITE PAST TIME WHILE DEPLOYED? 
A. I worked out quite a bit.  I made a lot of friends in that gym, and got to work out with my troops too.
 
Q. WHAT IS DHAP?
A. How long do I have?  In a nutshell, it's an opportunity for Soldiers who have been deployed to get an evaluation for any medical and behavioral issues they might have.  When I tell Soldiers and Family members about DHAP, I tell them about my "Rules of 3."  It's a series of three physical and behavioral assessments done before Soldiers deploy, when they get back and then again 3-6 months later.  I also remind them what it is not - it isn't a Periodic Health Assessment (PHA) or Soldier Readiness Processing (SRP) and it isn't a Line of Duty Determination (LOD).  That gets the discussion rolling!
 
Q. WHAT HAS ARMY RESERVE LEADERSHIP DONE? 
A.  A couple of days ago LTG Talley signed official guidance to cement DHAP as a command priority across the Reserve.  Medical readiness, mental preparation and emotional strength are all drivers for a good deployment and for our return back from deployment.  Leaders really need to drive this message to their units and explain how the Pre-DHA, PDHA and PDHRA benefit us. 
 
Q. ARE DEPLOYMENT HEALTH ASSESSMENTS (DHAs) PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL? 
A. Yes they are confidential.  We don't share the medical information that comes out of the assessments with the chain of command.  I do remind Soldiers, however, that we all have an obligation to share any issue that limits their readiness with their chain of command.
 
Q. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEONE THAT JUST GOT ORDERS TO DEPLOY? 
A. First - I thank them for their service.  Second, I would tell them to ensure they are honest on their Deployment Health Assessments.  It only works - for the Army, for Soldiers, and especially for Soldier's Families - if they are honest about their answers.  That's why they are confidential.  Third, I always wish them a safe deployment.
 
Q. WHY DID YOU JOIN THE ARMY RESERVE?
A. I really love being a Soldier.  I left active duty in 1998, and had been in the IRR for a few years when the Towers came down.  I knew I couldn't sit on the sidelines any longer.
 
Q. WHAT HELPS YOU STAY RESILIENT?
A. While I am mobilized away from home, things can get frustrating.  What helps me most is when I can talk to my wife.  Maintaining my nutrition and PT routine helps me stay centered.  I also try to make time to play my guitar either by myself or especially with others - it's pretty therapeutic.
 
Q. DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE FOOD? 
A. Again - how much time do we have?  Let's put it this way: I like about anything - except celery.  I hate celery.
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The Deployment Health Assessment Program (DHAP) is dedicated to increase the operational readiness of the Total Army and strengthen the resilience of deploying and redeployed Soldiers and Army Civilians. DHAP provides early identification of emerging deployment related health conditions and serves as a gateway to care and treatment. The goal is to connect Soldiers and Army Civilians with the right care at the right time
 

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