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USAREC Office of the Command Psychologist receives Uhlaner Award for Excellence

By Andrew Lynch 6th Medical Recruiting Battalion

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The Office of the Command Psychologist (OCP), United States Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) received the Society of Military Psychology’s Julius E. Uhlaner Award on Friday for their initiative to improve the effectiveness of the assessment for Soldiers being considered for or assigned to recruiting duty.

The award was accepted by Lt. Col. Craig M. Jenkins, former USAREC command psychologist, and Lt. Col. Joseph H. Afanador, current USAREC command psychologist at a ceremony held during the American Psychological Association (APA) Annual Convention for 2018. Jenkins is currently the command psychologist for U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence.

“When this project began, we identified a need to improve the assessments of Soldiers selected to recruiting duty,” said Jenkins. “Through partnerships with Human Resources Command (HRC) and U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM), our program resulted in innovations in the selection of personnel to recruiting duty, which has significantly impacted USAREC’s ability to recruit future Soldiers and sustain America’s Army.”

In 2011, using findings from a USAREC and Public Health Command study to research an increased suicide rate in 2007 and 2008, OCP developed and piloted a recruiting candidate initiative to improve assessment and selection.

Soldiers selected for USAREC face unique stressors compared to other assignments. These include working outside of their designated military occupational specialty (MOS), not having in-garrison resources readily available, and having limited access to evidence-based treatments.

OCP implemented training of behavioral health providers on the unique factors that impact the recruiting environment. Presently over 70 locations and 1,700 providers have been trained around the world.

“This program has led to a decrease in the number of Soldiers recommended for dismissal at the Recruiting and Retention college by 86 percent and decreased the drop rate for behavioral health reasons from five to .04 percent,” said Afanador.

Through USAREC’s partnership with HRC and MEDCOM, better qualified candidates are being sent to the field and there has been a 27 percent decrease in the number of Soldiers who experienced difficulty adjusting to the recruiting environment.

The OCP team was comprised of a talented number of individuals over the last five years located at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Without their incredible skills and abilities, this project would still be ongoing today, said Jenkins.

Members of the OCP, USAREC Assessment and Selection Team from 2013-2018, include:

·         Lt. Col. Craig M. Jenkins, Ph.D.

·         Lt. Col. Raymond McClenen, Psy.D.

·         Maj. Chaska Gomez, Psy.D.

·         Dr. Stephen Fitzgerald

·         Ms. Sarah Brown, D.S.W., LCSW

·         Mrs. Ildiko Andino, M.S.

·         Ms. Gail Owen

·         Ms. Linda Putman, M.S.W.

The Office of the Command Psychologist is comprised of uniformed and civilian psychologists, behavioral health technicians, instructor-coaches, and administrative support staff. OCP provides support to USAREC on strategic issues which impact leader development, the human dimensions of performance, and behavioral health issues. They directly advise the USAREC Commanding General, command staff and subordinate commanders on the human dynamics of self-awareness, environmental impacts, performance under pressure, effective communication, force wellness, and reintegration issues.

The Julius E. Uhlaner Award is named after the late Julius “Jay” E. Uhlaner, Ph.D., former Army Research Institute (ARI) technician and chief psychologist of the U.S. Army who left a lasting legacy through his leadership and research achievements in applying psychology to military problems. In 1976, he received the Presidential Award for Management Improvement from President Gerald R. Ford for his work at ARI. He subsequently received a Lifetime Achievement award from Division 19 (Military Psychology) of the American Psychological Association in 1995.

The Society for Military Psychology is one of the original 19 charter divisions established by the APA in 1945. The Society for Military Psychology seeks to serve as the premier organization for military psychology. Society members include a growing network of psychologists and other social scientists who are united by their interests in applying psychological principles to a broad range of issues related to global security, peace and stability, and to improving the lives and well-being of millions of men and women who serve in the armed forces and defense agencies of nation’s throughout the world.

The Army offers a wide selection of medical careers in Active Duty and Reserve to include Clinical Psychologists and Social Workers. For individuals interested in any of more than 90 career opportunities, visit http://healthcare.goarmy.com online.