JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —
Providing nutritional care and quality food to patients is the mission for members of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s nutritional medicine clinic.
“We provide nutritional care for inpatients and outpatients, feed the hospital staff, offer training and one-on-one meetings, and work to increase our patient outreach,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Sheriah Colcleaser, 673d Medical Support Squadron Nutritional Medicine clinic noncommissioned officer in charge.
The Nutritional Medicine clinic can help with weight management, healthy eating options, developing realistic life skills and more.
“We aim to deliver the best possible care through our various programs and by tailoring services to each patient,” Colcleaser said. “Our team builds patient repertoire and walks them through nutrition choices to help inspire them to make positive changes.”
Training and classes are offered to teach patients how to maintain overall health for specific needs as well. Some examples are a prenatal nutrition class, heart healthy and health promotion.
Nutritional Medicine also hosts classes with the Behavioral Health clinic which include healthy pediatric lifestyle, bariatrics and an eating disorder class.
With constant change, the clinic adapts and implements new programs to better support patients. One of those programs is the base Operational Support Team.
“The plan is for OST to embed with squadrons to better discover and understand challenges related to the career,” said Air Force Capt. Jeffery Perry, 673d MDSS Nutritional Medicine clinic registered dietician. “By embedding with units, the team will be able to develop and implement healthy nutritional changes. It will allow OST to address challenges right at the unit level.”
A major focus for the OST is to enhance the mission execution through improved health and wellness.
The recommended team will include a clinical psychologist, a social worker or Behavioral Health clinic noncommissioned officer, physical therapist, and an athletic trainer. A human performance integrator will also work to ensure units are connected to appropriate helping agencies while a human performance information manager will handle the data.
While creating positive adjustments, the clinic often faces challenges along the way.
“For us, the main challenge we run into is the constant shift in manning,” Colcleaser said. “With temporary duty assignments, training and deployments, manning can be challenging. Thankfully, we have a great team that works together to overcome any obstacle.”
Outside of the obstacles, the clinic has success stories which validate the dedication each member puts into promoting readiness and community wellness.
“My most meaningful success story was of a patient who had to be referred to the Mental Health clinic,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Travis McAdams, 673d MDSS Nutritional Medicine clinic diet technician. “Following the referral, she went from a BMI of 33 to a healthier BMI of 25. The story is my favorite because the patient was able to safely lose weight and Nutritional Medicine and the Behavioral Health clinic were able to successfully partner to provide the best possible care.”
The clinic consists of two active-duty registered dieticians and roughly 20 diet technicians who provide care to active-duty members, dependents, retirees and veterans.
Personnel can schedule an appointment at the clinic with a referral from their provider or by self-referral.
The clinic is located in the basement of the JBER hospital near the main elevators and dining facility. For additional information on classes and programs offered, call (907) 580-4310.