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Public Health: Taking care of Airmen

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Taking care of Airmen and their families is the most important line of effort Tyndall has. One flight here plays a vital role in keeping those Airmen and their families safe from disease, and fit for the fight.

Public Health keeps base population healthy to perform the Air Force mission by providing communicable disease prevention, force health, environmental protection and industrial hygiene.

“I believe this flight is very beneficial to Tyndall in many ways," said Master Sgt. Russell Thomas, 325th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Public Health flight chief. "So many people get complacent in their daily living, and we are here to help them get a better understanding about their health, as well as health in general.”

This flight of 15 public health professionals is broken down into two sections; force health management and community health. As a whole, they work closely with Bay County to help diagnose diseases.

Force health management has their hand in a lot of things including occupational health, deployment medicine and public health assessments.

The community health portion helps with sexually transmitted diseases, rabies and tuberculosis prevention and more.

“We help as many people as we can on and off base because we want to make sure that wherever an Airman or their family members go is to a healthy environment,” said Tech. Sgt. DeSean Jones, 325th AMDS community health NCO in charge.

“We also make sure that all schools are safe environments for their children, food at the commissary is safe to eat, and that their overall health is maintained," he added.

One program Public Health runs is the travel medicine program.

"When civilians, active-duty or whoever, decides to take a vacation, we can give them a medical briefing tailored to the location they are going to," said Jones. “This helps them prepare for where they are going. This is huge for our office because we are educating, not just military members, but our local community as well.”

Educating Team Tyndall on health issues is something that the professionals at Public Health take pride in.

“We use resources available to the public in educating them before they find themselves in harm’s way when it comes to their health," said Thomas.

Some of these resources are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, informative flyers, and the Public Health office.

“We try to do our job to the best of our abilities,” Jones said.

“If we are doing our job, everybody is healthy,” Thomas said. “A lot of the time people won't recognize what we do, but we understand how important it is, and seeing the mission get accomplished means a lot to us."