SAN DIEGO - Amphibious transport ship USS San Diego’s (LPD 22) Health Promotions and Wellness Committee (HPWC) held their annual health fair and blood drive at BAE Systems San Diego Shipyard on August 13.
“The health fair was established to enhance San Diego’s operational readiness by promoting health, fitness and mental wellbeing, to enable each crewmember to achieve their personal best,” said LT Jennifer Griffeth, San Diego’s health promotion officer. “It gives Sailors and Marines an opportunity for active participation in improving their lifestyles.”
With the help of Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD), Fleet and Family Support Center, and Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit (NEPMU) 5, the event focused on tobacco cessation, alcohol abuse awareness, oral health, sexual health, stress and suicide awareness, male and female self-examination, exercise and nutrition.
“We’re trying to promote general health and wellbeing throughout the ship and throughout the fleet,” said Lt. Guillermo Perez, San Diego’s medical officer.
While some of these subjects are regular concerns in everyday life, others pose a greater challenge while San Diego is participating in an extended maintenance period in the shipyard.
“One of the challenges while we’re in the yards and while some of us are working longer hours and different schedules is staying in top physical health,” said Perez. “We have to put more effort into eating right and working out instead of doing what’s convenient, and we’re trying to remind people and promote healthy practices while we’re here.”
A blood drive lead by volunteers from Naval Medical Center San Diego’s Mobile Blood Bank was also part of the fair.
“A major goal of our annual health fair is to encourage Sailors and Marines to donate blood, all of which goes directly to other service members,” said Griffeth. “This year we set up the Blood Drive in front of the entrance to the fair, enabling us to promote face to face with every member attending. As a result over 75 members volunteered to donate, 23 of which were accepted and considering this was a small Health Fair this year due to the yard period, this was a great success!”
Armed forces blood donations are of great importance for medical reasons but also because all of the blood used in armed forces medical facilities are provided by military personnel and their family’s donations.
“Blood drives are always important, there’s always a short supply of blood,” said Perez. “We don’t always see it here in the shipyard, on the pier, or even in the fleet, but the blood that’s donated helps Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines recover from injuries and surgeries both at military hospitals and in combat zones.”
The event was capped off with a raffle sponsored by LPD 22’s HPWC with health and fitness related prizes donated by the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Committee, including fitness trackers, a blender and fitness apparel and accessories.