Mindful living with the 509th MDG

  • Published
  • By Alicia Ferris-Dannenberg, Registered Nurse
  • 509th Medical Group

What is your role within the MDG?  I am the Health Promotion Coordinator.  My role within the MDG is create a culture in which every AFMS medic is a Health Promoter.  Outside of the MDG my role is to demonstrate the art and science of helping individuals, commands and the military community improve their health-related behaviors and outcomes.  I like to foster a culture and environment that values health and wellness; empowers individuals and organizations to lead healthy lives, improve the health, mission readiness and productivity of the military community. 


How long have you been involved in this type of work?  I have been a Registered Nurse (RN) for over 34 years.  I am also a Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist for over 17 yrs.  I used to be the Exercise Physiologist here at Whiteman AFB in 2005 and at Offutt AFB in 2006 when the HAWC (health and wellness center) existed.  I have taught extensively on health, wellness and exercise throughout my career.  As a RN I have taken care of the sickest of patients and realized that there is a better way to live life then to live it from a chair or a bed when disease/illness prevention is possible. 


Can you describe/list the programs and resources available to Team Whiteman to help them lead more mindful/healthy lives? Currently we are offering Pre-Diabetes class once a month and 28 Days to a Better Belly to assist with weight and health management.  We also offer classes on nicotine cessation. Our classes are advertised on our Facebook page (WAFB Nutritional Medicine and Health Promotion) or call 687-1199 for more information.  We can meet the needs of a squadron or an individual with various resources regarding sleep, exercise, nutrition and nicotine.  Our tools cover: 

We have a Registered Dietician who sees patients who are referred by their medical provider as well as self-referrals. 


Why is it important to make healthy eating choices? How does this type of mindfulness impact people? (Physically, emotionally, mentally etc)  Some people may not be aware that your stomach is your second brain.  There are nerves that connect directly from the gut to the brain which means if our nutrition is poor or our digestion is lacking overtime our mental and physical health can suffer which can ultimately affects us emotionally and spiritually. 


Why is it even more important for military members to make mindful choices?  First and foremost, you only have one body and it has to last you a lifetime.  As a military member, you are extremely valuable to the people of this country to perform expertly at all times, during stress, during war.  Only a well-tuned body can be ready and stay ready to go to the fight and finish it.  The military member needs to remember that they are seen as part of the top 1% elite wartime fighters.  The rest of us cannot say that.