JBER hospital, 673d Medical Group host ‘Girl’s Night Out’|
Posted 9/20/2012 Updated 9/20/2012
by Chris McCann
JBER Public Affairs
9/20/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaksa -- Mary Poppins once said "a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down."
Snacks, gift bags, manicures, and spending time with other women can make women's health appointments less stressful.
The 673d Medical Group and the JBER hospital hosted a "Girl's Night Out" Tuesday, with only female technicians and providers doing mammograms and women's health exams from 5 to 7 p.m.
Caryse Harrell, wife of Col. Thomas Harrell, commander of the 673d MDG, arranged an event about six months ago. Since she was out of town, a group of other medical group spouses executed this one.
"Everyone donates their time," sad Janine Wolfe, wife of a 673d Inpatient Squadron nurse. "We coordinated appointments, food and time. It's open to every woman on base, it's truly a joint function."
The last time, 16 women made appointments. On Tuesday, 54 did. Organizers said they hope to see that number grow.
"A lot of women have male primary care managers," said Cathy Billman, whose husband is a general practice manager. ""This can be a more comfortable environment."
Traci Payne, an Army spouse, got one of the early appointments.
"I have four kids," she said. "This is absolutely the best. It's a one-stop shop."
Air Force Capt. Elizabeth Combs, said she liked the after-duty-hours availability. "I work full time," she said. "Having it after hours is really nice."
Tyresa Burkhead, a women's health clinic medical technician at the hospital, does nail art in her free time, and volunteered to give manicures after appointments.
"I did it last time," she said. "They were trying to find someone to do nails, so I said 'I can do that.'"
The event - which organizers hope to do twice a year - is important, Burkhead said.
"Early detection [of problems] is the best," she said. "However we can help, we will. We may have saved a life."
Female providers from the women's health clinic and family health all pitched in.
Airman 1st Class Lindsay Auchey is a medical technician with the 673d Surgical Squadron and a native of Gettysburg, Penn. She volunteered to work the extra time.
"It's motivating, as a young Airman, to get involved in this kind of thing," she said. "Volunteering is important."
"I like to help out whenever I can," said Airman 1st Class Hannah Clendening, another technician and a native of Goodlettsville, Tenn. "The provider asked me for help, so here I am."
"It's an awesome thing to do for women - annual appointments are stressful, and preventive care can help catch things early."
Word went out through friends, family readiness groups, and word-of-mouth.
"My FRG told me," said Samantha Williams, an Army spouse, who was waiting to get her nails done. "It makes it a lot more comfortable with female health care providers - it's nice."
"It's been absolutely successful," Billman said. "Compared to the first, it's 125 percent. We have a good group of women here, talking and sharing experiences."
Several women found the event so helpful, they plan on sharing the idea at new installations when they change duty stations.
"These appointments aren't fun," Wolfe said. By making an evening of when women can relax, "we're trying to make it more fun."
Army Maj. Dana Riegel, a plans officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, U.S. Army Alaska, was enthusiastic.
"It's great to come in and get something that's not so fun mixed with something that's really fun. And coming in after hours, I don't have to worry about going back to work. It's my first time in this clinic - everyone's so nice, and it's a beautiful place."
For information about the next event, contact the clinic at 580-1305.