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Aim Hire: Wellbeing & Being Well

The Air Force prides itself on being ready for anything at a moment’s notice, whatever the contingency. Military readiness is job one, and that applies to ensuring Airmen, Guardians, and their families are at their best in their day-to-day lives and responsibilities.

With this in mind, the Department of the Air Force is implementing the Integrated Prevention Program Workforce (IPPW), a new Department of Defense-wide initiative dedicated to preventing harmful behaviors that can disrupt military readiness, morale, job satisfaction, and personal wellbeing.

During May’s “Aim Hire: Wellbeing & Being Well,” our team does a deep dive into this promising initiative and the tremendous potential IPPW has to enhance military readiness and job satisfaction by promoting proactive interventions that reduce harmful behavior risk factors among individuals, within relationships, and within the organizations where they work.

So, if you’re in public health, family services, or the social sciences, or just a little curious, you’d do well to watch the entire episode of “Aim Hire: Wellbeing & Being Well.” For the highlights, check out the shortcuts below:

3:40 ~ Ginny Westcott introduces herself and describes her role as the Intervention Prevention Program Manager for the Pacific Air Forces, assisting Air Force bases in Japan, Korea, Guam, Alaska, and Hawaii.

6:15 ~ Marissa-Ellen Patterson tells about her role as the Prevention Operations Program Manager for the Integrated Resilience Division, what the position entails, and how it touches upon every Air Force installation across the globe.

8:30 ~ Ginny explains why the Air Force and the Department of Defense have put such a high priority on preventing harmful behaviors early and shares the important history that has informed this critical moment.

10:59 ~ Ginny relates how the findings of a Department of Defense (DoD) Independent Review Commission following a preventable tragedy on an Army base in Texas led to sweeping changes that revolutionized the DoD’s approach to addressing harmful behaviors and how it led to the creation of the IPPW.

12:09 ~ Marissa-Ellen tells how the creation of the IPPW led to the creation of entirely new career fields and dramatically altered previous roles.

13:45 ~ Marissa-Ellen details the qualifications required to become an IPPW professional. It may surprise you to learn you don’t need a degree in social work or counseling. In fact, one of the greatest requirements, she says, is simply having a passion for the work.

14:29 ~ Marissa-Ellen describes the career progression from entry-level to senior-level careers in IPPW and some of the positions AFCS is looking to fill now.

15:54 ~ Marissa-Ellen emphasizes that IPPW are non-clinical positions. Occasionally licensed counselors or social workers apply as clinicians only to learn IPPW doesn’t have a clinical aspect. She refers those interested in the clinical side of the coin to the DoD’s True North Program.

16:41 ~ Ginny describes the differences between the non-clinical IPPW and True North, which is oriented toward licensed clinicians.

18:45 ~ Ginny tells how IPPW oversees the Community Action Team that coordinates activities between all the diverse groups arrayed to promote the wellbeing of Airmen, Guardians, and their families.

20:15 ~ Marissa-Ellen describes how the Department of the Air Force values IPPW for its contributions to military readiness.

21:13 ~ Ginny relates how the Air Force has mastered the response side of addressing harmful behavior and now strives to be equally adept at prevention.

26:08 ~ An audience member asks what role coaching plays in prevention.

27:09 ~ Marissa-Ellen mentions some of the personal and professional development that is available to IPPW professionals.

36:35 ~ Marissa-Ellen addresses a question from the audience about how long the typical hiring process takes.

27:51 ~ Marissa-Ellen shares a few of the things she finds most rewarding about her career.

31:41 ~ Both panelists have a long history with spouses and family in the military, but they suggest you don’t have to have any prior military experience to be a successful IPPW professional.

34:33 ~ A question from the viewing audience asks, “Is there opportunity to work for IPPW at every Air Force base?

39:39 ~ Ginny and Marissa-Ellen provide additional details on remote and telework opportunities and how it often depends upon the position and location.

34:51 ~ An audience member asks what IPPW positions are available at the entry-level.

44:21 ~ The panelists contrast similar private sector jobs to IPPW and offer why they feel IPPW is the better choice.

48:13 ~ Ginny and Marissa-Ellen share their thoughts on the challenges of demonstrating that prevention is effective. After all, how do you show you prevented an event that didn’t happen (i.e., you were successful)?

52:08 ~ Ginny details some of the pioneering new technology IPPW is working with.