Secretary of the Army John McHugh Visits T2 and Kicks the Tires
One of the challenges of developing innovative military health applications is trying to anticipate what will appeal to both the boots on the ground and senior leaders. Here at the National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2), we coordinate frequent focus groups and several studies to help keep current with service member needs. But today was a landmark day in terms of receiving senior leader feedback: The Secretary of the Army (SecArmy) John McHugh paid T2 a visit.
Preparing for the SecArmy visit reminded me of how my children prepare for playdates – they want to make sure they get a chance to show off every single special toy. It was the same for our team. We’re excited about all of our initiatives, but recognized that this meeting required a small tasting menu rather than a buffet.
We discussed T2’s work in mHealth, clinical telehealth, virtual reality, suicide prevention, and outcome research. Secretary McHugh was an excellent audience; his questions reached right to the center of the issues and demonstrated his respect for service members. Throughout the visit, the SecArmy questions and comments trended along the themes of:
- Building resilience
- Economic stewardship
- Sustaining military families
I especially appreciated Secretary McHugh’s emphasis on reaching service members who don’t usually seek treatment due to stigma. It reflects his understanding of the tension between producing excellent programs and making sure that our target audience will actually feel comfortable using them.
Following Secretary McHugh’s visit, I’m left with the sense that our work matters, but only as much as we can share it broadly with the entire DoD community. I thank the SecArmy for his honest feedback, his obvious passion for his work, and his kind remarks about our program.
And, like any good playdate, we parted friends. I’m just hoping he comes back soon, because we have *lots* more toys to show off!