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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Military healthcare programs use social media to connect

The Military Health System (MHS) has launched a Social Media Hub on the MHS web site,, providing a “one stop shop” for its social media accounts.

MHS is a partnership of medical educators, researchers and healthcare providers. The Department of Defense enterprise includes the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs; the medical departments of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Combatant Command surgeons and TRICARE providers.

Located at, the MHS Social Media Hub includes accounts from a variety of MHS entities including the Office of Health Affairs, TRICARE, Force Health Protection & Readiness, and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

The MHS maintains active accounts on several social networking services including Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, MySpace, TroopTube and YouTube as part of a push to engage more of the individuals it serves—the 18- to 24 year-olds who comprise a large portion of the more than 1.4 million troops on active duty.

The Twitter feed has already shown impact with MHS stakeholders. According to a DOD release, Debbie Hendrix, an Army spouse with an autistic son relocating to Fort Bliss, Texas, was in search of autism resources in April of this year on Twitter. MHS used its Twitter profile, @healthdotmil, to provide Hendrix with autism information at Fort Bliss within hours. Hendrix subsequently penned an entry about living with her son’s autism to the MHS blog, located at

This month, the MHS is also asking service members and their families to refer five friends to the MHS Facebook fan page so they can keep up to date about military health news and resources.This fan page can be found via the MHS Social Media Hub.


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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 

As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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