Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Religious support team deploys to help frontline healthcare workers

Two military personnel, wearing masks, standing against a wall The Religious Support Team from the U.S. Army Reserve’s 785th Medical Detachment – Combat Operational Stress Control Unit, comprised of Army Capt. Ian Olson, left, chaplain, and Army Sgt. Steven Burns, religious affairs specialist, provide spiritual and personal support to the service members deployed as part of the Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Jan. 13, 2021. (Photo by Zachary Mott, 88th Readiness Division.)

Recommended Content:

Spiritual Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Who cares for those who care for us?

For the military medical providers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the answer to that question is, in part, religious support teams.

In Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a team of two soldiers from the U.S. Army Reserve’s 785th Medical Detachment – Combat Operational Stress Control Unit, 330th Medical Brigade, 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support), are providing support to the nurses and respiratory therapists augmenting the civilian hospital here.

The two-person religious support team (RST), comprised of Army Capt. Ian Olson, chaplain, and Army Sgt. Steven Burns, religious affairs specialist, were called to active duty to support the Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force (UAMTF). Their first assignment was to provide services covering the spectrum from spiritual guidance to friendship in Eau Claire.

“I think the RST is to this deployment as life preservers are to people on a cruise ship,” Olson said. “Just knowing that we’re here brings comfort. Knowing that there is support, I think, brings a sense of ease. So though we may not have a lot of direct contact with the providers, just our presence is helpful.”

Starting in early December, Olson and Burns have been working closely with the Behavioral Health Support Team from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, to develop ways to assist and provide support to the military medical professionals working with the civilian hospitals in western Wisconsin.

“We’ve had to be creative and find time to interact with them,” Olson said. “Before and after shift we hang out in the hotel lobby to catch them. I’ve gone to the hospital a few times on day shift to meet with our providers to see how they’re doing, if they have any concerns, what the stressors are, how the mission is going for them, as well as working with behavioral health putting on activities.”

While they work with the medical support teams, Burns is quick to point out that he and Olson are just doing the jobs they were trained to do.

“I think this is about credit, I think it should go to the medical team,” he said. “The medical team is the one that has that PPE (proper protective equipment) on 12-hours a day where one mistake and they could get sick. They’re the ones that are on the front lines.”

In civilian life, Olson works as a chaplain at a hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When he received the call from the 807th MCDS Deputy Command Chaplain, Army Lt. Col. Timothy Stansberry, he explained that he was sad to leave his civilian hospital team, but excited to be able to provide his services during a time of need.

“You don’t know when you’re going or where you’re going so just be in the moment,” Olson said. “Don’t get ahead of yourself, just be in the mission at hand. We still have a team here to support until people get on flights.”

Chaplains with the specific “7 Romeo” designator were specifically selected for these missions. The 7 Romeo additional skill identifier means hospital chaplain. This ASI requires that a chaplain complete four units of clinical pastoral education – with each single unit requiring 400 hours – as well as a residency, followed by a two week Army combat medical ministry course.

“Having that training on both the civilian side and military side, I think RSTs on this COVID-specific mission are well prepared to address any issues that might emerge,” Olson said.

Because the nature of the COVID-19 response by the UAMTFs continues to change and evolve by the day, Olson and Burns were called to move to a different site in California where they will continue to provide religious and personal support to the teams there.

“In (Los Angeles) County, I think our work will be more critical,” Olson said. “I think the stress on our providers, depending on the location, will increase which will give us the opportunity to really do what we’re trained to do. We don’t hope for it, but we are absolutely prepared to provide that stellar spiritual care.”

The location may be changing, but for this Religious Support Team their mission remains the same.

“As is the mission for the chaplain corps, we are support,” Olson said. “We support whether we’re in an infantry unit or a field artillery or medical, the chaplain corps is here to support the rest of the fighting force.”

You also may be interested in...

Navy secretary visits hospital ship Mercy in Port of Los Angeles

Article
4/2/2020
Image of man getting his temperature taken by service member wearing a mask.

Mercy deployed in support of the nation’s COVID-19 response efforts, and will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

From the front lines to the home front, Military Medicine is always ready

Article
4/1/2020
Army Lt. Gen. Ron Place and two soldiers stand at a table with COVID-19 testing supplies

Military medicine is providing assistance in unprecedented ways

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Pharmacy Guidance for Market MTFs

Publication
3/31/2020

Message to Pharmacy Beneficiaries regarding military pharmacy services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Pharmacy Division | TRICARE Health Program

Tiered Telehealth Health Care Support for COVID-19

Publication
3/31/2020

This memorandum establishes guidance for the use of Telehealth (TH) Information Technology (IT) tools in support of the clinical care required for patients across the spectrum of COVID-19 illness

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Public Health | Coronavirus

Possible changes at MTF pharmacies in response to COVID-19

Article
3/31/2020
A military pharmacist choosing medication from a shelf

Find out the latest pharmacy policies at MTFs

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | TRICARE Health Program

Meeting Italian COVID-19 requirements, Army reopens dining facility

Article
3/31/2020
Picture of chef preparing food

The dining facility is fully operational, even providing food deliveries to people in quarantine

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

Coping with the stress of social distancing

Article
3/31/2020
Image of person alone in room

How to navigate the COVID-19 outbreak

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Psychological Fitness

Policy Exception for Telehealth Use for ABA during COVID-19 Pandemic

Publication
3/30/2020

Communication to ABA Providers Regarding Temporary Authorization to Utilize Telehealth for CPT Code 97156 During the COVID-19 National Emergency

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | TRICARE Health Program

Q & A: Policy Exception for Telehealth Use for ABA during COVID-19 Pandemic

Publication
3/30/2020

Question and Answer: TRICARE Autism Care Demonstration (ACD): Regarding Temporary Authorization to Utilize Telehealth for CPT Code 97156 during the COVID-19 National Emergency

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | TRICARE Health Program

Defense Health Agency takes action against COVID-19

Article
3/30/2020
Image of medical worker  putting on gloves and a mask

From call centers to hospital reform, the Defense Health Agency is working quickly to keep citizens safe from the novel coronavirus

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

MHS Minute Combatting COVID 19

Video
3/30/2020
The MHS Minute, Special Edition: COVID-19

Agencies across the federal government are partnering up to combat COVID-19. Find out how the Military Health System is doing its part to support the U.S. response to this pandemic, while ensuring our Service members remain ready.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

USNS Comfort to join New York's COVID-19 fight

Article
3/30/2020
Reservists in camouflage uniforms stand in line to check in

The Comfort is 70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity to the people of New York, said Trump

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus

Military scientists, engineers develop ventilator prototype in response to COVID-19

Article
3/27/2020
Dr. Andrew Schicho, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division mechanical engineer, led one of the five teams by building a ventilator prototype in support of the Department of Defense Hack-a-Vent Innovation Challenge. (U.S. Navy photo by Eddie Green)

The team decided that building ventilators was how they serve the best at a time like this.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

200 new doctors, nurses to join military medical ranks early

Article
3/27/2020
Military medical professionals take their oath at their graduation from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences during a ceremony in Washington, May 18, 2019. More than 200 USU military medical students and graduate nursing students will be graduating early in 2020 to support their colleagues in the U.S. military health system amid the global coronavirus pandemic. (DoD file photo)

Military medical students will be graduating early to support the Military Health System amid the coronavirus pandemic

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Nurses Week

In a COVID-19 world, pace yourself to stay resilient and avoid burnout

Article
3/26/2020
Kelly Blasko, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and the lead for mobile health clinical integration at the Defense Health Agency Connected Health branch. She shares what providers can do to pace themselves and use self-care practices and tools to stay resilient and avoid burnout. (DoD photo by Savannah Blackstock)

Our response to COVID-19 is a marathon, not a sprint

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus
<< < ... 41 42 43 44 45  ... > >> 
Showing results 661 - 675 Page 45 of 48

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.