Skip to main content

Military Health System

Religious support team deploys to help frontline healthcare workers

Image of 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 & the MHS Response | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

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...

We Have the Tools

Infographic
1/10/2022
We Have the Tools

We have the tools to fight: Protect yourself and your community from the spread of COVID-19 with the right tools. Make sure you wear your mask, get vaccinated, and find your nearest testing site. Learn more https://tricare.mil/coronavirus

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Prevent COVID-19

Vaccine for Children TLDR

Infographic
11/4/2021
Vaccine for Children TLDR

Vaccination is our best defense against the spread of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Vaccines for Children

Vax Facts for Children

Infographic
11/4/2021
Vax Facts for Children

Should Young Children Get the COVID-19 Vaccine? Yes. The CDC recommends that children ages 5-11 receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 pediatric vaccine.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Vaccines for Children

Get to Know the Vaccines

Infographic
9/17/2021
Get to Know the Vaccines

A graphic showing the types of vaccines, how they work, and safety monitoring of the vaccines. Includes the MHS and TRICARE logos on the bottom right, and includes graphics of scientists, doctors, and patients.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

Get to know the COVID19 Vaccines

Infographic
9/17/2021
Get to know the COVID19 Vaccines

Get to know the vaccines - they do not contain the live virus, they do not interact with our DNA, and have been tested rigorously

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 Booster Shots

Infographic
8/27/2021
COVID-19 Booster Shots

If you have an immune system that is moderately to severely compromised, the CDC recommends you may receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). This would be at least 4 weeks after your second dose.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Mask Guidance for Department of Defense Facilities

Infographic
7/30/2021
Mask Guidance for Department of Defense Facilities

In accordance with CDC guidance, the Department of Defense (DOD) requires all Service members, Federal employees, onsite contractor employees, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask in all indoor DOD facilities. If you are not vaccinated, continue to physically distance consistent with applicable CDC and DOD Force Health Protection Guidance.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

COVID-19: Get Your Second Shot

Infographic
6/22/2021
COVID-19: Get Your Second Shot

You're not fully vaccinated - or protected - until two weeks after getting your second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

COVID-19 Vaccines Safety Monitoring

Infographic
6/9/2021
COVID-19 Vaccines Safety Monitoring

Graphic that assures beneficiaries that the COVID-19 vaccines are monitored for safety. Has information on how they are being reviewed. Graphics include doctors in a laboratory and a doctor with a shield fending off the virus.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

Infographic
6/9/2021
How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

This graphic showing how the mRNA and viral vector vaccines work to educate beneficiaries about the COVID-19 vaccines. Graphics are informational and provide facts on how they work in our bodies.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines - Main Infographic

Infographic
6/9/2021
Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines - Main Infographic

This infographic pulls all three COVID-19 topics together in one graphic: Getting to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines, How they Work and Safety Monitoring

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

Infographic
6/9/2021
Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

This graphic that assures beneficiaries that the vaccines will not give you the virus, does not affect our DNA, and is safe. Graphics include a person receiving the vaccine and a comparison graphic of COVID-19 trials versus other trials.

Recommended Content:

Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Facemask Required

Infographic
6/4/2021
Facemask Required

While the CDC relaxed mask requirements for vaccinated people, you're still required to wear masks in health care settings. Print this poster and put it around your facility to let patients and visitors know the requirements.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Prevent COVID-19

COVID-19 Vaccination Card Second Shot

Infographic
5/27/2021
COVID-19 Vaccination Card Second Shot

Keep track of your vaccination card. Tips include keeping your card on you and taking a picture of it as a backup copy.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

COVID Vax Fact Children Get Vaccine

Infographic
5/19/2021
COVID Vax Fact Children Get Vaccine

Graphic saying that the Pfizer vaccine is approved for children ages 12 to 15 and that children should be vaccinated. Graphic includes the TRICARE logo on the bottom right, and outlines of medical related items on the left of the page.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 of 7
Refine your search
Last Updated: September 01, 2021
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery