55th MDG 'Soars Into Health'

A picture of a woman awarding three people with certificates.

Col. Julie Ostrand, left, 55th Medical Group commander, presents soar into health seven-week challenge awards Mar. 6, 2020, to Senior Airman Jennifer Hanson, Tech. Sgt. Stephanie Boulier and Staff Sgt. Jay Omar Harris, all with the 55th Medical Group, during a morning meeting inside the Erhling Berquist clinic at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. (U.S. Air Force photo by Charles J. Haymond)


The 55th Medical Group recently completed its initial Soar Into Health seven-week challenge.

More than 110 members of the 55th MDG participated in the challenge, which focused on developing healthy habits for regular physical activity, sound nutrition, and improved sleep.  Each participant received a Score Sheet and a SMART Goal Setting Worksheet.  The objective was to earn a maximum of 700 points by working toward seven overall goals.

The 55th Medical Group had 10 organized teams, which fostered a competitive spirit for the challenge. The Aerospace Medical Squadron, Bio Flight “BEE FIT” team took top honors for the flight competition.  Col. Sarah Cuciti and Staff Sgt. Mckayla Marquardt received recognition for their outstanding performance, each earning perfect scores of 700 points.  Master Sgt. Margaret Collins was the top female, having lost 18.2 pounds. Roger Nelson was the top male, having lost 13 pounds.

The challenge was one of several initiatives the 55th MDG recently implemented for their participation in the Air Force Operation Health and Readiness Optimization or Operation HeRO. The HeRO strategy focuses on a unit partnering with the Health Promotion Office to conduct a year-long worksite wellness campaign to improve the health and readiness of its members.

“We are dedicated to optimizing the health and readiness of all our personnel and are proud to be partnering with the Health Promotion Office as they’ve been instrumental in helping us build a culture of health,” said Col. Ostrand, 55th Medical Group commander

Other initiatives implemented throughout the group include the Health Promotion Minute, a newsletter, which is discussed at weekly huddles; the Fitness Minute, one minute of physical activity performed at every meeting; the Meditation Minute, one minute of mindful reflection every morning before the group’s safety huddle, and Healthy Messaging, posters encouraging healthy behaviors strategically located throughout the medical group.

Future initiatives include group walks, a move more and sit less campaign, a tobacco-free living campaign, revamped snack bars and a repeat of the Soar Into Health Challenge.