Tripler Army Medical Center’s Department of Psychology applied for the first time this past year, thanks to the tireless efforts and energy of MAJ Melba tal is a Joint Commission accredited military hospital system. Its Department of Psychology is led by Chief of Psychology, Dr. Raymond Folen and is supported by over 90 employees.
The Department has recently nearly doubled in size and has begun to reach out, via advances in telehealth psychology, across the pacific rim, providing services in remote regions with high service needs, as well as offering evaluation and treatment to our warfighters and their families locally.
The growth of the Department has been viewed by many workers as seamless. This may be due to all of the attention given to the psychological well-being of employees in the department. The spirit of the psychologically healthy workplace is thriving at TAMC’s department of psychology!
Section Chiefs hold formal meetings weekly. The Department Chief holds an informal meeting monthly that includes the entire staff. Pizza is served and collaborations on big-picture goals are covered. Every week, section leaders also meet with the Department Chief to refine responses to employee needs.
Supervision is both formal (quarterly and standardized) and spiral-ecological (ongoing and self-reinforcing). Evaluation is considered to be 360 degrees in scope, and includes a detailed self-assessment component. A sense of safety and to be open about one’s leading edges for growth in supervision is emphasized. Leadership opportunities are valued and celebrated consistently
Staff members are regularly presented with certificates of appreciation and achievement, medals of commendation, and other honors. On-the-spot cash awards, and less formal ceremonies such as receiving leis are common at meetings. Greeting cards signed by employees frequently follow to show solidarity. Each new employee is hailed at staff meetings, and those moving on are given a ceremonial farewell that gives attention to their contributions and well-wishes for ongoing successes.
Tuition reimbursement is provided for employees who wish to continue study and world-class trainings are offered regularly with well-known psychologists and researchers traveling from far-and-wide.
The Department’s list of invited guest speakers includes John Gottman, Martin Seligman, Frank Andrasik, Roger Greene, and Jon Kabbatt-Zin.
Exercise, healthy eating habits and attention to emotional self-care and social support are key values of the department and are encouraged regularly in meetings and in individual supervision. A physical fitness center is on the hospital campus and psychology employees can use it for free. They even get paid time for one hour of the work day devoted to fitness.
The Department also has a Provider Resiliency program which focuses on Yoga and Mindfulness in order to strengthen participating employee's senses of wellness, efficiency, energy-level, and fulfillment. Despite the word "provider" being included in the program’s name, most refer it to as "the yoga class." It meets every Monday and is open to all, across the department, not just providers, but leadership, administrators, executive assistants, reception staff and psychologists all participate.
Within the past year, the Department has been featured for innovations in virtual reality research and telemedicine advances in newspapers, book publications, magazines, professional journals and on television. Most recently the department was featured in the Army Times Magazine and on the Military Channel.