Health of the Army Family Report: Guiding Action to Optimize the Health of the Army Family

March 10, 2022

Episode 211

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Description: The health and satisfaction of Army Families today directly impacts the future of the fighting Force of our Nation. Representatives from the US Army Public Health Center discuss the Health of the Army Family report and their hope it will bring attention to the Army Family health and aid in the understanding of the health needs and concerns of Army Families.


Show notes:

Army Public Health Center:                                        

2020 Health of the Force report:

Army Health and Wellness Portfolio:

 Health of the Army Family:                           



Dr. Theresa Jackson Santo is the Division Chief of the Public Health Assessment Division within the Health Promotion and Wellness Directorate at the United States Army Public Health Center in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. Her division’s mission is to build, document, and apply the evidence base of community-based programs, policies, and practices within the U.S. Army. Her multidisciplinary team of more than 2 dozen scientists, epidemiologists, program evaluators, and public health practitioners executes formative and summative evaluations for a multitude of interventions each year within the United States Army. These projects strive to systematically assess what’s working, what’s not, and how the Army’s public health enterprise can be improved to best meet Soldiers’ needs and achieve favorable outcomes. Dr. Santo holds a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina and a PhD in Public Health from the University of Maryland. Her professional passions include mixed methods designs, survey development, applied program evaluation, and public health program planning. In her personal life, Dr. Santo has four children ages five and under, including her newest addition, Abigail, who was born in January of this year.


Ms. Laura A. Mitvalsky is the Director of the Health Promotion and Wellness Directorate at the United States Army Public Health Center in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. Her directorate’s mission is to advocate for global force fitness through strategically developing, integrating, standardizing and evaluating health promotion and wellness services within the Army public health system. Ms. Mitvalsky directs all programmatic and administrative activities for health promotion and wellness at Army Public Health Center and has enterprise oversight for four program areas within her directorate: Health Promotion Operations, Army Wellness Centers, Integrated Health Education, and Public Health Assessment. She leads approximately 75 scientists, program and policy officers, program developers, health educators, and more, across CONUS and OCONUS locations to realize the directorate’s vision and mission. She has served in this role for nearly 11 years; prior to this, she worked on various health promotion and wellness initiatives for the Army, including developing the Army’s first standardized commander’s councils to strategically and systematically integrate health, readiness and resilience at Army installations. In September 2019, she was named Aberdeen Proving Ground’s Supervisor of the Year in recognition of Women’s Equality Day. She was recognized then for her mentorship, positive guidance to employees, especially to female employees, both within and outside of the Army Public Health Center. Her professional passions include making strategic connections and taking a systems perspective to help individuals, units, and communities realize optimal health and wellness. Ms. Mitvalsky is a Florida native and spent many years living overseas. She is the proud parent of two college-aged children.

LTC Virgil Rivera

LTC Virgil Rivera is currently serving as the deputy chief for the Health Education and Application Division under the Health Promotion and Wellness Directorate. His primary duties are focused across a variety of Army enterprise level projects. Additionally, he has been selected to serve as the lead action officer for the Health of the Army Family strategic objective. LTC Rivera is a board certified diplomate and supervisory licensed clinical social worker where he recently completed the Child and Family Fellowship under the National Capital Consortium, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Some of his previous assignments include chief of the Family Advocacy Program behavioral health service line at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, behavioral health officer for the 3d Cavalry Regiment, deputy chief for the Health Facilities and Plans office for Regional Health Command Europe (formerly Europe Regional Medical Command), aide-de-camp, and platoon leader during his time with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, Italy. He graduated with a bachelor’s of science from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio and completed the U.S. Army masters in social work program at Joint Base San Antonio. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Medical Department Captains Career Course, Command and General Staff College, and has deployed twice to Afghanistan. LTC Rivera is a first generation Army officer and third generation soldier as his family originates from the Philippines. His late grandfather was a Philippine Scout and a survivor of the Bataan Death March while his late father served in the signal community during the Cold War period. He is married to LTC Kelly Rivera who is also a U.S. Army social work officer and they have two children.

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