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Captain Kimberly Elenberg has been a steady supporter and ally in our efforts to better leverage the Cooperative Extension System as a force multiplier in Military Family Readiness  and Capacity Building.  We are pleased to get her take on Friday Field Notes!


Now, more than ever, Military Service members and their families are living off the installation. The Building Healthy Military Communities (BHMC) pilot is a multi-year initiative that aims to better understand and address the unique challenges faced by these geographically dispersed Service members and their families that may impact their readiness, resiliency, and well-being.

We want to better understand how we can strengthen partnerships with communities. The pilot is being conducted in Florida, Indiana, Oklahoma, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, and New Mexico.

Our team includes seven on-the-ground State Coordinators, currently making meaningful connections and partnerships to brainstorm solutions to gaps in resources. Many of these partnerships include strong and growing partnerships with Cooperative Extension. My office within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Personnel Risk & Resiliency (PRR), works closely with members of the National Guard Bureau, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), the Defense State Liaison Office (DSLO), and the Reserve Components, to execute the BHMC pilot.

In the next few months, our team will be heading out to conduct an on-the-ground needs assessment in each of the seven pilot states. The BHMC pilot is going off the installation in an unprecedented way – our teams will be collecting information from both DoD resources and non-DoD resources, such as state resources, federal resources, and community non-profits. This will allow us to get a holistic view of the well-being resources available to Service members and their families.

National Guard and Reserve members, particularly those who are geographically dispersed, tend to have civilian lives separate from the installation where they drill. This makes it especially important for the BHMC pilot to understand both the capabilities of the DoD resources, as well as those community resources off the installation.

We hope that this needs assessment, in conjunction with our team’s ongoing analysis of quantitative data sources, will allow us to create and implement informed Strategic Plans for each state. We may find that there is not a lack of resources available, but there is a lack of awareness about these resources. We may find that the best resources are not reaching the geographically dispersed population. We may find, that as a community, DoD and civilian, we can do more to support our Service members and their families. Once we have a better sense of the unique challenges in each state, we will be able to implement the most effective solutions to assist in creating a healthy, ready, and resilient total force.

I am excited to be a part of such a powerful and groundbreaking program. The DoD is continuously and increasingly relying on the National Guard and Reserve populations in combat and recovery situations, so now more than ever, it is imperative that we make sure this population is optimally ready and resilient.

For more information about BHMC, contact the BHMC mailbox: [email protected].

CAPT Kimberly Elenberg
Director, Operation Live Well
Personnel Risk & Resiliency (PRR)
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness (OASD(R))
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness (OUSD(P&R))
4000 Defense Pentagon, Suite 2E593, Washington DC 20301-4000

CAPT Kimberly Elenberg directs the development and implementation of Operation Live Well (OLW), the DoD’s long-term strategy for achieving population health. OLW aligns, integrates, and coordinates policies and initiatives among the Services, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense to optimize the readiness, resilience, and well-being of Service members and their families. In this role, Elenberg also leads the Building Healthy Military Communities pilot, an initiative that aims to better understand the unique challenges faced by geographically dispersed Service members and their families. Previously, Elenberg was Director of Training and Manager of Medical Readiness in the Office of Force Readiness and Deployment, Office of the U.S. Surgeon General. She also served as Director for Biosurveillance and Emergency response at the Department of Agriculture and served on the Homeland Security Council, National Security Subcommittee. Elenberg earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Temple University on a four-year ROTC scholarship, a Master’s degree in informatics from the University of Maryland, and graduated summa cum laude with a Doctorate in Nursing Practice from Johns Hopkins University.