Behavioral Health Epidemiology

Field Investigations and Evaluation

Last Updated: August 01, 2018

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Field Investigations and Evaluation (FIE) is comprised of two sections which collaborate to:

~~Identify risk factors and examine rates and trends of various behavioral and social health outcomes through the development, implementation, and analysis of survey data, existing administrative data and other readily identifiable data sources. Data are reviewed in the context of an organization and analyzed to determine the prevalence and associations between key characteristics and the identified issues or outcomes of concern (e.g., demographics, medical history, psychiatric symptoms, adequacy of and barriers to care, combat experiences).

~~Use qualitative methods to gather contextual information not easily ascertained through the use of surveys or existing data. This section develops and conducts in-depth interviews and focus groups to assess the experiences and perceptions of behavioral health and social concerns within the target population(s), as well as the climate surrounding behavioral health programs and services. Qualitative data are rich in details and can provide a deep understanding of the environment or circumstances (e.g., behavioral health services, unit cohesion, command climate) and inform recommendations.

FIE staff execute field investigations, also known as External Link epidemiological consultations (EPICONs) utilizing quantitative and qualitative scientific methodology to assess the burden of negative behavioral and social health outcomes on a particular military installation, within a unit and/or population of concern, or following a traumatic event or clustering of negative behavioral health events. Responses to requests of this nature are modeled after a traditional public health outbreak investigation. The data gathered through field investigations has the ability to characterize the events and/or populations of concern and can be used to recommend strategies to reduce incidences of behavioral health threats at various levels across the Army.
FIE also executes evaluations of emerging and existing behavioral health programs and policies. These requests are typically driven by strategic policy decisions and are used to identify and assess the direct, meaningful, and measurable results of activities and services related to behavioral health care. The data gathered can be used to describe the short, medium, and long term impacts of these activities on the lives of Soldiers, their Families, and the surrounding community.
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