Harmony Larson: Developing Medical Readiness and Public Health Knowledge among a Military Community
- Harmony Larson (MS ’13) is an Environmental Health Officer and lieutenant (junior grade) in the Preventive Medicine department at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, which provides health and medical support for approximately 150,000 service members, families, and employees at the Marine Corps base.
- In her position, Larson is responsible for overseeing food inspections and immunization clinics, providing health education, and investigating infectious disease or food-borne outbreaks. She also works on wellness projects, mainly for active duty and civilian employees at the hospital. The staff wellness committee that Larson is a part of focuses on healthy habits such as nutrition, fitness, weight management, and sexual health.
- Recently, Larson was selected for and trained to join the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) medical support team as one of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) trainers for domestic cases of Ebola. In the event the team is called, they would respond within 72 hours to a civilian hospital’s request for assistance under the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) and provide clinical support or guidance as needed.
- During her time at FSPH, Larson was involved in many student group activities and took multiple leadership roles including co-president of the Public Health Student Association (PHSA). Her involvement allowed her to develop relationships beyond her department to the wider FSPH community and helped her gain a better sense of community. This experience allowed her to work across departments and schools and practice working in an interdisciplinary team, a skill she is fortunate to have sharpened early as a student.
- Through her work, Larson has been able to increase medical readiness for the Marines at Camp Pendleton, ensuring that all public health and immunization programs are well-executed and sustained.
- She has also made a positive impact on the healthy habits of hospital staff through the wellness programs she works on and the public health knowledge she brings to the community.
- Looking forward, Larson aspires to further her public health expertise by pursuing her interests in sexual health and sexual health education.