Ensuring a healthy and fit military—including their families and military retirees—has been Lt. Col. Deydre Teyhen’s mission, which, encourages an integrated team approach to create such a healthy military force.
“The Army Surgeon General reminds us that the average soldier seeks health care five times a year (~100 total minutes per year). Usually these appointments focus on treating the current medical illness or injury says Teyhen, Deputy Director of Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command. She recently transitioned from her position as Commander, Public Health Command Region-South. “To keep a healthy and fit force, we try to focus more on the other 525,500 minutes during the year,” says Teyhen.
Born in Canton, Ohio, Teyhen decided to come to Ohio Wesleyan (she was a third generation OWU legacy student) to study sports science. “OWU and the faculty provided a great foundation for success.” That success continued as she was commissioned in the U.S. Army in 1993. Teyhen later earned her Master’s degree in Physical Therapy from the U.S. Army-Baylor University in 1995 and completed her Ph.D. in Biomechanics from the University of Texas in 2004, and her Doctoral degree in Physical Therapy from Baylor University in 2008. Teyhen is a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists, a certified health fitness instructor from the American College of Sports Medicine, as well as a certified health promotion director through the Cooper Institute. In fact, she and husband Col. John Teyhen, III recently accomplished their goal to be the first military couple to run a marathon in all 50 states. Before serving as Commander, Teyhen served as Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Physical Therapy Research in the U.S. Army-Baylor University doctoral program in physical therapy at Ft. Sam Huston in Texas. Her research has focused on injury prevention and rehabilitation with emphasis on soldier medical readiness. Teyhen’s research accomplishments include more than $4 million in research grants.
It wasn’t until Teyhen was deployed to Bosnia in 1996 that she decided to stay in the military long term.
“I was deployed as Chief of Physical Therapy for the 21st Combat Support Hospital, and saw the critical need to help our service men and women stay pain free,” she says. “It’s rewarding to treat our heroes and keep them in the game.” Upon her deployment to Iraq in 2009, Teyhen was put in charge of physical therapy as well as a military level III hospital.
“Again, the best part of being deployed to Iraq was being there to support our heroes. Army medicine is amazing at improving survivability on the battlefield.” Of her year serving as Commander, Public Health Command Region-South, Teyhen says it was motivating to her, being able to provide an environment to help prevent illness so soldiers could stay healthy.
Lt. Col. Teyhen’s team at Public Health Command Region-South was charged to optimize health by identifying, assessing, and countering environmental, occupational disease, and injury threats to health, fitness, and readiness as well as providing veterinary services. Her team consisted of over 600 public health specialists and covered the 11 southeastern states, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and locations in Honduras.
Teyhen’s current duties are focused on trying to find solutions that leverage technology to advance military medicine. “These might include using sensors that are able to measure brain activity to control arm movements for someone wearing a prosthetic arm,” she suggests. Telemedicine, utilizing technology to bring immediate care to people in more remote locales is another example of the kind of research Teyhen and her team are doing, as well as ongoing research to find the best solutions to advance medicine.
“I consider myself successful when the people I have mentored excel on their own and enhance military medicine for America’s sons and daughters,” says Teyhen.