Skip to main content

Aim Hire: An Ounce of Prevention

If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, imagine the ramifications of an entire career dedicated to it.

Just think of the impact you could have if you were able to intervene and be a positive force in an Airman’s or their family members’ lives at a critical juncture, helping them avoid many of the common pitfalls and harmful behaviors that can jeopardize careers, relationships, and well-being.

Not to mention, national security.

That’s the operating principle behind True North and the Department of Defense’s newly created Integrated Primary Prevention Workforce (IPPW), two truly innovative prevention programs designed to curtail harmful behaviors well before they start.

During this, our 25th episode, host Bob Hall speaks with Annie Carroll, a licensed clinical social worker with True North, which seeks to provide embedded mental health and spiritual support to the nation’s Airmen and Guardians, while destigmatizing seeking help for mental health issues.

Annie shares how Prevention careers like True North and IPPW differ from traditional clinical social work by, among other things, preempting harmful behaviors by making mental-health professionals readily accessible to Air Force personnel before stressors escalate into something more serious.

So, if you’re a public health professional, a clinical social worker, or licensed psychologist, or are just a bit curious about the promise and potential of this emerging profession, “An Ounce of Prevention” is for you.

You’ll definitely want to stick around for the whole hour, but if you’re pressed for time, you may want to jump straight to the good parts (as if there was anything but) with the shortcuts below.

7:27 Annie provides an overview of how Prevention is different from traditional social work and mental health counseling.

8:52 The Air Force champions “Multi-capable Airmen.” Annie explains what that means and describes the 1-to-10 scale of mental distress.

10:27 Host Bob Hall explains that one of the most appealing things about the Prevention Program is the wide variety of professionals it has openings for, from mental health professionals and social workers to program managers, policy analysts, coordinators, as well as numerous administrative roles.

11:06 Annie explains why the Air Force places such a high priority on prevention.

14:00 As a Prevention professional, Annie works shoulder-to-shoulder with active-duty Airmen, which allows her to interact with them on a personal level. Here, she describes some of the creative approaches that allows her.

17:16 Mental health professionals and social workers are in extremely high demand in the corporate world. Annie shares why she chose a career with the Air Force over all the other opportunities available to her.

19:52 Annie lays out the education requirements for someone looking to fill her shoes as a licensed clinical social worker, and the importance of having continuous clinical work on your resume.

20:26 Annie suggests that having experience dealing with trauma cases enhances your career prospects.

22:23 Annie points out that there are some benefits that working shoulder-to-shoulder with our men and women in the military offers that you won’t find in the private sector.

27:26 Annie answers a question from the audience about what her average case load looks like.

29:08 Following up the question above, a listener asks Annie to describe an average day in the Prevention Program.

32:21 Annie shares what she finds most appealing about her job (above and beyond flying on missions with her squadron).

33:21 An audience member asks about the dreaded documentation and paperwork and how much of Annie’s time is consumed by it. You may be surprised to learn that every note she writes about a patient is viewable by that patient online at any time.

36:01 Host Bob Hall asks Annie what are some of the challenges Prevention Practitioners face in their practice.

42:26 Following a poll that showed most in the audience value the importance the Air Force places on work-life balance for its civilian workforce over other choices, Annie shares what it has meant for her.

51:23 Annie shares her “Eureka” moment, where she knew she had chosen the career field that was meant for her.

52:35 Host Bob Hall reiterates the importance of finding creative ways to tout your “soft skills” on your resume.

54:11 Annie offers advice for those who may be considering a career in Prevention about what skills and background they should pursue to land a job like hers.

Equal Opportunity Employer. U.S. citizenship is required. Must be of legal working age. Some positions may require a security clearance.