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In the aftermath of the Gulf War, the collection of baseline health data of military members was deemed essential for understanding how pre-existing conditions and behaviors affect service-related impacts on health. A past Presidential Review Directive, Institute of Medicine reports, and the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board specifically requested a military recruit assessment program. To answer this request, the Recruit Assessment Program (RAP), developed at Naval Health Research Center, routinely obtains computerized baseline health and behavioral data from thousands of military recruits each year. Results of this study facilitate the development of early intervention and prevention programs to improve readiness and support the warfighter.


The initial goal of this study is to sustain a program at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) in San Diego and establish a program at MCRD Parris Island. An additional goal of the RAP is to use the data as a foundation upon which other routinely captured medical and administrative data is added to answer future questions regarding the health risks of operational deployments, military occupations, and general service in the Marine Corps. Further, the intent is to track changes in longitudinal health and behavior.


A team of research physicians, epidemiologists, and psychologists developed the RAP survey using standardized instruments and expert input from other services. The survey is voluntary and takes about 30 minutes to complete. Since June 2001, Marine Corps recruits at MCRD San Diego participated in the RAP during receiving week of boot camp. To date, more than 250,000 Marines have completed the survey.


The RAP establishes baseline pre-accession health to help distinguish service-related medical conditions due to deployment, certain military occupations, and general service in the Marine Corps from prior causes of poor health. It also helps determine how prior health and behavior can serve as risk or protective factors of future health and career outcomes. Results can inform policy concerning recruiting or training, programs aimed at reducing attrition and increasing resilience, as well as behavioral health interventions to address risky behaviors.


The Principal Investigator of the Recruit Assessment Program is MAJ Keyia Carlton, and the primary performing site is the Naval Health Research Center, Military Population Health Directorate, Deployment Health Research Dept., San Diego, CA. Contact MAJ Carlton at 619-553-4363, DSN 553-4363 or e-mail
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