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From the CEO - October 2022

Dear AFSPA Member, 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the flu virus may be more severe this winter, so I strongly urge you to get your flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends everyone age six months and older receive the flu vaccine. If you are due for a COVID-19 booster, it is safe to get both the flu shot and the COVID-19 booster shots together. As an added benefit, Foreign Service Benefit Plan (FSBP) members age 18+ years can earn a $25 wellness reward after receiving the flu shot. 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 

I encourage you to talk to your doctor about which breast cancer screenings are right for you, and when you should have them. FSBP provides full coverage for mammograms in accordance with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPTF). This includes 3D breast tomosynthesis. In addition, annual breast cancer screenings count as a healthy action, so you can earn a $25 wellness reward after receiving a screening. Although breast cancer screenings cannot prevent cancer, they can help find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat. To learn more, tune in to our AFSPA Talks podcast all month and join the discussion on October 27th at 11 a.m. ET via AFSPA Live, our livestream Q&A session available on YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn (@afspacares) 

Mental Illness Awareness Week – Oct 2 to 8 

Mental health problems exist in our lives, families, workplaces, and communities – impacting everyone. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a global crisis for mental health with an estimated more than 25% rise in both anxiety and depressive disorders during the first year of the pandemic. Unfortunately, stigma and discrimination around mental health conditions often lead to hesitation in reaching out for help, but do not let this stop you from taking care of your mental well-being. We are here for you. 

FSBP continues to offer mental health benefits, support programs, and educational resources. I invite you to visit our website and explore our various mental health programs that may help in managing depression, emotional concerns, stress management, anxiety, and more. FSBP also offers telehealth services (for members in the U.S. and overseas) where you can speak to a therapist by phone or video.  

If you or someone you know has a mental illness, is struggling emotionally, or has concerns about their mental health, there are ways to get help. Use these resources to find help for you, a friend, or a family member.  

American Pharmacists Month 

It’s time to celebrate our pharmacists and to give thanks and appreciation for the significant role they play every day in our health, our communities, and our lives. 

Pharmacists are taking a greater role in patient care. They offer safe distribution of medications such as seasonal and lifespan immunizations; medication reviews to assess safety, effectiveness, interactions, and adherence; care management and counseling for disease states such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol; and smoking cessation counseling. FSBP’s Pharmacy Benefit Manager, Express Scripts, offers pharmacy consultations to members. To get in touch with a pharmacist, call 800-816-6717 and ask to speak to a pharmacist. 

Stay Connected 

Last month, our AFSPA Talks podcast focused on life insurance and financial wellness. If you missed the conversation, you can catch up on all podcast episodes at This month, our podcast topic will focus on Breast Cancer Awareness, breast cancer screening tips, treatment, care management options, and more, so stay tuned and subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss an episode. 

Lastly, in September Senior Living Foundation (SLF) held the biennial event, “Planning for Change,” a free educational event about retirement and aging.  SLF is the non-profit organization sponsored by AFSPA. SLF provides support to retired Foreign Service personnel and their spouses, as well as parents of active Foreign Service personnel. Discussion topics of interest to all included financial and estate planning, evolution in the long-term care market, retiree resources, and costs of homecare. If you missed the event, watch it on demand here 

As always, thank you for your trust and for giving AFSPA the opportunity to serve you!  

To Your Health, 

Paula S. Jakub, RHU
Executive Director, Senior Living Foundation

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