Salus Populi Suprema Lex Este Commissioned Officers

Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service
VOL. 52, ISSUE 3
Salus Populi Suprema Lex Este
April 2015
COA: Protecting the interests of the USPHS Commissioned Corps since 1951
y the time
you read
this column I
will have
served as your
Executive Director for just
over a year,
having started
the job on 1
April 2014. It
has been an
James T. (Jim) Currie, PH.D
twelve months,
Colonel, USA (Ret.)
filled with
learning experiences for me and with
opportunities to advance COA’s agenda,
promote its strategic plan, and advance
public health. I thought this column
would offer an opportunity to provide
some highlights of my first year as your
Executive Director. Much I write about
has already been brought to your attention in the pages of Frontline, but in the
event that you have not archived your
issues when they were printed nor want
to go to our website to read them in digital version, I offer you a recap of the past
Let me say first of all that I accomplish
nothing by myself. COA/COF has six
other staff persons, and we all work together with a harmony of effort that other organizations can only look upon with
envy. Let me start with April, when
COA Government Relations Director
Judy Rensberger focused her column on
legislation directed at a new TRICARE
benefit for servicemember dependents
with autism spectrum disorder. It was
terrific legislation, except that it left out
retirees of the non-Defense Department
members of the uniformed services: the
(Executive Director, cont’d. on p. 27)
Senator Durbin Receives First Ever
COA Congressional Public Health Leadership Award
OA Board Chair, CAPT Sara
Newman, presented the firstever “Congressional Public Health
Leadership Award” to Sen. Richard
J. Durbin (D-IL). The award ceremony took place in the Democratic
Whip’s office in the U.S. Capitol.
Durbin was voted the award by the
COA Board because of his untiring
efforts to reduce tobacco use
among members of the military
services. His dedication to the
anti-tobacco cause stretches back
many years, as he was one of the
first members of Congress to tackle
the issue of smoking on airplanes,
introducing legislation to ban
such over twenty-five years ago.
Following the award presentation
Sen. Durbin spent twenty minutes
discussing his anti-tobacco work
with COA members and staff. Present for the ceremony in addition to
CAPT Newman were COA Board
member RADM (ret.) Dick Bertin,
former COA Board Chair CAPT Nita
Sood, COA Executive Director Jim
Currie, Deputy COA Executive Director John McElligott, and COA Government Relations Director Judy
Rensberger. Please be sure to read
the COA press release on this event,
reproduced elsewhere in this issue
of Frontline.
(Lead, cont’d. on p. 25)
COA Member Benefits
Capitol Hill Representation
Efforts on Capitol Hill
continually support all Commissioned Corps officers active-duty, and retired.
Car Rental Discount Avis & Budget
Members enjoy discount rates
on Avis and Budget rentals.
COA’s newsletter reports
on monthly activities and
items of interest about the
Corps & COA.
Insurance Programs AGIA
Participate in low-cost insurance programs that may continue after leaving the PHS as
long as your membership in
COA remains current.
Local Representation
COA Branches generate new
venues for meeting fellow
officers within your local area
while providing a forum for
the discussion of concerns
within the Commissioned
Scholarship Program
COA offers thousands of
dollars towards college scholarships for children and
spouses of COA members.
[email protected] / [email protected]
$7500 scholarships to earn
completely online, accredited
Master of Public Health and
Master of Health Administration degrees
COA Ribbon
Authorized to be worn on the
PHS uniform by members in
good standing when attending
COA functions.
In Play: The Future of TRICARE
o its great credit, the Military
Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) made an extraordinary effort to find out how TRICARE’s
9.6 million beneficiaries felt about their
health insurance. The MCRMC staff administered online surveys, invited written and oral
testimony, held numerous field hearings, and
made in-person visits to the offices of dozens
of advocacy organizations, including COA.
What the Commission learned did not inspire
confidence in TRICARE. It recommended dismantling the system and starting anew. For
dependents and retirees, the Commission
proposed a “TRICARE Choice” plan that would
parallel the variety of health insurance plans
offered to civilian federal employees. Activeduty personnel would use military treatment
facilities unless, in the case of USPHS and
NOAA, no MTF is available. The concept is
bold and intriguing, but the challenges of
implementation have yet to be thought
through. To COA and to PHS leadership, the
concept seems definitely worth a closer look.
COA Perspective
Over the last ten years, I have seldom heard
kind words about TRICARE. Why is that? As
PHS officers and health professionals, COA
members are unusually savvy about working
around problems in the system, and ultimately getting the health care they and their families need. When a problem reaches COA’s
attention, it means that the officer’s case has
been badly mishandled at every level by everyone whose job it is to make the system
Two examples: In one case, an active-duty
COA member was being hounded by a collection agency demanding $20,000 for benefits
that TRICARE had approved two years earlier
but somehow forgotten. It took nine months
for COA to get this fixed. And in the end, it
required the dogged, personal intervention
of the Major General who headed what was
In another case, the lack of a TRICARE network meant that 50 PHS officers were either
severely limited in their options or effectively denied access to their guaranteed health
care benefits. That took more than a year to
get sorted out, and required the collective
efforts of COA National, its Local Branch,
NIOSH brass, and the state university.
The Military Coalition
For years, organizations within TMC have
tracked TRICARE’s shortcomings and regularly brought them to the attention of Congress. Of 33 member organizations, 24
(including COA) are represented on TMC’s
Health Care Committee. Despite this history,
there is now reluctance to endorse the
MCRMC’s recommendation. Aside from
COA, the only other TMC organization on
record as willing to give the “TRICARE
Choice” concept a chance is the National
Military Family Association (NMFA).
Your View?
COA needs to hear from you. We expect to
survey COA members and their spouses to
obtain detailed and PHS-specific information
about our members’ experience with TRICARE. While we pull the survey together,
please feel free to tell us about your own
and your dependents’ experiences. Please
write TRICARE in the subject line, and submit
[email protected]
—Judy Rensberger
Commissioned Officers Association
COA Chair’s Corner
Let’s Connect at the Symposium!
y Fellow
and work we do every day in uniform. From day one he hit the
ground running - educating Congressional leaders on the Hill
about our work; building relationships with high level officials
Since I began serving as your COA at HHS (including our new Surgeon General only weeks into his
Chair, a primary means of commu- confirmation); speaking at Branch meetings by phone and in
nication with you has been one person; writing numerous letters, op-ed pieces and articles;
way -- me to you -- through Front- establishing and delivering a new Congressional Public Health
line. But I am thrilled that in one Leader award for COA; and much, much more! So I hope you
month from now I will have the will take the chance to introduce yourself to Jim and to thank
opportunity to connect with many him and the rest of the COA staff for all they do for us every
of you in Atlanta for a two way, single day!
face to face dialogue. If you have
not registered or reserved your Third, we will all have an opportunity to get to know our new
CAPT Sara B. Newman, USPHS
room to attend the USPHS Scien- Surgeon General, VADM Vivek Murthy, who will speak at the
tific and Training Symposium, I hope you will do so now.
Symposium. I recently met our new SG and am impressed by
his bold ideas for achieving health targets in our Nation. I am
I am excited about the Symposium for the chance to talk with also impressed at his thoughtful questions and engaged listenyou in person, but for many other reasons as well:
ing as he explores his role and his priorities in HHS. He comes
across as a warm and engaging person who I am eager to get
First, it will be a great meeting with outstanding speakers, topic to know.
areas and sessions. There will be many diverse topics covered
over the four day conference. Don’t miss this opportunity to Fourth, this conference gives us the chance to recognize our
hear about the incredible experiences our own officers have most outstanding colleagues for the contributions they have
had this year in responding to two major public health crises – made to public health this past year. And we will all beam
the Ebola outbreak and the influx of unaccompanied children at with pride as we hear our own PHS Ensemble come together
the border. The hard part will be selecting between simultane- to play for us.
ous sessions!
Finally, this conference provides a wonderful opportunity for
Second, you will have a chance to get to know our new Execu- us to network and connect, learn from one another and identitive Director, Col Jim Currie (Ret.), whom I admire and have fy opportunities for continued collaboration. So, please take
been privileged to work closely with and learn from over the the opportunity to come over and say “hi” to me, as well as all
past year. This month Jim celebrates a year with COA and he of our COA Board members, COF Trustees and COA staff who
has given us much to celebrate. He has supported us through a will be at the conference. We hope you will share your
challenging year in which he and his staff have worked tirelessly concerns, and ideas for COA or just simply become better
to ensure PHS visibility, equal and fair recognition for our acquainted with us.
service to the Nation, and solid support for our ability to do the
Attention COA Members &
Local Branches
ational COA appreciates your time and efforts involved in creating submissions for COA Frontline
Please note that for all submissions for the Frontline publication, the required Guidelines are available at, Members Only, Quicklink/Frontline. Direct all submissions to [email protected]
PLEASE note the BRANCH NAME in the email subject line if the article is branch-related.
For Local Branches requesting inclusion of an advertisement in Frontline, please provide the advertisement in PDF
format, in adherence with the 15th day of the month deadline.
April 2015 - Frontline
Advancing public health and public health leadership for a healthier Nation.
Visit the Foundation online at
COF President’s Corner
“In the Silent War……..”*
pril is an
month for those
of us who are
National Public
Health Week, a
great time to
RADM Robert C. Williams,
(Ret.), USPHS
and successes of public health. It also
begs the question of why only a week,
why not a month? In reality, public
health is for a year, every year, especially
as practiced by the USPHS Commissioned
During the first full week of April each
year, for more than 20 years, the American Public Health Association (APHA) has
brought together communities across the
United States to observe National Public
Health Week. It serves as a time to both
recognize contributions and successes as
well as to highlight continued challenges.
Although there is much to celebrate, U.S.
public health professionals still face difficult situations. According to America’s
Health Rankings: A Call to Action for Individuals and their Communities,** our
challenges include:
Obesity- Since 1990, obesity has increased 153% from 11.6% to 29.4% of
Physical Inactivity- Physical inactivity
remains high at 23.5% of adults and has
not changed appreciably for the last decade.
Children in Poverty- At 19.9% of children,
the children in poverty measure is far
above the 23-year low of 15.8% in the
2002 Edition and near the 1990 level of
Public Health Funding- State public
health funding continues its slow decline
over the past 4 years. Since 2011, it decreased from $95.01 to $90.00 in expenditures per person at the state level.
Immunization Coverage - Children Nationwide, comprehensive immunization
coverage among children aged 19 to 35
months is only 70.4%. It increased marginally in the past year.
Immunization Coverage - Adolescents
Nationwide, comprehensive immunization coverage among teens aged 13 to 17
years is only 67.1%. It increased marginally in the past year.
Low Birthweight - In the last 20 years,
the prevalence of low birthweight infants
has increased from 7.1% to 8.0% nationwide. The good news is that it appears to
have peaked in 2009 and is trending
Diabetes - In the Nation, 9.6% of adults
report they have been told they have diabetes. There has been a steady, upward
climb in the prevalence of diabetes, although data from the last 3 years shows a
leveling of the prevalence.
These are just a few of the daunting tests
of our public health expertise that we
face. At the same time, we do have public health winners.
Less than a year ago, Ebola was seldom in
the news and the public efforts to control
its spread rarely discussed. The Ebola
epidemic is now seen as a major health
threat, something that can happen anywhere and is not limited by geographic
Commissioned Officers Association
borders. Although we knew quite a bit
about the disease, our public health system was not well-prepared for the
onslaught of last year. Dr. Tom Frieden
told us that to stop Ebola required applying
measures. These included finding active
cases, tracking cases, applying effective
disease control, and preventing future
cases. And, he emphasized that these
were best done at the source. When
Ebola came to America, it was demonstrated that we do know what to do and
how to do it. Yet, as always in public
health responses mistakes were made,
and learned from.
We definitely saw the power of the
media, most often as a deterrent to good
public health. For several weeks in the
U.S., fear triumphed over science. People made decisions about where to go
and with whom to socialize with very
limited information riding a wave of
panic. They distrusted their friends, they
distrusted the government. Responsible
public health officials stemmed the tide
somewhat through effective risk communication. As people saw that Ebola wasn’t spreading rampantly across the
country, and with steady public health
encouragement, their fears began to be
Today we know several things about
Ebola that weren’t well known then.
First, we know the disease is something
to be highly respected, and even our
most careful prevention methods may be
inadequate; our vigilance must be
constant. Second, we know it can be
treated; we have seen some success with
basic supportive care on that front.
Third, we know that by applying resources at the source, it can be slowly
(President’s Corner, cont’d. on p. 26)
Commissioned Officers Foundation—Annual Symposium
Why I Attend the USPHS Symposium
I work in an environment where there are very few
USPHS Officers, attending the COA symposium is a
great time for me to connect with other officers and
fills me with a sense of purpose and pride in the PHS.
Also, I really enjoy connecting with other people in my
category; veterinarians play many diverse roles in
PHS, getting to know these officers and what they do
builds great camaraderie.
LT Laura Edison, DVM, MPH, Career Epidemiology
Field Officer, Georgia Department of Public Health
The USPHS Scientific and Training Symposium provides
excellent opportunities to fellowship, network, and
learn from a wide range of public health professionals.
This year’s theme, “Public Health Diversity: Succeeding
in a Flatter World” is near and dear to my heart since I
have a passion towards understanding the critical skills
and cultural competencies that are needed to effectively engage the diverse populations that we serve.
LCDR Candis M. Hunter, MSPHS, REHS/RS, Epidemiologist, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
April 2015 - Frontline
Commissioned Officers Foundation—Annual Symposium
Category Day Highlights Announced
ategory Day at the 2015 USPHS Scientific and Training
Symposium will be held on Tuesday, May 19. On this day
attendees will meet by professional category (dentist, nurse,
pharmacist, etc.) for updates on hot topics, trends and other
useful information related to the profession. Visit http://
 Ensuring nursing excellence in dynamic health care landscape
 Treating Ebola
 Transforming nurse leaders in a dynamic health care environment
 Health care in a flatter world
Highlights will include:
 Caries management by risk assessment
 Transmission of infections agents in dental setting
 Infections disease and its role in oral health and treatment
of oral disease
 Health equality and disparities
 Childhood obesity prevention: Building blocks for a healthy
 Dietary guidelines for Americans: Translating nutrition
science to policy
 Achievements and challenges of diabetes prevention and
weight management in the Indian health system.
 Global correctional public health nutrition issues in involuntary feeding of hunger-striking inmates
Environmental Health Officers
 How to build a “soil kitchen” and reduce community exposures to lead in urban soils
 Taking healthy swimming to the next level: The model
aquatic health code
 Assessment of new ship construction and gastrointestinal
illness levels
 Delivery of a comprehensive institutional environmental
health program in the Phoenix Area Indian Health Service
 Leadership roles in the USPHS
 Environmental engineering in disease outbreaks
 Wastewater treatment: Maximizing water reclamation
with membrane bioreactors (MBR's)
 Stopping Ebola starts with you
Health Services Officers
 Promoted officer profile, 2010-2014 trend analysis
 Officer perspectives: Liberia mission
 Modified Professional Advisory Committee meeting
 Roundtables on an array of topics
 Naloxone and chronic pain management
 Using data to improve outcomes
 Ebola response
 Operations and innovations in clinical trials
 The Carter Center’s mental health program in Liberia
 Unaccompanied minors mission
 Overview of scientific publishing
 Updates on heat stress prevention and management
 The critical role of communications in the Ebola response
 Demographic and health behaviors among a diverse group
of adult Hispanic/Latino Males (Ages 18 to 64 years)
 Protecting public health through improving test methodology and modernizing the FSIS Accredited Laboratory
 The association between doctor-diagnosed arthritis and
falls and fall Injuries among middle-aged and older adults
 Career pathways panel
 Deep surgical site infections in an inmate population
 Vestibular rehab
 Ebola response
 Antimicrobial resistance and the human-animal interface:
The food safety and inspection service’s piece of the global
 The role of veterinarians on Federal Advisory Committees
 Ebola response
 Wet lab: Introduction to animal biosafety level 3
Commissioned Officers Association
Commissioned Officers Foundation—Annual Symposium
Symposium Pre-Conference Workshops Announced
oin us for the following pre-conference workshops at the represent income to the Association.
2015 USPHS Scientific and Training Symposium in Atlanta.
Visit for Monday, May 18 (Half day in the morning)
Basic Life Support CPR Renewal Course: This course is designed
You may sign up for these courses during conference registra- for healthcare providers to learn how to save a life. The course
tion. A minimum of 20 pre-registered attendees are required provides information for assessing, planning, implementing, and
for a course by April 15 in order to ensure that it will go evaluation during cardio-pulmonary emergencies. In this course,
you’ll learn how to: recognize the signals of heart attack and
take appropriate actions, perform one and two rescuer CPR,
Sunday, May 17
gain early access to Emergency Medical Services (EMS), recognize and respond to sudden unexpected death, assist a choking
Leadership Training (8:00 am -- 4:00 pm): This pre-conference adult, child or infant victim and perform adult, child and infant
session will promote a culture of leadership within the context CPR. Students must bring current BLS card and book to class.
of the unique structure of the United States Public Health Ser- CLASS SIZE LIMITED TO 24 Students. Disclaimer: Use of Amerivice (USPHS). The 2015 all-day workshop/training will focus on can Heart Association materials in an educational course does
critical leadership skills that will ensure success in dealing with not represent course sponsorship by the American Heart Associnational and international public health crises. Speakers will ation. Any fees charged for such a course, except for a portion
include senior leaders from within the USPHS and faculty from of fees needed for AHA course materials, do not represent inEmory University. This year’s agenda includes keynote address- come to the Association.
es, inter-active exercises, a panel of senior leaders, small group
discussions, and break-out sessions that focus on the key lead- COA Branch Leadership Workshop: This session is intended for
ership skills that are critical for managing public health crises. current leaders of COA branches and those interested in leaderThis workshop will build on lessons learned from the 2012 pre- ship roles. It will provide background information, skills training
conference workshop “Leadership in the 21st Century: Empow- and more.
ering Women Officers in the U.S. Public Health Service” and the
2013 and 2014 pre-conference leadership training.
Nurse Skills Training: The Nurse Category will again by popular
demand present a training session designed to address requestRetirement Seminar ($25 fee, 8:00 am --5:00 pm): All officers ed skill-sets required by nurses, as well as other healthcare pronearing retirement, and those who recently retired, will gain fessionals, during an emergency deployment situation. There
helpful information from the Separations Coordinator of the will be seven basic training skills offered by nursing experts from
Commissioned Corps. Other speakers will include representa- various federal agencies:
tives from AARP and an investment adviser.
1. Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Documentation
Basic Life Support Full Course (1:00 pm -- 5:00 pm): The 2. Basic Triage – Emergency Management
American Heart Association’s BLS courses reinforce healthcare 3. Basic Nurse Care (IV Insertion & Medication Administration)
professionals' understanding of the importance of early CPR, 4. Wound Care
and defibrillation, performing basic steps of CPR, relieving chok- 5. Basic PPEs Training
ing, using an AED, and the role of each link in the Chain of Sur- 6. Immunization
vival. In this classroom-based course, healthcare professionals 7. Direct Access update
learn to recognize several life-threatening emergencies, provide
CPR to victims of all ages, use an AED, and relieve choking in a Each participant will receive didactic as well as hands-on practisafe, timely and effective manner. In this course, you’ll learn cum training of each skill. In addition to the skills training, this
how to: Recognize the signals of heart attack and take appropri- year we will also make available Direct Access stations providing
ate actions, perform one and two rescuer CPR, gain early access actual hands-on experience with trouble shooting/entry/
to Emergency Medical Services (EMS), recognize and respond to updating information for readiness purposes and the EMR emusudden unexpected death, assist a choking adult, child or infant lator if internet access is available at the conference for endvictim and perform adult, child and infant CPR. CLASS SIZE LIM- users to access remotely using their own laptops.
ITED TO 24 Students. Disclaimer: Use of American Heart Association materials in an educational course does not represent Scientific Skills: This session will help officers develop and hone
course sponsorship by the American Heart Association. Any fees necessary scientific writing skills. The session will describe the
for parts of a scientific abstract (Objectives, Background, Methods,
a portion of fees needed for AHA course materials, do not Results, Conclusions) and the types of information each should
(Workshops, cont’d. on p. 8)
April 2015 - Frontline
Commissioned Officers Foundation—Annual Symposium
(Workshops, cont’d. from p. 7)
contain; examine types of scientific document review and ex- Students must bring current BLS card and book to class. CLASS
plain how they differ from each other; explore key principles of SIZE LIMITED TO 24 Students. Disclaimer: Use of American Heart
Association materials in an educational course does not repre“plain language” as they apply to scientific writing, and provide sent course sponsorship by the American Heart Association. Any
examples of each one; and finally discuss multiple effective fees charged for such a course, except for a portion of fees needpresentation strategies and the rationale for their use.
ed for AHA course materials, do not represent income to the
Thursday, May 21 (1:00 pm -- 5:00 pm)
Empowering Ourselves to Optimal Health through ComplemenBasic Life Support CPR Renewal Course: This course is designed tary and Alternative Medicine: Complementary and Alternative
for healthcare providers to learn how to save a life. The course Medicine promotes optimal health by offering patients many self
provides information for assessing, planning, implementing, and care modalities that will encourage a lifetime of wellness and
evaluation during cardio-pulmonary emergencies. In this course, "build a healthy, vibrant and resilient nation." Please join us and
you’ll learn how to: recognize the signals of heart attack and experience Yoga, Qi-Gong (moving meditation), nutrition
take appropriate actions, perform one and two rescuer CPR, gain demonstration, mindfulness meditation, acupressure, and Reiki
early access to Emergency Medical Services (EMS), recognize Self-Care. Enlighten yourself to your bodies own self-healing and
and respond to sudden unexpected death, assist a choking adult, self-regulating abilities.
child or infant victim and perform adult, child and infant CPR.
Commissioned Officers Association
Commissioned Officers Foundation
Acknowledges Donations Received February 16-March 15, 2015
FRIENDS (cont’d.)
RADM Jerrold M. Michael, (Ret.)
CAPT Rick P. Stallkamp, (Ret.)*
CAPT Ronald C. Varsaci*
RADM Robert C. Williams, (Ret.)
CDR Steven D. Dittert*
Mr. J. Lloyd Johnson*
CAPT Rebecca L. Sheets
LCDR Hamet M. Toure*
CAPT Holly A. Williams**
RADM Robert C. Williams, (Ret.)
*Matthew Tarosky Memorial Fund
**C. Everett Koop Living Legacy
Donations Can be Made
at Several Levels:
Leadership Society ....
President’s Society .... $5,000
Founder’s Society .... $2,500
Platinum .... $1,000
Gold .... $500
Silver .... $250
Bronze .... $100
to donate online today!
CAPT George A. Durgin, Jr.
CAPT John J. Henderson, (Ret.)
CDR James L. Kenney, III
CAPT Dianne T. McRae, (Ret.)**
CAPT Charlotte A. Spires
April 2015 - Frontline
2015 Elections—COA Board of Directors
he PHS Officers who serve as COA Directors have an important job. Throughout their terms, through active participation on
committees and in board meetings, they identify issues and problems for the Board’s consideration. Their many hours of hard
work help to accomplish the goals and mission of the organization. Their work is uncompensated but greatly appreciated.
COA’s Board of Directors includes one member from each of these eleven categories: Dental, Dietitian, Engineer, Environmental
Health, Health Services, Medical, Nurse, Pharmacist, Scientist, Therapist, and Veterinarian. The Board also includes three Retired
officers and three Field Officers. Board terms are for three years, beginning on July 1. Vacancies currently exist in six categories:
Dental Officer, Engineer Officer, EHO Officer, Field Officer, Retired Officer, and Scientist Officer (below are the nominee profiles).
COA bylaws stipulate that only current active duty, retired, inactive reserve, and life members of COA are permitted to vote.
Please review the candidates’ profiles and make your selections using the convenient online ballot @ by May 2, 2015.
In many cases, contested vacancies are won by a mere handful of votes. Your vote does count – please use it! Vote today for the
PHS officers who will help guide your COA for the next three years.
Current PHS Position: Senior Health Service Officer/ USCG-Sector Columbia River
Previous PHS Positions: Senior Dental
Officer/USCG TRACEN Petaluma, ChiefBasic Satellite/ IHS, Nixon, NV Dental
Officer/IHS, Whiteriver, AZ
Related Professional Activities:
Immediate Past Chairman- DePAC; Past
President-Northern Nevada Dental Society; Past Committee Chairman- Nevada
Dental Society; ADA Committee on Membership
my assignments with the Indian Health
Service, Ready Reserve Corps and currently the U.S. Coast Guard. I think I offer a
well-rounded perspective that my career
experiences have provided me. The advocacy provided by the Commissioned Officers Association is vital to our continued
operations. It is our strongest voice in
strengthening the Commissioned Corps. I
will strive to represent our Dental Officers
and the challenges we face. I look forward to the future of the Commissioned
Corps of the USPHS. It would be my honor
to continue to serve this committee in the
aforementioned position. I thank you for
your service and your consideration of my
I hereby acknowledge my understanding
PHS Awards/Honors Received: CPO’s of the COA Board participation guidelines
Exemplary Service Award, USCG Commen- and I am willing to abide by them.
dation, PHS Citation, PHS Outstanding
Unit, USCG Meritorious Unit, PHS Unit
Citation (5), Special Assignment Award, EHO
National Defense Service Award, Crisis
Response Service Award, Isolated Hardship (2)
COA Offices Held:
Current PHS Position: Environmental
National: Board of Directors 2014/2015
Meeting: Dental Day Planning Committee Health Scientist at ATSDR
2011, Chair-2012, 2013
Previous PHS Positions: Technical Project
Position Statement: Please accept this Officer at ATSDR; Health Assessor at
nomination as my interest in continuing to ATSDR
serve as the Dental Representative on the
COA Board of Directors. I have been for- Related Professional Activities: Environtunate to work with many fine officers in
Commissioned Officers Association
mental Health Officers Professional Advisory Committee (EHOPAC) – total of 9
years of service among various roles
including: Chair, Vice-Chair, Marketing
and Recruitment Subcommittee Chair,
Training Subcommittee Chair, Associate
Recruiter Lead, JOAG liaison. Junior
Officer Advisory Group (JOAG) – total of 3
years of service including Executive Committee Secretary and EHO Category Liaison. Other activities include JRCOSTEP
Preceptor and Mentor for 3 EHOs.
COA Offices Held: Local: Member; National; Member
Position Statement: I would like to be
considered for the Environmental Health
Officer category representative on the
COA Board of Directors. I am currently
serving as Chair Ex-Officio for the EHOPAC
in an advisory capacity which ends December 2015. After nine years of serving
my category through the PAC, I would
love to transition to a Corps-wide activity
that could benefit from my experience
with the EHOPAC and from my perspective as a previous PAC Chair. I am very
interested in serving the USPHS Commissioned Corps in this broader capacity and
becoming involved in the national issues
regarding legislation and policy so that we
can strengthen and protect the Commissioned Corps and our officers. I am very
detail-oriented and organized, as well as
experienced with leading committees and
(Nominations, cont’d. on p. 11)
(Nominations, cont’d. from p. 10)
workgroups brought together to achieve began my career in the USPHS Commisa common goal. Thank you for consider- sioned Corps. I have served in the COA
ing me for this important position.
Membership Committee for a year and
have worked on assisting local branches
I hereby acknowledge my understanding to increase their membership. In my time
of the COA Board participation guidelines as an officer, I have seen many changes
to the USPHS Commissioned Corps and I
and I am willing to abide by them.
have seen COA drive those changes and
push for policies and legislature to bene*LCDR DANIELLE MILLS
fit the officers of the Corps. I hope to
Current PHS Position: Industrial Hygien- continue to assist local branches and conist, Environmental Public Health Readi- tinue work in an organization that is so
important to the officers of the USPHS
ness Branch, CDC (2015)
Commissioned Corps.
Previous PHS Positions: Environmental
Health Officer, Office of Environmental
Health Emergencies, CDC (2012-2015);
Industrial Hygienist, Office of Safety,
Health, and Environment, CDC (20082012); Investigator, Detroit District Office,
FDA (2007-2008); Environmental Health
Officer, Lawton Service Unit, Oklahoma
Area, IHS (2004-2007); JrCOSTEP Environmental Health Officer, Office of Environmental Health and Engineering, Headquarters East, IHS (2003): and JrCOSTEP
Environmental Health Officer, Oklahoma
Area Office, Oklahoma Area, IHS (2002).
Citation (2); PHS Unit Commendation (5);
USN Meritorious Unit Commendation;
USCG Meritorious Unit Commendation;
USCG Meritorious Team Commendation;
PHS Special Assignment Award; PHS Crisis
Response Service Award (4); PHS Response Service Award; USN Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service
Medal (2); Armed Forces Expeditionary
Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service
Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal;
Humanitarian Service Medal; USN Sea
Service Deployment Ribbon, PHS Commissioned Corps Training Ribbon; USN
Expert Rifleman Medal, USN Expert Pistol
I hereby acknowledge my understanding Shot Medal; PHS Field Medical Readiness
of the COA Board participation guidelines Badge; PHS Associate Recruiter Badge;
EHOPAC John C. Eason Award; EPA Serand I am willing to abide by them.
vice Recognition Award; and the USN
Groener Preventive Medicine Award.
Current PHS Position: Occupational Safety & Health Program Manager, National
Park Service, Office of Risk Management,
Washington, DC
COA Offices Held:
Local: Tidewater
Branch – Secretary/Correspondent (20042007); Meeting: Category Day Presenter
(x2), Session Speaker, Poster Presenter
Previous PHS Positions: Industrial
Hygienist (EPA), Washington, DC; Safety
& Environmental Health Officer (USCG),
Related Professional Activities: Career Norfolk, VA; Consumer Safety Officer
Development Subcommittee Member, (FDA), Atlanta, GA
EHOPAC; Active Member, Atlanta COA;
Member, National COA Membership Related Professional Activities: EHOPAC
Alternate Voting Member; EHOPAC Subcommittees: Mentoring & Orientation,
PHS Awards/Honors Received: 1 Marketing & Recruitment, Emergency
Commendation Medal; 2 Achievement Response;
Medals; 1 PHS Citation; 4 Outstanding
1 IndustriUnit Citations; 3 Unit Commendations; 1
Special Assignment Award; 1 Crisis ReCorps,
Altersponse Service Awards; Commissioned
ComCorps Training Ribbon; Field Medical
Readiness Badge
Welcoming; JOAG COSTEP Connection
COA Offices Held: Local: Treasurer, Workgroup; PHS Associate Recruiter; EHO
Southwest Oklahoma Branch COA 2005- Appointment Board Member; APHA Oc2007; Promotion Ceremony Planner, At- cupational Health Section: Peer Reviewer
lanta COA, 2009; A&C Dinner Planner, and Initiative Workgroup Member; and
Atlanta COA, 2009, 2010; Treasurer, Guest Lecturer University of Maryland
School of Public Health.
Atlanta COA, 2011
Position Statement: I believe the work
that COA does is crucial for the future of
the USPHS Commissioned Corps. I have
been actively involved in COA since I
Position Statement: I believe that the
Commissioned Officers Association is the
vital binding force that ties the Commissioned Corps and its officers together.
The Public Health Service is unique. Unlike the other uniformed services where
officers work together day-in and day-out
within the same organization, our members are dispersed across the country and
world supporting public health in a wide
range of agencies and jobs. I have found
the services provided by COA to be critical for maintaining a sense of community
and camaraderie. The Local Branches
provide opportunities for officers to
socialize, share information and experiences, and to volunteer. COA’s national
training activities support professional
development, and the association’s legislative efforts ensure that our officers are
treated equitably. The COA Board of Directors, supported by the COA National
office staff, serves as a much-needed
common voice. As a board member, I will
PHS Awards/Honors Received: PHS Com- work tirelessly and dedicate myself to
mendation Medal; USCG Commendation being an advocate for all officers.
Medal; USN Achievement Medal; USCG
Achievement Medal (2); USCG Presiden- I hereby acknowledge my understanding
tial Unit Citation; PHS Outstanding Unit
(Nominations, cont’d. on p. 12)
April 2015 - Frontline
(Nominations, cont’d. from p. 11)
of the COA Board participation guidelines PHS Awards/Honors Received: RADM
and I am willing to abide by them.
Jerrold M. Michael Award, (2) Achievement Metals, (3) PHS Citations (2)
Outstanding Unit Citations (18) Unit ComENGINEER
mendations, Special Assignment Award,
(3) Crisis Response Service Ribbons,
National Emergency Preparedness Award,
Recruitment Service Ribbon, Bicentennial
Unit Commendation, Commissioned
Current and Previous PHS Positions: Corps Training Ribbon and Field Medical
Senior Program Management Officer Con- Readiness Badge
sultant in FDA, CDRH, Office of Science
and Engineering Laboratories; Also served COA Offices Held: Currently serving on
as Senior Regulatory Operations Officer in the National COA Board of Directors and
FDA, ORA, Office of Regional Operations, Chair of the Awards Committee; PresiDivision of Field Investigations. The same dent, District of Columbia Metropolitan
title for two other positions in the FDA, Area Branch, 2008-2010 (2 Terms); SecreCDRH Office of Compliance. Started tary, District of Columbia Metropolitan
career in USPHS as a Computer Program- Area Branch, 2005-2006 (1 Term)
mer Analyst in FDA, CDRH, Office of Compliance,
Management Position Statement:
My passion is
Information; Major deployments included improving the mentoring programs availaHurricane Ike at Reed Arena in College ble to PHS officers. I have extensive expeStation, Texas (RDF-1), Hurricane Rita at rience in program evaluation and
FEMA JOC in Austin, Texas, Orange Alert knowledge management systems. My
in New York City (PHS-1 DMAT), Home- vision is to influence the Board’s strategic
land Security (FEMA Headquarters in priorities and focus on the following three
Washington, D.C.) (CCRF), World Trade initiatives: 1) web based educational proCenter (PHS-1 DMAT), and - Pentagon grams, 2) networking tools for connecting
Response (PHS-1 DMAT)
with mentors (advisors), and 3) signifiRelated Professional Activities: Engineer
Professional Advisory Committee (EPAC)
Voting Member, (2008-2012), Chair, Mentoring Subcommittee, 2010 – 2011, Project Manager, Corps-wide evaluation of
mentoring programs available for PHS
Officers, Coordinator, 2008 PHS Leadership Development Seminar (San Antonio,
Texas); FDA’s White Oak Commissioned
Corps Advisory Group (WOCCAG), CDRH
Representative and Founding Member,
2005-2008, Chair, Amenities Committee,
2008-2010; Food and Drug Administration
Alumni Association (FDAAA), Associate
Member Liaison to the Board of Directors,
(2009 to present); Society of American
Military Engineers (SAME), Vice President
and National Committee Chair for Readiness, 2002-2004 (2 Terms); Association of
Military Surgeons of the Uniformed
Services (AMSUS), National Committee
Member for Annual Awards Dinner, 2003
- 2008
cantly expanding the COA awards program. The reality is that the OSG, PACs
and Advisory Groups are all significantly
challenged to add value to commissioned
leadership development and career development. National COA is in the best position to can make a difference in maturing
an officer’s individual action plan. With
the introduction of cloud based solutions,
COA can more effectively implement its
mission to promote the Commissioned
Corps and its officers by providing a
knowledge management system that
would be impossible for the Federal
Agencies to procure.
Previous PHS Positions: IT Specialist
Related Professional Activities: Commissioned Officers Association (COA)
(National): Health Service Representative,
COA (Baltimore): President, Vice President, Branch Committee Chair; Volunteered with the COA during the USPHS
Symposium for a Pre-Conference Outreach Activity at New Hope Academy by
providing assistance with rehabbing the
school by painting, improving the exterior
PHS Awards/Honors Received: Hazardous Duty, Achievement Medal, Field
Medical Readiness Badge, Crisis Response
Service Award, PHS Unit Commendation,
Health Information Technology/Computer
Science Specialist of the Year Award, Regular Corps, PHS Training Service, TIME
Magazine Person of the Year Award
COA Offices Held: Local: COA (Baltimore):
President, Vice President, Branch Committee Chair
Position Statement:
As the current
President of the BCOA, I have shown my
dedication and unyielding support of my
field, my position, and all associated COA
initiatives. This was confirmed by receiving the Health Information Technology
Officer of the year award (field), securing
a major $18+ million contract for the Recovery Audit Contractor Data Warehouse,
as the Contracting Officer Representative
(COR) Level II (my current position), and
being nominated and selected as local
branch President, Vice President, and
Branch Committee Chair, all within joining
the membership in August 2012, and being commissioned into the PHS in April
2012. I display esprit de corps in all that I
do and exemplify an unwavering devotion
to improving public health on any level,
including the entire Commissioned Corps
of the United States Public Health Service
with the Baltimore Commissioned Officers
I hereby acknowledge my understanding
of the COA Board participation guidelines
Current PHS Position: Health Insurance and I am willing to abide by them.
Specialist (IT Project Officer)
(Nominations, cont’d. on p. 13)
Commissioned Officers Association
(Nominations, cont’d. from p. 12)
Current PHS Position: Senior Epidemiologist, Western States Office, National
Institute for Occupational Safety and
Health, Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), Denver, CO
Previous PHS Positions: Senior Epidemiologist, Quarantine and Border Health
Services Branch, CDC, Atlanta, GA; Training Team Lead and Field Officer Supervisor, Epidemic Intelligence Service, CDC,
Atlanta, GA; Preventive Medicine Fellow,
Field Epidemiology Training Program, CDC,
Atlanta, GA; Epidemic Intelligence Officer
assigned to the Colorado Department of
Public Health and Environment, CDC,
Denver, CO
Related Professional Activities: Veterinary Professional Advisory Committee (Jan
2011 to Dec 2013); Public Information
Subcommittee Chair; developed monthly
newsletter (Jan 2012 to Dec 2013); Atlanta Commissioned Officers Association
Honor Cadre member (Sep 2011 to Feb
PHS Awards/Honors Received: Achievement Medal (Oct 2010 & 2012); Unit
Commendation (Feb 2011; Oct 2013); Outstanding Citation (Aug 2010); Special Assignment Award (Apr 2014); Hazardous
Duty Award (Jan 2011); PHS Junior Veterinarian of the Year (Mar 2011)
COA Offices Held: No COA Offices held to
Position Statement: Throughout my PHS
career, I have been a Field Officer or
worked closely with Field Officers. I have
seen firsthand the challenges involved
with being a Field Officer like feeling disconnected from other Officers and leadership. On the flip side, as a supervisor for
Field Officers, I have seen the issues that
leadership encounters when supporting
these Officers and trying to ensure that
they feel heard. I would relish the opportunity to formally represent Field Officers
on the COA Board of Directors and to
work with local COA branches to better
understand the specific challenges their
members in the field face as the Corps Phoenix Branch, July 2014-2015; Vicecontinues to grow and transform.
President Phoenix Branch, July 2013-2014
I also feel strongly about the need to
increase the visibility of PHS among other
Uniformed Services, federal agencies,
public health authorities, and the general
public, so that the value our Service adds
is better understood. Because my call-toactive-duty date was also the date that
mandatory daily uniform wear was implemented, some refer to me as “new
Corps.” This makes sense to me as there
has been great progress in Corps transformation since I joined and I am eager to be
involved in further shaping the future of
PHS as a COA Board of Directors member.
Position Statement: I am respectfully
submitting my name as a nominee for the
Field Officer position with the National
COA Board Members. I have been an active participant in the Local Phoenix
Branch COA, serving as the Vice President
and President over the past two years. It
has been a fun and rewarding position and
I would love the opportunity to be more
actively involved and allow me to better
serve my Local Branch as the past presidential advisor while also advancing my
knowledge and supporting the National
COA Board. I have requested and was authorized supervisory approval to particiI hereby acknowledge my understanding pate as a National COA member. Thank
of the COA Board participation guidelines you for your time and consideration of my
request to become a National COA Field
and I am willing to abide by them.
I hereby acknowledge my understanding
Current PHS Position: 1/15-Present Clini- of the COA Board participation guidelines
cal Specialist Phoenix Indian Medical and I am willing to abide by them.
Previous PHS Positions: Location: 2/12 to
1/15 Deputy Chief Therapist Phoenix Indi- Current PHS Position: Regional Training
an Medical Center; 1/12 to 2/12 Clinical Officer Pacific Region/FDA/Office of ReguSpecialist Phoenix Indian Medical Center; latory Affairs (ORA)
2008 Chief Therapist Bureau of Prisons,
Tucson, AZ; 2005 Clinical Specialist Indian Previous PHS Positions Consumer Safety
Health Service, Zuni, NM
Officer FDA/ORA/Pacific Region/Seattle
District/Puget Sound Resident Post 2003Related Professional Activities: Chairman 2005; Training Specialist Indian Health
Advisor for Therapist Category Education Service/Phoenix Indian Medical Center
Day, COF/COA 2014 Therapist Education 1999-2003; Clinical Pharmacist Indian
Day; Chairperson Therapist Category Edu- Health Service/Phoenix Indian Medical
cation Day 2013 COF/COA Planning Center 1996-1999
Related Professional Activities: Pharmacy
PHS Awards/Honors Received: PHS Mentor 2003 to present; Pharm PAC UniUSPHS Citation, 2014; PHS USPHS Com- versity Point of Contact, FDA/ORA AD HOC
mendation Medal, 2012; PHS USPHS CC Billet Committee, April 2014 to 2015,
Achievement Medal, 2009; PHS USPHS Promotion Year 2009 Pharmacy BenchUnit Commendation, 2009, 2011, 2013, mark Sub Committee, 2007; Pharmacy
2013, 2014; Special Assignment Award Special Pay Workgroup, 2007; Associate
2010; Recruitment Service Ribbon 2009; Recruiter, 2003 to present; Pharmacist
Hazardous Duty Award, 2009; Isolated Professional Advisory Recruitment subHardship Ribbon, 2005; Commissioned committee Executive Lead, 2003 to 2006;
COA Evergreen Pharmacist to accompany
Corps Training Ribbon, 2005
VADM Carmona for American PharmaceuCOA Offices Held: Local: President tical Association Annual Meeting Key Note
Address, 2004
(Nominations, cont’d. on p. 14)
April 2015 - Frontline
(Nominations, cont’d. from p. 13)
PHS Awards/Honors Received: Special
Assignment Award 2010;Unit Commendation (PHS) 2013, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008,
2006, 2003, 2001, 1999; FDA Group
Recognition Award 2010, 2009, 2008;
Commendation Medal (PHS) 2006, FDA
Commissioner’s Special Citation 2004;
Achievement Medal (PHS) 2002, 2000;
Outstanding Unit Commendation (PHS)
2007, PHS Citation 1997
Current PHS Position: Biomedical Maintenance and Equipment Manager - CDC
*Previous PHS Positions: Engineering
Analyst – FDA Biomedical Engineer - BOP
*Related Professional Activities: JOAG
Awards Committee Co-Chair; Oct., 2014 –
Present JOAG Voting Member; Oct., 2014
COA Offices Held: Local: Community - Present
Service Chair, Golden Gate Chapter 2006,
Executive Member, Evergreen Chapter PHS Awards/Honors Received: Commen2003-2005, Treasurer, Phoenix Chapter dation Medal – BOP Hazardous Duty
1998; National: None; Meeting: Precon- Award (2) – Ebola Response MMU Teamference Committee Meeting Member 1, BOP Response Service Award – Unac2014, 2015; Basic Life Support Training companied Alien Children Mission,
Instructor/Coordinator 2015, 2014, 2013, Nogales, AZ
2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2000; Pharmacist
Category Day Presenter 2010; Scientific COA Offices Held: Local: Resource allocaContributed Paper Presentation and Post- tion Committee Chair – NCCOA April 2012
er 2008, 2006; Papers Poster Session - August 2013
2008, 2006, 2001, 2000
Position Statement: LT Abraham Marrero
Position Statement: I would like to self- is a prior service Commissioned Corps
nominate myself to be considered for the officer who is a leader first. As a leader he
Field Office (outside of DC) seat on the happens to have an Engineering Degree
COA Board of Directors. I have spent my and happens to be a Junior Officer. LT
entire USPHS career in the field starting Marrero does not let any perceived limitawith Indian Health Service in Phoenix, AZ, tions these labels place on him and
and then moving to FDA in Seattle, WA routinely takes on higher levels of responand Oakland, CA. I have been involved sibility quickly earning respect and
with the local Commissioned Officer Asso- accolades from Senior officers and Superciation since 1996 based on my duty visory staff. His diverse experience and
station. As a junior officer I was involved professional association activities create a
with the USPHS Scientific and Training well-rounded Field Representation of all
Symposium held in Phoenix, Arizona in junior officers in the Commissioned Corps.
Related Professional Activities: NPAC
Chair (2010-11); NPAC Mentoring
Committee (2009-present); NPAC Voting;
Retention (2008-09); NPAC Strategic Planning Committee, Team Lead (2007-08);
AMSUS Planning Committee, member
(2007-08); Team Lead, WPDG for Recruitment (2007-08); Planning Committee for
Global Health Summit II, member (200607); Aide-de-Camp to RADM WilliamsAMSUS Conference (2006); Junior Officer
Advisory Group (JOAG), Chair (2006-07);
NPAC Esprit de Corps Committee,
member (2005-06); Policy and Procedure
Committee Chair, JOAG (2005-06); Member, JOAG (2004-05)
PHS Awards/Honors Received: Outstanding Service Medal (2014); Recruitment
Service Award (2014); Commendation
Medal (2013); Unit Commendation
(2013); Unit Commendation (2012); Special Assignment Award (2011); Unit Commendation (2011); Unit Commendation
(2011); Special Assignment Award (2010);
Unit Commendation (2010); Unit Commendation (2009); Recruitment Service
Award(2009); Unit Commendation (2009);
Crisis Response Service Award (2008);
Unit Commendation (2008); Office of the
Secretary off HHS-ID Badge (2008); Unit
Commendation (2007); Special Assignment Award (2007); Field Medical Readiness Badge (2007); Outstanding Unit
Citation(2007); Meritorious Unit Commendation (USN/2007); Global Response
Award(2007); Isolated Hardship Award
(2006); Commendation Medal (2006);
I hereby acknowledge my understanding Achievement Medal (2006); Humanitarian
of the COA Board participation guidelines Service Medal (USN/2006); Crisis Response Service Award (2006); Hazardous
and I am willing to abide by them.
Duty Service Award (2005); Foreign Duty
Service Award (2005); Achievement Med*CDR THOMAS PRYOR
al (USN/2005); Global War on Terrorism
Current PHS Position: Policy Analyst Service Medal (USN/2005); Commissioned
Corps Training Ribbon (2004)
2000. I worked with the Commissioned
Corps Readiness Force (CCRF) now the
Readiness and Deployment Operations
Group to provide Basic Life Support Training for officers attending the 2000 Symposium. This evolved and expanded for me
to become part of the Preconference
Committee Planning for 2010, 2013, 2014
and 2015 Symposiums. I would be a valuable addition to the COA Board of
Previous PHS Positions: Call to Active
Duty (CAD) Team Lead (OASH); RecruitI hereby acknowledge my understanding ment Specialist (OASH); Public Health
of the COA Board participation guidelines Nurse (IHS); Intensive Care Nurse (IHS).
and I am willing to abide by them.
COA Offices Held: Local: BCOA Subcommittee Chair (2014-present); BCOA Member (2011-2014); PIMC Member (200305). National: COA Chapter Subcommittee
(2014-present); JOAG liaison to the COA
Board of Directors (2005-2006); Meeting:
(Nominations, cont’d. on p. 15)
Commissioned Officers Association
(Nominations, cont’d. from p. 14)
COF Scientific Symposium and Training
Planning Committee, Communications
Chair (2010-12) and Member (2008-09);
Nurse Category Day Planning Committee
for COF (2006-07)
Position Statement: Over the past 12
years, I have had the opportunity to both
Serve and later lead various committees
and organizations within the United
States Public Health Service. These experiences have prepared me to best serve the
needs of the COA Board at this time in my
career. In serving the COA organization,
its leadership and members, I am committed to advancing the COA current strategic plan and objectives. Furthermore, I
seek to collaborate with my colleagues to
provide sustained leadership and growth
of the organization. Moreover, I look forward to the opportunity to share and
implement new ideas that will further
facilitate COA stakeholder engagement
while promoting the story of one of the
best kept secrets of the Nation-the United
States Public Health Service.
I (Thomas Pryor) hereby acknowledge my
understanding of the COA Board participation guidelines and I am willing to abide
by them.
Current PHS Position: Public Health Program Manager at Yosemite National Park
Previous PHS Positions: Staff Program
Management Officer at CDC
outstanding accomplishments at CDC;
numerous Military Awards and Honors
COA Offices Held: Local: Atlanta COA
Voting Member 2009 to 2011. Active with
Golden Gate Chapter; National: Currently
serving on Communications Committee
for National COA. Meetings: 2009 HSO
Category Day Speaker and HSO Category
Planner; 2010, JOAG COF Symposium
Committee Planner, HSO Category Day
Presenter; 2013, Speaker, HSO Category
Day Planner, and HSO Category Day Presenter; 2014, HSO Category Day Presenter
and HSO Category Day Planner. Helped
organize PHS-wide socials during the 2010
COA Symposium; 2015: COF Symposium
approved for speaker during track session
and HSO Category Day
Position Statement: I am a dedicated
USPHS Commissioned Corps officer who is
committed to public health, my community, and who serves my community of PHS
officer to the best of my ability. Since my
commissioning in 2009, I have been
involved as an active member of Local
COA Branches in Atlanta and Yosemite. I
have been involved at the COF Symposiums as a speaker, planner, and organizer.
I served as a voting member of the Atlanta COA coordinating monthly workshops
and presentations for PHS officers. I have
created PHS welcome guides for the HSO
category and for the CDC’s Commission
Corp Office. As a staff program management officer at CDC’s Commission Corps
Office from 2009 to 2011, I dedicated
myself to provide the best information to
my fellow officers. I have also coordinated
and planned numerous PHS events
through JOAG and as a HSO. Lastly, I am
an effective communicator, planner, and
organizer and willing to go above and
beyond to serve my fellow PHS officers. I
am deeply honored to be considered for
this position.
Current position: Retired PHS Pharmacist, Consultant in Certification and
Accreditation, Brookeville, MD
Previous PHS positions: Clinical and
administrative pharmacist (1967-1981);
Division of Commissioned Personnel
(1981-1988); FDA, Office of Orphan Products Development (1988-1990; 19921997); Director, Division of Commissioned
Personnel (1990-1992); Chief Pharmacist
Officer (1992-1996)
Related Professional Activities: Executive
Director, Board of Pharmacy Specialties
(1997-2010); Member and President,
Council on Credentialing in Pharmacy
(1998-2010); Council member and Lead
Accreditation Assessor, American National
Standards Institute (2004-present); Independent consultant on multidisciplinary
health professional and other personnel
certification processes (2011-present);
Member, COA and several professional
and civic organizations and boards (1967present)
PHS Awards/Honors Received: Surgeon
General‘s Medallion (1996); PHS Distinguished Service Medal (1996); PHS Meritorious Service Medal (1992 & 1984); PHS
Outstanding Service Medal (1989); several
other PHS awards
COA Offices Held: Member, COA Board of
Directors: (1978-1984; 1999-2005; 20122015); Member, COF Board of Trustees
(2000-2005; 2012-2015); COA Board Chair
(2001-2002); Co-chair, COA Continuing
Education Committee: (2004-present);
Chair, COF Education Committee (20122015); Member of several ad-hoc work
groups and committees (1980-present)
Related Professional Activities: Atlanta
COA Voting Member from 2009 to 2011;
California Environmental Health Association Member and Treasurer for the Central Valley Chapter; Voting member of
PHPAG and Chair of Awards subcommittee; Member of PHPAG Health Promotion Subcommittee; PHS Athletics work
I hereby acknowledge my understanding
of the COA Board participation guidelines Position Statement: I have been a proud
and involved member of COA for nearly
PHS Awards/Honors Received: OUC for and I am willing to abide by them.
50 years. During my first year of active
Yosemite Hantavirus Outbreak Response;
duty, the Corps came under attack, and
OUC and CRSA for responding to the
Hurricane Sandy event in New
Jersey; USPHS Achievement Award for
(Nominations, cont’d. on p. 16)
April 2015 - Frontline
(Nominations, cont’d. from p. 15)
that situation has continued at some level
ever since. As active duty, inactive reserve, or retired officers, the COA has
been our single constant advocate –
allowing us to contribute to the health of
Americans and people in need around the
world. In a sometimes hostile political
environment, the COA has our back, and it
needs the ongoing support of a knowledgeable
membership. I can bring to the COA Board
the experience of three periods of
Board membership (including Board
chairmanship), and long familiarity with
the politics of federal health care. I was
closely involved in the last two selection
processes for a COA Executive Director,
and have a track record of working well
with COA staff and other Board members.
The COA and its Foundation have Boards
of excellent quality, and going forward
they will need members with broad
leadership experience, demonstrated
management skill, and dedication to the
PHS Commissioned Corps. I would be privileged to continue to serve the COA and
its members on the COA and COF Boards.
I understand and am willing to abide by
the COA Board Participation Guidelines.
Current PHS Position: N/A; Retired
Previous PHS Positions: Director, Regulatory Operations, Center for Biologics
Evaluation and Research, FDA; Pharmacist
Director, Center for Biologics Evaluation
and Research, FDA; Scientific Reviewer,
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research,
Related Professional Activities: Licensed
Pharmacist; Military Officers Association
of America (MOAA); Association of Military Surgeons of US (AMSUS); Cofounder
and first President, Society of FDA
Pharmacists; FDA Alumni Association
(FDAAA) Charter Member; Sigma Xi Research Society; Drug Information Association (DIA); Regulatory Affairs Professional
Society (RAPS); Who’s Who in America;
Who’s Who in the World; Who’s Who in
Science and Medicine.
the BOD and membership to continue the
mission and support and promote the
PHS Awards/Honors Received:
PHS COA strategic plan and goals.
Meritorious Service Medal for exemplary
performance of duty (10 May 2002): I hereby acknowledge my understanding
Created one of the first MS degrees in of the COA Board participation guidelines
Regulatory Affairs in US at San Diego State and I am willing to abide by them.
University (SDSU); PHS Achievement Medal for exemplary performance of duty (15
Nov 2000); PHS “The Outstanding Unit SCIENTIST
Citation” for exemplary performance of
duty (2 May 2001); PHS “The Outstanding *CDR DIANA ELSON
Unit Citation” for exemplary performance
of duty 17 Jun 1997); PHS Citation (Sep 18,
Current PHS Position: Unit Chief, Public
1991); PHS “The Unit Commendation” for
Health, Safety, and Preparedness,
exemplary performance of duty (26 Jun
1987); PHS “The Unit Commendation” for
exemplary performance of duty (3 May
Previous PHS Positions: Director, Office
1994); PHS “The Crisis Response Service
of Research and Evaluation, HHS/OS/
Award” (14 Feb 2002) for protecting critiOPHS/Office of Population Affairs; Epidecal biologicals during “9/11” attack on
miologist & Senior Epidemiologist, DHS/
Washington, DC, Sep 11, 2001; USPHS
ICE/Division of Immigration Health
“Retirement Certificate” acknowledgeServices
ment of duty faithfully performed (1 Apr
Related Professional Activities: SciPAC:
Policy Subcommittee (2009-present),
COA Offices Held: Local, None; National,
Mentoring Subcommittee (2007-2013),
None; Meeting: None
Science Subcommittee (2010), Awards
Subcommittee (2009); USPHS EpidemioloPosition Statement: I would be honored
gy Interest Group (Co-Chair); USG Latin
to serve on the Board of Directors (BOD),
America and Caribbean-Ebola Virus
Commissioned Officers Association of the
Disease Contingency Plan Workgroup;
USPHS. I have been a member of COA for
United States-Mexico Border Tuberculosis
37 years and fully support the purposes
and mission of this important organizaWorkgroup (Co-Chair with Mexican countion. The COA plays a key role and proterpart); Advisory Council for the Eliminavides a valuable service to all PHS officers
tion of Tuberculosis (Ex-Officio member);
thru legislative advocacy on behalf of the
Federal Tuberculosis Task Force; National
PHS Commissioned Corps. COA along with
the Commissioned Officers Foundation
Corrections Committee; Federal Correcoffers its Annual Scientific and Training
tional Infection Prevention and Control
Symposium which is an important venue
Consortium (Chair); Uniformed Services
for the exchange of scientific ideas, to
University Alumni Association Awards
foster collaborations, and recognize the
Committee; peer reviewer for scientific
accomplishments of our peers.
If elected, I would dedicate my efforts to
support and promote the following
themes: Support the local COA Branches,
be a strong advocate of the Commissioned
Corps, work to strengthen the visibility
and vitality of the many contributions of
the Commissioned Corps, and encourage
membership in COA. I would work with
PHS Awards/Honors Received: Outstanding Service Medal (‘14); Commendation
Medal (‘09, ‘05, ‘02); SciPAC Junior
Scientist of the Year (‘04); Achievement
Medal (‘02); Outstanding Unit Citation
(‘02); Unit Commendation (‘14, ‘12, ‘11,
‘11,’10, ‘10, ‘09, ‘06, ‘05, ‘04); Special Assignment Award (‘10); Crisis Response
(Nominations, cont’d. on p. 17)
Commissioned Officers Association
(Nominations, cont’d. from p. 16)
Service Award (‘02); Commissioned Corps access to high-quality healthcare in our
Training Ribbon (2002)
region. During this time, I witnessed the
value of COA to officers stationed around
COA Offices Held: National: Legislative the country, especially in remote locations. I would like to give back to COA by
and Benefits Committee (2012-present)
serving on the COA Board providing input
Position Statement: It has been an hon- from the perspective of Scientist and Junor for me to have served since 2012 as a ior Officer stationed in a field location.
member of the Legislative and Benefits
(L&B) Committee. Participation in the
L&B Committee has enhanced my understanding of the powerful advocacy that
COA pursues on behalf of USPHS Commissioned Officers. I hold deep respect
for the accomplishments of COA in supporting USPHS Officers, and in promoting
public health in our Nation. I would be
honored to further my commitment to
COA as a member of the Board.
their interest. The COA Board of Directors
provides a platform for such opportunities and I hope to take advantage of this
platform to strengthen membership, visibility, networking, and educate others on
the role Commissioned Corps officers
play in advancing public health.
I hereby acknowledge my understanding
I hereby acknowledge my understanding of the COA Board participation guidelines
of the COA Board participation guidelines
and I am willing to abide by them.
and I am willing to abide by them.
Current PHS Position: Policy Analyst,
Current PHS Position: Investigator with
Office of the Surgeon General, Division of
Food & Drug Administration
Commissioned Corps Personnel and
Readiness, Policy Group
Previous PHS Positions: I’ve held the
same position as an Investigator with the Previous PHS Positions: Senior Advisor to
Former Surgeon General, Dr. Regina M.
I hereby acknowledge my understanding FDA since commissioned into PHS
Benjamin (OSG), Program Analyst & Speof the COA Board participation guidelines
Related Professional Activities: Active cial Assistant to the ASH in the Office of
and I am willing to abide by them.
Member of Scientist Professional Adviso- the Assistant Secretary for Health
ry Committee (Career Development,
Science, and Category Day Subcom- Related Professional Activities: Member
Teams of: COA Strategic Planning Committee,
(National & Regional Incident Support Corps Women Issues Advisory Board,
(Epidemiologist with CDC/National InstiTeams), Women in Bio, Florida District DoD Institutional Review Board, DoD Militute for Occupational Safety and Health)
Quality of Work life & Diversity Com- tary Advisory Panel and former Advisory
mittee (FDA), Florida District Dietary Council Member for Military Officers
Previous PHS Positions: Senior Assistant
Supplement Program Monitor (FDA), At- Association of America
Scientist (Epidemic Intelligence Service
lanta District Field Alert Monitor for all
Officer [CDC])
quality defects of approved drugs (FDA)
PHS Awards/Honors Received: Surgeon
General Exemplary Service Medal (2013),
Related Professional Activities: Voting
Commendation Medal (2015, 2012) (2),
Commember- Junior Officer Advisory Group
Unit Commendation 2011 (3), 2010 (2),
2009; Response Service (2012, 2010);
Member- SciPAC Career Development
Prevention Strategy Workgroup), Com- Special Assignment (2010); Achievement
mendation Medal (Nominated; Lead a (2009)
PHS Awards/Honors Received: Achieve- Mass Seizure)
COA Offices Held: Local: N/A National:
ment Medal (2), Outstanding Unit CitaPlanning Committee for the 2015 MOLC
tion, Unit Commendation, Hazardous
Luncheon, COA Strategic Planning ComFlorida
MemDuty Service Award
ber Atlanta COA (2014-present); National: mittee Category Day Planning Committee
COA Offices Held: Local: West Virginia Member 2011-12, 2014 - present. for Scientist 2014 & 2015 Sponsor/
Branch Vice President (2012-2013), Presi- Meeting: Attended USPHS COA Scientific Exhibitor Committee 2015 Meeting: COA
dent (2013-2014), Lifetime COA Member Training Symposium in Atlanta, GA (June 2008 (COSTEP), 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012,
2009) as an approved applicant for the 2014
Position Statement: In my short time as Scientist Category prior to Call to Active
Position Statement: Standing ready to
a Commissioned Corps officer (4 years), Duty
support and advocate for all current and
COA has been of great assistance to my
I am looking past officers through leadership, commitfellow officers stationed in West Virginia. Position Statement:
I have worked with COA representatives forward to serving on the COA Board of ment, transparency. I hereby acknowas part of the West Virginia Commis- Directors to advance PHS Commissioned ledge my understanding of the COA
sioned Officers Association to improve Corps by supporting and advocating for Board participation guidelines and I am
willing to abide by them.
April 2015 - Frontline
COA Branch Activities
ACOA Officers Stay Active on the Atlanta Beltline
By LCDR Zewditu Demissie, USPHS
ine ACOA
nine of their
friends and family members, and
braved the chilly
weather to run/
walk the Eastside
Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine. This
event was created to support
officers’ physical
fitness and desire for camaraderie, and to align with the Surgeon General’s Every Body Walk!
Initiative and the National Prevention Strategy. Participants were
welcome to enjoy the full 4.5-mile round-trip trail or to stop at
any of the various access points or establishments along the
skateboarding, and other forms of non-motorized transport. It is
also stroller and pet friendly. CAPT John Iskander’s children
brought their unicycle, LT Rachael Cook was accompanied by her
husband and infant, and LCDR Jona Ogden brought along her
dog, Latte. After the activity, four officers and a guest had brunch
at 10th & Piedmont, a local restaurant near Piedmont Park.
The BeltLine provides residents and visitors with a new avenue
for getting around the city and has served as a desti-nation unto
itself. It seeks to transform Atlanta with a combination of rail,
trail, green space, housing, and art. The BeltLine is being built
upon an existing 22-mile historic rail corridor that encircles the
City of Atlanta. Once the project is completed, it will connect 45
in-town neighborhoods, connect to regional transportation initiatives, and boost Atlanta’s economic growth and sustainability.
The ultimate plan is to include pedestrian-friendly rail transit and
33 miles of multi-use trails along and connected to the corridor.
For more information, please visit: Atlanta BeltLine: http:// Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail:
trails/eastside-trail/ Surgeon General’s Every Body Walk! Initiative: NaThe Atlanta BeltLine provides a unique venue where the public tional Prevention Strategy:
has the opportunity to engage in physical activity. Small initiatives/prevention/strategy/
and large groups alike use the BeltLine for physical activity. The
trail supports walking/running, cycling, skating/blading,
CAPT Heidi Blanck Receives Distinguished Alumni Award
By LT Roberto C. Garza, USPHS
APT Heidi Blanck, ACOA member, recently received the
Emory University Graduate Division of Biological and
Biomedical Sciences (GDBBS) Distinguished Alumni Award.
CAPT Blanck was the first alumna from the Nutrition and
Health Sciences doctoral program to have received this
award. She presented a seminar to the university on her
work with the USPHS and CDC’s National Center for Chronic
Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP). CAPT
Blanck, a Scientist Officer and chief of the Obesity Branch in
CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity,
spoke about her work on community-based childhood obesity prevention. The award was presented to CAPT Blanck by
Dr. Lisa Tedesco, Dean of the James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies and GDBBS Director Dr. Keith Wilkinson at the 5th
Annual GDBBS Awards Gala in Atlanta.
Commissioned Officers Association
COA Branch Activities
Baltimore COA Branch Volunteers Answer the Call for the Maryland Food Bank
By LT Teisha Robertson and LCDR Jeannettee Joyner, USPHS
accounting for about 37 million meals annually. The mission of
the Food Bank is to “lead the movement and nurture the belief
that together we can improve the lives of Marylanders by ending hunger.” Since 1979, the Food Bank has fostered
relationships with the state government, food retailers,
manufacturers, distributors and corporations. These relationships are essential to the Food Bank as they offer a large
portion of the food they receive and distribute.
According to the Maryland Food Bank, about half-a million
people have reported their inability to obtain or access food.
This amounts to almost 1 in 8 individuals who experience hunger. The Food Bank employees take their mission very seriously
and create new ways to strengthen their distribution, food
sourcing as well as funding. It is the hope and dream of the
Food Bank that as a team they can end hunger in Maryland
and are dedicated to being key leaders in the movement.
n February 7, 2015, a team of nine Public Health Service
(PHS) officers volunteered their time at the Maryland
Food Bank located in Baltimore, MD. The event was hosted by
the Baltimore Branch of the Commissioned Officer Association
(BCOA), and was attended by PHS officers from the Maryland
Metropolitan area.
To support the Maryland Food Bank’s movement to end
hunger and in keeping with our mission of service to the comAccording to a recent article from CBS Baltimore earlier this munity as well as increase visibility of the USPHS, officers
month, “...there is a serious backlog of donations because volunteered their time and service for 4 hours at the main
there are fewer volunteers...the food bank is having a difficult warehouse, unpacking, sorting, verifying contents, and repacktime getting food to those who need it.” Volunteers are the ing donated foods and health/beauty kits prior to distribution
core of the Maryland Food Bank and aid with how quickly and from the Food Bank.
efficiently food is distributed to those individuals in need.
Overall, this was a great experience as officers were able to
The Maryland Food Bank is a non-profit hunger-relief organiza- contribute their time and resources to a noteworthy cause,
tion that has partnered with communities around the state to while working side by side with other individuals and commudeliver food to individuals and families in need statewide. The nity organizations. Opportunities still exist to help with this
Food Bank disseminates over 100,000 meals per day movement at various locations and times.
April 2015 - Frontline
COA Branch Activities
DC COA PACE Subcommittee Raise USPHS Visibility at Brown Station
Elementary School Career Day
By LT Shiny Mathew and LT Jonathan Leshin, USPHS
support for the registration of pesticides for the
Environmental Protection Agency.
Similarly, LT
Mathew discussed her role as a nonclinical reviewer
for new drugs for Psychiatric diseases, such as Major
Depressive Disorder, Schizophrenia, Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
and Autistic Spectrum Disorders, etc. at the Food and
Drug Administration.
(L-R) LT Jonathan Leshin and LT Shiny Mathew, USPHS
ommissioned Officers involved in DC COA Prevention
through Active Community Engagement (PACE) Subcommittee participated in the Brown Station Elementary School
Career Day. The event involved a number of community volunteers from all walks of life, and it was a moment of pride for
both LT Shiny Mathew and LT Jonathan Leshin to represent the
United States Public Health Service.
Prior to the event, the career day presenters gathered in the
Brown Station Elementary School library for light refreshments. LT Leshin and LT Mathew raised visibility through their
uniform wear, and they were able to discuss with other
presenters and staff about the USPHS Commissioned Corps’
leading efforts by USPHS in the Ebola deployments. LT Leshin
and LT Mathew were assigned to a room of 24 fifth graders.
The discussion started with a presentation on USPHS and the
Surgeon General’s National Prevention Strategy. The officers
talked about the scientist career tract and being an officer in
the USPHS Commissioned Corps by highlighting training and
education requirements and their impacts on national and
interational public health emergency responses. LT Leshin
discussed his role as a toxicologist who provides scientific
Afterwards, the students did a hands-on-activity to
show the importance of mucous in keeping us healthy
during flu and allergy season from viruses, pollen and
other inhaled allergens. The children made slime
using borax and glue. Glitter, which was used to simulate either bacteria or viruses, was spread on a table,
and the children used the slime, to pick up the simulated pathogens. The children were amazed at the
important role that mucous plays as part of our
body’s defense system.
This fun activity not only engaged the young minds,
but also allowed us to promote the public health message of
‘no smoking’ to children from a very young age. Furthermore,
the activity was highly effective in making it clear to the children that smoking harms their lungs and overall health by
impeding proper clearance of zoonotic diseases. The session
ended with handing out small FDA promotional materials to
the children once again reminding them about the plethora
of career opportunities in science available to them. The
school officials presented the officers with a small candle
lamp as a token of appreciation for lighting the way for
Brown Station Elementary School children.
This volunteer activity was just one of the opportunities
developed through the Prevention through Active Community Engagement (PACE) Program. The goals of PACE is to
enact the National Prevention Strategies through educational, civic and faith-based community outreach. For more information about being a volunteer, please see the fact sheet at
Commissioned Officers Association
COA Branch Activities
COA Fireweed Branch Informs Alaska Native Community About Flu
Prevention and Poison Control
By Southcentral Foundation Public Relations
officers – comprised of registered nurses, physician assistants
and pharmacists – provided information via two interactive
A flu prevention booth helped customers identify ways to
prevent the spread of germs by appropriately washing hands
and covering their mouth when they cough or sneeze.
Customers were also encouraged to get their flu vaccination
and sign a flu prevention pledge to protect themselves and their
family members against the flu.
A poison control booth informed customers on the potential
hazards medications can cause in the home when not taken or
stored properly. The booth also provided a striking visual display on different ways medication can be commonly confused
with similar looking candy.
The VNPCC located in the heart of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley
in Alaska serves approximately 8,000 customers. Southcentral
Foundation began serving customer-owners in 2007 with less
than 20 employees. A growing demand for services resulted in
the current 90,000-sq.-ft. building, which opened in Aug. 2012.
he Commissioned Officers Association (COA) Fireweed The building is owned and operated by Southcentral Foundation
Branch participated in the Benteh Nuutah Valley Native in partnership with Chickaloon Village Traditional Council and
Primary Care Center (VNPCC) community health fair. The Knik Tribal Council.
(Back, L-R) CDR Kurt Soeder, CAPT Susan Thompson, LCDR Amanda
Heard, LCDR Jasen Thompson, CDR Bryen Bartgis, (Front, L-R) CDR
Kristina Cohen, CDR Terri Schrader
April 2015 - Frontline
COA Member Receives Award
he Association of
Gynecology and Obstetrics (APGO) bestowed its highest
honor, the APGO
Achievement Award, to COA
member and COF
Board member William H.J. Haffner, MD
during the CREOG &
APGO Annual Meeting Awards Ceremony, March 6, 2015 at
the JW Marriot San
Antonio Hill Country
Resort in San AntoCAPT William H.J. Haffner, (Ret.), UPSHS nio, TX.
The APGO Board of Directors presents the Lifetime Achievement Award annually. The award honors past APGO leaders
who have made noteworthy contributions within the
specialty of obstetrics and gynecology and who have
consistently worked to further the goals of the APGO and
academic medicine.
Washington, D.C. area. Before retiring from the
Public Health Service in 2001 after 30 years in
service, Doctor Haffner held essentially every
leadership position in women’s health at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences,
including program director and department chair.
Doctor Haffner is currently Professor of Obstetrics
and Gynecology at the F. Edward Hébert School
of Medicine and the Chair of the Departmental
Committee on Academic Appointments, Promotions and Tenure. He is also editor-in-chief of Military Medicine, the international journal of the
Association of Military Surgeons of the United
States, is a consultant for obstetrics and gynecology for the Indian Health Service, United States
Public Heath Service in Rockville, MD, and is an
attending staff physician in the Department of
Obstetrics and Gynecology at Walter Reed
National Military Center in Bethesda, MD.
Doctor Haffner’s contributions to medical education are
varied and extensive. He has contributed significantly to the
education of a generation of military physicians at the graduate and undergraduate level. Throughout his career and to
this day he has worked diligently to ensure providers working with Native American women have quality, culturally
appropriate educational opportunities.
Following medical residency, Haffner was commissioned in
the Public Health Service and began his long career at Gallup Indian Medical Center, an Indian health service facility
in rural New Mexico. After serving at Gallup for 10 years,
including in roles as Chief of the Department and Navajo
Area Senior Consultant for ob-gyn, he moved to the
CAPT Sara B. Newman
COA Board Chair
Commissioned Officers Association
Surgeon General Visits PHS Officers in the Tampa Bay Area
By CAPT Esan O. Simon, USPHS
A multi-disciplinary group of Ten PHS Officers from the Food
& Drug Administration (FDA), Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and
U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) were privileged to have a personable, engaging discussion with the 19th U.S. Surgeon General
throughout the evening. Greeted with loud cheers by restaurant patrons as he entered in uniform, VADM Murthy
shared his vision with the Officers for his tenure as the
Surgeon General, fielded a variety of questions from the
group, and shared some of his personal journey on the road
to becoming America’s Doctor.
Surgeon General VADM Vivek Murthy meets with USPHS
.S. Surgeon General VADM Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA,
embarked on a robust tour in January to interact with
and visit PHS Officers and community leaders around the country. In addition to personally welcoming home Monrovia Medical Unit (MMU) Team 2 in Atlanta, GA and training with MMU
Team 3 in Anniston, AL, the Surgeon General also met with
Officers in Birmingham, AL, Atlanta, GA, Kansas City, MO,
Orlando, FL, Miami, FL, Indianapolis, IN, Cincinnati, OH, Cleveland, OH and Dearborn, MI. With his goals of learning about
the PHS Commissioned Corps, strengthening the Commissioned Corps, and building cross-sector partnerships in
communities to address the epidemics of obesity, tobaccorelated disease, and reduce the stigma associated with mental
illness, VADM Murthy visited PHS Officers in the Tampa Bay
area on February 5, 2015, where officers from multiple agencies enjoyed a dinner on the Tampa Bay waterfront with VADM
Murthy and a few members from his staff.
Despite the compressed schedule including multiple cities in
successive days and a two-hour drive immediately after
dinner to the next destination, the Surgeon General was
gracious with his time providing personal interaction and
discussion with each PHS Officer and he was sure to afford
the opportunity for both individual and group photographs
of the evening (see photo). With limited cross-agency interaction in the Tampa Bay area prior to this event, the PHS
camaraderie developed during the evening with VADM
Murthy also provided an enriching professional development opportunity for all PHS Officers present.
Invigorated and blessed by our time with the Surgeon
General, all PHS Officers left the evening motivated to serve
in our respective areas and disciplines to protect, promote,
and advance the health and safety of our Nation.
Special thanks to LT Laura Annetta (Surgeon General Aide-de
-Camp) and LT Mike Gifford for coordinating this event.
Should you have the opportunity in the future to meet with
the Surgeon General, we would all encourage you to do so
and if you are tasked with coordinating such an event or are
searching for protocol guidance, etc. for such an occasion,
reference the “U.S. Public Health Service Officer’s Guide
Leadership, Protocol, & Service Standards” 2nd Edition,
which is available for purchase from COF.
April 2015 - Frontline
Leadership, Excellence, Integrity and Service to All Mankind
By CDR Jyl Woolfolk and LT Michael Muni, USPHS
American college women. The sisterhood is empowered by a
commitment to servant-leadership that is both domestic and
international in its scope. Its members address community
needs in target areas including but not limited to educational
enrichment, health promotion, and global impact. Through its
986 chapters and over 265,000 college-trained members, Alpha
Kappa Alpha has implemented programs of service impacting
countless lives. The sorority chartered its first international
chapter in Monrovia, Liberia in 1957.
CDR Gwathney, RADM Trent-Adams, and CDR Woolfolk
pose with Alpha Kappa Alpha members during the meetand-greet
he mission to establish and operate the Monrovia Medical
Unit (MMU) for treatment of Ebola-infected healthcare
workers and continue efforts with Liberian and international
partners to build capacity for additional care was the quintessential demonstration of the purpose of the US Public Health
Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps. Prior to packing her bags,
Commander (CDR) Jyl Woolfolk was delighted to learn that her
beloved sorority was one of the organizations on the front lines
of the Ebola crisis response in Monrovia. As the Admin/Finance
Chief of the first team of officers to staff the MMU (known as
MMU Team 1), the mission was also the quintessential opportunity to wear two hats, pursuing the vision of an Ebola-free
Liberia shared by her fellow officers as well as her sisterhood.
In August, 2014, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a
member of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Inc., sounded the
battle cry against Ebola virus disease and declared a state of
national emergency. Both AKA and the brothers of Alpha Phi
committed themselves to buttressing the Liberian government’s efforts in the fight. Responding to the growing demand
for more space to accommodate Ebola patients, the two
organizations launched the Ebola Quick Impact Project and
turned over a 96-bed Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) to the government through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. In
addition to procuring the ETU’s logistical supplies and personal
protective equipment, the sorority and fraternity conducted
local community outreach and disease prevention training.
CDR Woolfolk became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha while
attending Morgan State University. Since initiation, her goal
was to visit her sorority’s first international chapter and unite
with its members in the name of service. Upon informing the
chapter of her arrival, the members hosted a meet and greet to
recognize PHS for its significant contribution to the global Ebola
response. “Being welcomed by my Liberian sisters with open
arms was a historical moment,” said CDR Woolfolk. “My adamant appreciation and praise goes to these dynamic women for
taking on an exceptional leadership role in meeting a most
critical need.”
Rear Admiral (RADM) Sylvia Trent-Adams, Commanding Officer
of the PHS Commissioned Corps Ebola Response Mission, CDR
David Lau, Executive Officer for the Mission, and CDR Jamal
Gwathney, MMU Team 1‘s Chief Medical Officer and husband
of an Alpha Kappa Alpha member, joined CDR Woolfolk at the
meet and greet. The officers were delighted to learn more
about Ebola Quick Impact and experience firsthand both the
labor and fruits of the sorority’s international humanitarian
efforts. “We had a great time meeting the AKAs and learning
about their contributions to opening an ETU. They are truly
amazing individuals who care about their fellow Liberians,” said
RADM Trent-Adams.
The meeting was vibrant with exchanges of Ebola treatment
achievements and lessons learned. “We applaud the effort of
the PHS team here and we know their impact will make a huge
difference”, said Candace Eastman, current President of Monrovia’s AKA chapter. “We hope everyone can come back to
Liberia under better circumstances.”
The sorority members closed the meeting with expressions of
great interest in exploring future collaborative opportunities
with PHS. Gatherings such as this one underscored the potential impact of taking our existing relationships with Greek
fraternities and sororities to the next level. As aligned forces,
we can offer the help, healing, and hope that will eradicate
Ebola -- and future public health emergencies.
Founded in 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha is the first Greek
letter organization established and incorporated by African-
Commissioned Officers Association
(Lead, cont’d. from p. 1)
n a ceremony in his Senate office, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) was presented the first ever Congressional Public Health
Leadership Award by CAPT Sara Newman, USPHS, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Commissioned Officers Association of
the United States Public Health Service.
This award was recently established by the Commissioned Officers Association, a non-profit organization which represents the
U.S. Surgeon General, the 6700 officers in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service and PHS retirees.
Durbin was given the award because of his work in the last Congress that addressed the significant problem of tobacco use by
members of the military services. Smoking rates and rates of use of chewing tobacco and “dip” pose significant threats to the well
-being of military servicemembers. It has been scientifically demonstrated, for example, that smokers incur a 20% longer hospital
stay than non-smokers and have double the risk of post-surgical infection when compared with non-smokers. Smoking is also the
killer of some 480,000 Americans every year—making it the leading cause of death in this country. Though overall smoking rates
have plunged since Surgeon General Luther Terry released the first report on Smoking and Health in 1964, tobacco use among
military servicemembers continues at a dramatically higher rate than among their civilian counterparts. It has also been demonstrated time and again that young people are particularly price sensitive when it comes to tobacco use: raise the price, and use
goes down.
According to Senator Durbin: “Discounting tobacco products on our military bases lures even more service members into this
deadly addiction. Ending this subsidy is a commonsense reform that will help protect the health of our nation’s troops. It will
literally save lives. I am honored to receive the Congressional Public Health Leadership Award from the Commissioned Officers
Association, a powerful ally in our fight to reduce tobacco use in the military.”
Durbin’s legislation, which originated in his role as then-Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, was ultimately
included in the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act and required that the price of tobacco products sold in military
exchanges and commissaries be raised to full retail. Tobacco products have long been sold at a significant discount in most military exchanges and commissaries, and Durbin’s efforts will result in elimination of that discount.
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April 2015 - Frontline
(President’s Corner, cont’d. from p. 4)
controlled, and hopefully, at some point eliminated. write this column, we are hearing that the last Ebola paFourth, we must deploy resources quickly at the first sign tient may have been seen in Liberia. This terrific news is
of an outbreak.
thanks to the tremendous efforts of public health workers
who risked their lives to help end this epidemic. Among
In these latter two lessons is where the USPHS Commis- them our brave officers who very much had something to
sioned Corps has shone. To combat an outbreak such as do with slowing this epidemic and encouraging local health
Ebola requires “boots on the ground”, rapidly deployed. care workers to stay the course in West Africa.
More than that, it requires that health professionals in
country believe that they can practice without fear of ex- Ebola would be a significantly greater threat worldwide
posure, or when exposed, they can be treated and survive. without these courageous men and women. We should
It was that mission to which the Corps deployed trained not be surprised by this public health winner. Once again
clinicians, infection control officers, pharmacists, laborato- our Corps stands tall. For it is so true of our Corps, it is
ry workers, and administrative management personnel to their essence, it is their way of life, and it is their noble
Liberia to staff the Monrovia Medical Unit (MMU). These mission: “in the silent war against disease no truce is ever
teams of approximately 70 troops in the field were aided seen…..”*
by the tireless efforts of dedicated support teams in the
Yours in public health,
Bob Williams, P.E., DEE
At least three teams of Corps officers have cycled through RADM, USPHS (ret)
the MMU. The reports I have heard are compelling, some- President PHS Commissioned Officers Foundation
times grim, but always inspiring. I am both humbled by
and proud of the efforts of all who have been associated *The battle cry of America’s Health Responders…….
with this response. Their efforts have been successful.
** See more at:
The fight against Ebola has shown signs of progress – as I
CAPT Elizabeth A. Whelan
Commissioned Officers Association
Executive Director, from p. 1
Public Health Service, Coast Guard, and the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Judy and I immediately jumped on the problem, met with Congressional staff,
and worked out language that would have fixed the problem
for us and the other non-DoD services. As it developed—and
quite probably because of the proposed Congressional actions—TRICARE suddenly found it expedient to cover the
desired treatment under its existing authorities, without the
need for a change in the law. This came as no surprise to me,
because in my experience federal entities often discover that
they can do something they previously ignored just as soon as
they discover that Congress is going to make them do it anyway. Chalk one up for Judy and COA.
May saw the first of our letters to the editor published in a local newspaper, in this case The Washington Post. I drafted the
letter after reading in The Post’s Sports Section—the first part
of the paper I read every day—that Washington Nationals
shortstop Ian Desmond was hooked on smokeless tobacco and
was trying without much success to quit the habit. I seized on
this hook, and The Post published my letter, which mentioned
PHS, the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and
Health, and the dangers of smokeless tobacco. I was identified
in The Post as being COA’s Executive Director.
May was also the month I began a regular campaign of writing
to various authorities that discriminate against officers in the
Public Health Service. My first such letter was sent to TSA
Administrator John Pistole, and it started like this: “Perhaps
you are unaware that TSA is delivering a daily slap in the face
to thousands of commissioned officers of one of this countries
uniformed services: the commissioned officers of the United
States Public Health Service.” In fact, TSA and COA had been
going back-and-forth on the issue of providing airport precheck to PHS officers long before I arrived, but this letter may
have jump-started the effort. Where we are now, according to
PHS headquarters, is an attempt to be certain that PHS can
effect a successful data transfer with the Defense Data Manpower Center, upon which TSA will rely for the Pre-Check. I
have every hope that the Pre-Check request will be successful
and that COA’s efforts will end this aggravating situation.
During the year I also wrote letters to the USO, to the National
Park Service, to Army Morale, Welfare, and Recreation, to the
Social Security Administration, to the New Mexico State
Treasurer, and to the Disney Corporation. These and other
letters can be found on the COA website.
One of my passions is the anti-tobacco effort that the Surgeon
General has called his own since 1964. COA had long been
involved in the fight against Big Tobacco, and we continued
that fight after I became Executive Director. U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus had already eliminated the discount on tobacco products sold in Navy and Marine Corps exchanges and in
commissaries on Navy and Marine Corps bases, and he wanted
to go further and ban tobacco sales altogether in exchanges and
commissaries under his authority. His initiative was met by
immediate Congressional opposition, formulated around the
supposed “right” of military servicemembers to purchase
tobacco at a discount. The result in the U.S. House of
Representatives was an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2015 that would prevent the Defense Department from ending the sale of tobacco products in exchanges and
commissaries. We reacted by putting together a group we called
“The Ad Hoc Coalition on DoD and Tobacco.” This group consisted of COA, the Cancer Action Network of the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung
Association, the American Dental Association, the American
Public Health Association, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids,
and Action on Smoking and Health. It was a powerful group, and
representatives from each of these organizations joined Judy and
I as we went to more than twenty Senate offices in an attempt to
persuade the Senate Armed Services Committee not to accede to
the House amendment. In the end, we lost, defeated by Big Tobacco’s representatives, who, we were told by several staffers,
were terrified of the effort we were making. In the words of one
Congressional staffer: “They are following behind you guys and
twisting arms and giving out cash.” We lost this one, but we’ll be
back. Here is a link to our letter to Secretary Mabus and here is
the Secretary’s response.
At about the same time as our annual Symposium, many PHS
officers began deployments to the border with Mexico, where
they provide healthcare services to minor children who were
streaming across into Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. I call
these “Commissioned Corps stealth deployments,” because Executive branch leaders were so terrified of possible negative political consequences of the influx of these minors that they placed
a news black-out on the entire operation. They were unapologetic
about such, and this embargo effectively prevented COA from
generating favorable coverage of PHS officer activities. We had
lined up newspaper reporters who wanted to tell the PHS story
along the border, but there was nothing we could do for them. As
far as I know, there were no newspaper or television stories that
highlighted what the Commissioned Corps did along the border.
Frontline finally published a piece telling some of the PHS story,
which still remains largely undocumented. (Please see November
Frontline, pages 1 and 20.)
As early as September 2014, the Commissioned Corps began
reacting to the outbreak of the Ebola virus, which had been running amok in West Africa since at least March of 2014. Non-US
Government organizations like Me̒decins sans Frontières had
dealt with the virus, but it quickly outgrew their capacity, and
international organizations began clamoring for U.S. help. HHS
Secretary Burwell announced the activation and potential deployment of Commissioned Corps personnel in September 2014, and
PHS officers immediately began planning for a trip to West Africa. COA played little role in these early months of the deployment planning other than attempting to interest newspaper reporters in what the Public Health Service was doing against the virus.
In cooperation with public affairs personnel in the Office of the
Assistant secretary for Health—one of whom is a Commissioned
Corps officer and COA member--PHS scored some major news
media successes. COA’s most successful media outreach occurred in November 2014, when my letter to the CBS news program “60 Minutes” was read on the air by Leslie Stahl. We also
had a letter in the Army Times newspaper which addressed the
(Executive Director, cont’d. on p. 28)
April 2015 - Frontline
Executive Director, from p. 27
January 2015 issue of Frontline, p. 35). The first such award was
presented to Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) by CAPT Sara NewThe Commissioned Corps Ebola deployments were the subject of man, COA Board Chair, on 12 March 2015 for his legislative
work directed at combatting tobacco use within the Department
a White House press event on 12 February 2015, at which
of Defense. This award marks an important step toward gaining
RADM Scott Giberson, who had deployed to Liberia with the
first group of PHS officers to go there to fight Ebola, introduced more Congressional recognition for COA and the Commissioned
Corps. CAPT Newman was Joined in the Democratic Whip’s
President Obama. (Please see the COA website at http://
office in the U.S. Capitol by COA Board Member RADM (ret.) )
Dick Bertin, former COA Board Chair CAPT Nita Sood, COA
Deputy Executive Director John McElligott, COA Government
In November, COA submitted testimony to the Senate AppropriRelations Director Judy Rensberger, and me. Following presentaations Committee calling on Congress to provide funding for the
tion of the award (see photo, p. 1 of this issue of Frontline), we
Office of the Surgeon General. We continue to work this issue,
with Judy Rensberger and me meeting regularly with House and spent twenty minutes with Sen. Durbin, who started his campaign
against tobacco more than twenty-five years ago when he introSenate staff on the issue.
duced the first legislation to ban tobacco on airline flights.
Commissioned Corps’ deployments to Liberia.
Parts of October-December were also devoted to the development of a new Strategic Plan for COA for 2015-2019. Led by
COA Board Chair CAPT Sara Newman, with assistance from
other COA members and staff, the plan was approved and unveiled in January 2015.
A more long-term Congressional initiative, on which COA started working in September 2014, was bearing fruit in March 2015.
That initiative is the establishment of a Congressional Public
Health Caucus, an entity that would parallel many of the other
health-related caucuses in the Congress. A “caucus” is a voluntary association of members of Congress who have an affinity for
January 2015 saw the release of the Military Compensation and
a particular cause. Virtually all diseases and health conditions—
Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) report. This
cancer, diabetes, ALS, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, youcommission was established by the 2013 National Defense Auname-it—have a caucus that operates in their name. What we
thorization Act, and its nine members offered fifteen recommen- saw as a startling gap was the lack of a public health caucus, so
dations on everything from retirement pay to space-available
we at COA set out to find some members of the House to start
travel. The commission released its report at an Arlington, VA,
one. We reached out to a Republican House member I know
closed-to-the-press session, and Judy Rensberger and I were
well, and then he reached out to a Democrat. The House Clerk
there to receive our copies of the 280-page document. We spent
approved the establishment of the caucus. COA staff are working
the remainder of that day reading through and marking-up the
to develop the caucus website we will maintain. I cannot overreport, and John McElligott and I spent the next day at the head- emphasize the importance of this as a bipartisan effort, as we
quarters of the Military Officers Association of America
believe very strongly that public health is not and should not be a
(MOAA), where we joined other members of The Military Coali- partisan issue. Once the caucus is established, COA’s Legislation
tion in examining and discussing the report. We continued our
& Benefits Committee will reach out to COA members and ask
analysis throughout the weekend, during which RADM Scott
them to recruit their member of the U.S House of Representatives
Giberson emailed me and asked if we were doing an analysis.
to join it. There is no charge for caucus membership.
The following week, we brief Surgeon General Murthy regarding
the report’s potential impacts on the Commissioned Corps.
The final topic in this report is the wonderful visit I made to TulCOA’s Legislation and Benefits Committee, Chaired by CAPT
sa, OK, the weekend of 6-8 March. I was invited to the diningMichelle Colledge, had meanwhile submitted to us a mostout of the combined Oklahoma Branches of COA, and it was my
helpful analysis of the report that had been developed by their
pleasure to accept. I could not have been treated more hospitably
MCRMC working group. We used that material and our own
by the Commissioned Corps officers there, and it was my honor
work in developing a COA position on the various aspects of the to be the speaker at the evening event. It was terrifically fun
report. The following week we briefed NOAA Commissioned
evening, complete with a nasty “grog” concoction, some of
Corps Director RADM David Score. On 20 February we submit- which I voluntarily drank in solidarity with the unlucky souls
ted our analysis to the Senate Armed Services Committee at the
who were forced to partake of the brew. In addition to the festiviinvitation of that committee. We continue to follow the report
ties I also visited two Indian Health Service hospitals and talked
through our membership in The Military Coalition, and we will
with the PHS officers who staff them. It was altogether a superb
certainly keep you apprised as Congress considers its provisions weekend, and I look forward to invitations from other COA
and recommendations. Here is a link to the COA analysis of the Branches, perhaps in the same combined Branch format.
MCRMC report. The Senate Armed Services Committee’s invitation to COA is reproduced in the March issue of Frontline, in
So, this is a summary of my first year with you all, the first of
which issue I discuss some aspects of the report.
what I hope will be many years of association with COA. I don’t
see how it could have been much better. I get to work with a
COA was not neglecting Congress during these months, as there terrific staff and membership, and it is an honor to represent you.
I look forward to seeing you at the Symposium in Atlanta.
are two exciting developments to report. The first of these was
when the COA Board of Directors approved a new COA Con-Jim Currie
gressional Public Health Leadership Award, to be given each
COA Executive Director
year to a member of the United States Senate and a member of
the United States House of Representatives. (Please see the
Commissioned Officers Association
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April 2015 - Frontline
n 2014, CAPT Robert E. Mansell, age 69, passed away at home in Alexandria, VA, after a bout with pancreatic
CAPT Mansell joined the Public Health Service in 1968 as a Therapist officer. Throughout his 30-year career, he
served at clinics in Lower Manhattan, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. He served as the Chief Professional
Officer for the Therapist category and worked at the FDA on bone cement for joint replacement surgeries. After
retirement, he worked as the Director of Practice for the American Physical Therapist Association. CAPT Mansell
was called back to active duty and served in the BOP facility in Fort Worth, TX. The PHS Therapist category has a
career summary of CAPT Mansell posted online.
Outside of the Corps, CAPT Mansell traveled with his family and played golf, soccer and volleyball. He also served as
a tutor at an elementary school in his hometown of Alexandria, VA.
CAPT Mansell is survived by his wife Lorraine of the past 44 years and his daughter, Marinn.
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Commissioned Officers Association
Want your Voice Heard? Register to Vote and Request Your Absentee Ballot
By CDR Jeff Tarrant, USPHS
“Nobody will ever deprive the American people the right to vote except the American
people themselves, and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
oting is one of our most fundamental rights as U.S. citizens, and as a member of the Uniformed Services, you and your
family members are eligible to vote absentee in your voting jurisdiction. As a USPHS officer, it is likely you will vote via
absentee ballot. The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act states that any service member, or eligible family
member, living outside his or her voting jurisdiction is eligible to vote absentee. This means that you can cast your ballot
from wherever you are stationed. It’s easy, and the Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website has everything you need to get started.
Even if you just voted in the 2014 midterm elections, it’s important you register to vote and request your absentee ballot
again this year. In fact, the FVAP recommends you do it every year to make sure your information is updated and your absentee ballot application remains active. Go to to fill out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), which allows
you to apply to register to vote, request an absentee ballot and/or update your contact information with your local election
office. The FPCA is the primary method of communication between you and your election official. The information provided
on this form is all the local election office has to determine if you meet the State voter registration requirements, which election materials to send you, and where and how to send you a ballot.
Get Started. Send in your Registration and Ballot Request Today.
Using the Federal Post Card Application available at will maximize your eligibility to vote in each upcoming
federal election. In many instances, you may receive ballots for all upcoming elections. To ensure you meet your state’s
requirements, follow the below-listed steps:
-Go to and select your home state from the drop-down menu. Scroll down to the “Register to Vote,
Request a Ballot or Update My Voter Info” section. Choose one of the options to complete your FPCA. Print and sign
the form.
-Fold and seal your FPCA. If using the online FPCA, the PDF package includes a template for a postage-paid envelope.
-Address and mail the FPCA to your local election official. Contact information can be found on the FVAP website. Be
sure to include your return address, and affix postage if using a foreign postal service.
Ballots are sent out by the states 45 days prior to an election. Once you receive your official ballot, follow the enclosed
instructions provided by your local election official.
Sign up for your state’s voting alerts at to receive the most current and up-to-date election information,
including election dates, important deadlines and changes to state laws that affect how you vote absentee.
If you need assistance or have any questions, please contact the FVAP’s call center at 1.800.438.8683 (9am – 5pm EST) or via
e-mail at [email protected]
April 2015 - Frontline
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