United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC) is the federal uniformed service of the United States Public Health Service (PHS) and is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.
The Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is one of two uniformed services that only consist of commissioned officers and has no enlisted or warrant officer ranks, although warrant officers have been authorized for use within the service. Officers of the PHS are classified as noncombatants, unless directed to serve as part of the armed forces by the President or detailed to a service branch of the armed forces.
The Surgeon General of the United States is the operational head of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC) and thus the leading spokesperson on matters of public health in the federal government. The Surgeon General’s office and staff are known as the Office of the Surgeon General (OSG).
The Surgeon General is nominated by the U.S. President and confirmed via majority vote by the Senate. The Surgeon General serves a four-year term of office and, depending on whether the current Assistant Secretary for Health is a PHSCC commissioned officer or not, is the senior or second-highest ranking uniformed officer of the PHSCC, holding the grade of a three-star vice admiral . The current Surgeon General is Regina Benjamin, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 29, 2009. She was unofficially sworn in to begin work on November 3, 2009, and was officially sworn in January 11, 2010.
The Surgeon General reports to the Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH), who may be a four-star admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC), and who serves as the principal advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on public health and scientific issues.
The Surgeon General is the overall head of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, a 6,000-member Commissioned Corps of the USPHS, a cadre of health professionals who are on call 24 hours a day, and can be dispatched by the Secretary of HHS or the Assistant Secretary for Health in the event of a public health emergency.
The Surgeon General is also the ultimate award authority for several public health awards and decorations, the highest of which that can be directly awarded is the Surgeon General’s Medallion (the highest award bestowed by board action is the Distinguished Service Medal). The Surgeon General also has many informal duties, such as educating the American public about health issues and advocating healthy lifestyle choices.
The Surgeon General is a commissioned officer in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and by law holds the rank of vice admiral. Officers of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps are classified as non-combatants, but can be subjected to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and the Geneva Conventions when designated by the Commander-in-Chief as a military force or if they are detailed or assigned to work with the armed forces. Officer members of these services wear uniforms that are similar to those worn by the U.S. Navy, except that the commissioning devices, buttons, and insignia are unique. Officers in Public Health Service wear unique devices which are similar to U.S. Navy Staff Corps Officers (e.g., Navy Medical Service Corps, Supply Corps, etc.).
- The Distinguished Service Medal is the highest non-valorous military and civilian decoration of the United States military which is issued for exceptionally meritorious service to the government of the United States in either a senior government service position or as a senior officer of the United States armed forces or other Uniformed services. There is also the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service which is the highest medal that can be awarded to a career government employee.
- The Surgeon General’s Medallion is the third highest award of the Public Health Service and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. The medal is awarded in the name of the United States Surgeon General for actions of exceptional achievement to the cause of public health and medicine. It is awarded by the Surgeon General of the United States.
The exact award criteria for the Surgeon General’s Medal are open to the interpretation of the sitting U.S. Surgeon general. Typically, the Surgeon General’s Medal is presented for such actions as medical breakthroughs in public medicine, disease prevention and control, or exceptional service in a senior position of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Due to the prestige of the Surgeon General’s Medallion, the award is authorized for wear on active duty uniforms of the United States armed forces. When worn on the uniform of a member of the Public Health Service, the ribbon is worn after the Public Health Service Meritorious Service Medal and before the Department of Commerce Silver Medal, the Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medal and the Legion of Merit. People who have won the award include RADM Jerrold Michael who was also the youngest person to become an admiral in the PHS at the age of 33.
United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
The United States Secretary of Health and Human Services is the head of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, concerned with health matters. The Secretary is a member of the President’s Cabinet. The office was formerly Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.
Kathleen Sebelius (/sɨˈbiːliəs/; née Gilligan, born May 15, 1948) is an American politician currently serving as the 21st Secretary of Health and Human Services. She was the second female Governor of Kansas from 2003 to 2009, the Democratic respondent to the 2008 State of the Union address, and chair-emerita of the Democratic Governors Association.
Surgeon Generals (note MK-ULTRA was officially sanctioned from 1953 to 1973)
|#||Name||Photo||Term of Office||Appointed by|
|Start Of Term||End Of Term|
|1||John M. Woodworth||March 29, 1871||March 14, 1879||Ulysses S. Grant|
|2||RADM John B. Hamilton||April 3, 1879||June 1, 1891||Rutherford B. Hayes|
|3||RADM Walter Wyman||June 1, 1891||November 21, 1911||Benjamin Harrison|
|4||RADM Rupert Blue||January 13, 1912||March 3, 1920||William Taft|
|5||RADM Hugh S. Cumming||March 3, 1920||January 31, 1936||Woodrow Wilson|
|6||RADM Thomas Parran, Jr.||April 6, 1936||April 6, 1948||Franklin D. Roosevelt|
|7||RADM Leonard A. ScheeleLeonard Andrew Scheele (July 25, 1907 – January 8, 1993) was an American physician and public servant. He was appointed the seventh Surgeon General of the United Statesfrom 1948 to 1956.Scheele was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. While in high school, he worked in his father’s pharmacy and planned to enter medicine. For his undergraduate education, Scheele chose the University of Michigan (B.A., 1931) over Indiana University, citing the former’s medical reputation but ended up following his future spouse, then a dental student, to Detroit. He received his M.D. in 1934 from the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery (now the Wayne State University School of Medicine).Scheele served as Surgeon General first under a Democratic President, Harry S. Truman, who appointed Scheele as Surgeon General Parran’s successor on April 6, 1948, and 4 years later under a Republican, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, his former commander during the war. Scheele built on his wartime experience and carried on PHS’s leadership in international health, leading the U.S. delegations to the World Health Assembly (1949 through 1953) and serving twice as President of the World Health Organization.||April 6, 1948||August 8, 1956||Harry S. Truman|
|8||RADM Leroy Edgar Burney1956-1961 – Leroy Edgar Burney (31 December 1906 – 31 July 1998) was an American physician and public health official. He was appointed the eighth Surgeon General of the United Statesfrom 1956 to 1961.From Charlottesville, Burney applied for and was accepted into the PHS Regular Corps as an Assistant Surgeon (1932). His area of expertise would be public health administration at the state and local level, the front lines of public health. Like many of his generation at PHS, Burney came up through the ranks of then-Surgeon General Thomas Parran, Jr.’s venereal disease control programs, receiving specialized training at the New York Marine Hospital (1934) and assisting in the management of rapid treatment centers around the country. Burney helped establish the first PHS mobile venereal disease clinic, in Brunswick, Georgia (1937-39), bringing access to treatment for African Americans, whom Jim Crow segregation excluded from the predominantly white locations of other facilities.||August 1, 1956||January 29, 1961||Dwight Eisenhower|
|9||RADM Luther Terry||March 2, 1961||October 1, 1965||John F. Kennedy|
|10||VADM William H. Stewart1965-1969 – William H. Stewart (19 May 1921 – 23 April 2008) was an American pediatrician and epidemiologist. He was appointed tenth Surgeon General of the United Statesfrom 1965 to 1969.States relations programs, including categorical grants-in-aid to state health departments, were revamped along the lines of urban planning, as the Comprehensive Health Planning Act(also known as the Partnership For Health Act of 1966 and its 1967 Amendments) bypassed state health departments to award grants directly to local government and community not-for-profits, coordinated through state (so-called “section 314a”) and nongovernmental (“section 314b”) planning agencies.From the optimistic days of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the War on Poverty, and Medicare, PHS entered into an era characterized by more complicated bureaucraticmaneuvering, increased public involvement, and renewed efforts to control Federal health expenditures. Midway through President Richard Nixon’s first year in office, Stewart submitted his resignation (August 1, 1969).Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_H._Stewart||October 1, 1965||August 1, 1969||Lyndon Johnson|
|11||RADM Jesse Leonard Steinfeld1969-1973 – Jesse Leonard Steinfeld (born 26 January 1927) is an American physician and public health official. He was appointed the eleventh Surgeon General of the United Statesfrom 1969 to 1973.Steinfeld was born in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania suburb of West Aliquippa. He received his B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1945 and his M.D. degree from Western Reserve University (now called Case Western Reserve University) in 1949. Steinfeld then completed an internship at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles and residencies at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Long Beach, California and at the University of California, San Francisco in the Laboratory of Experimental Oncology.During his tenure, there was an effort to do away with the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and a 1971 report made such a recommendation. The report also called the position of Surgeon General “an organizational anomaly,” thus calling into question the need for such a position. Steinfeld spoke on behalf of the internal opposition to the report, and thanks to strong support for the Corps and the Surgeon General on the part of certain members of the United States Congress, the recommendations of the report were not implemented.Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_Leonard_SteinfeldSignificance: From Pittsburgh, he saved the PHSC when there were efforts to do away with it. He looks like Joseph Steinfield, one of the CILS attorney’s. Are they related?||December 18, 1969||June 30, 1973||Richard Nixon|
|(acting)||RADM Paul Ehrlich, Jr.||July 1, 1973||July 13, 1977|
|12||VADM Julius B. Richmond1977-1981 – Julius Benjamin Richmond (26 September 1916 – 27 July 2008) was an American pediatrician and public health administrator. He was a vice admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and served as the United States Surgeon General and the United States Assistant Secretary for Health during the Carter Administration, from 1977 to 1981. Richmond is noted for his role in the creation of the Head Start program for disadvantaged children, serving as its first national director.The Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) inspired Richmond and his colleague, Betty Caldwell, to turn their interdisciplinary research, integrating elements of psychiatry into pediatrics, toward policy ends as they documented how poverty threatened the psychosocial development of young children.Richmond’s work at Syracuse caught the eye of Sargent Shriver, head of the Kennedy Foundation. After President Lyndon B. Johnson tapped Shriver to head a new independent agency, the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) (1964), Shriver convinced Richmond to take a leave of absence and join him. At OEO Richmond would use a demonstration grants mechanism to create two important new public health programs that incorporated OEO’s mandate to aid local groups directly, rather than channeling resources through state health departments, the traditional partners of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare‘s Public Health Service. During 1965, Richmond implemented Project Head Start, an enrichment program for disadvantaged pre-school age children that was greeted eagerly by community groups. A new Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (1979) under Assistant Surgeon General Michael McGinnis prepared the formal publication, setting forth ambitious health goals to be achieved by 1990, and the Institute of Medicine drafted an accompanying volume, Promoting Health/Preventing Disease: Objectives For The Nation (1980), which included a series of specific targets within set categories for each age-group. One of the major goals of this effort was to educate people on how they could take more personal responsibility for their health through wise lifestyle choices. Richmond’s Healthy People campaign was a remarkable success, especially in light of the political firestorm in Congress and by the tobacco industry when Secretary Califano became an outspoken critic of cigarette smoking as a major contributor to preventable disease.Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_B._RichmondSignificance: Major success in programs to get people to make health choices (stop smoking) for better health. This was accomplished despite smoking being a culturally iconic and highly addicting. Furthermore there was huge political resistance from the tobacco lobby and congress. A key to his success in adult behavior change policies is starting with making changes for the sake of children’s health. These tactics were inspired by Brown vs Board of Education and were later used to implement Head Start and anti-smoking compaigns which directed funding directly to non-profits rather than through State Health departments.||July 13, 1977||May 14, 1981||Jimmy Carter|
|(acting)||Edward Brandt, Jr.||May 14, 1981||January 21, 1982||Ronald Reagan|
|13||VADM C. Everett KoopCharles Everett Koop, MD (born October 14, 1916) is an American pediatric surgeon and public health administrator. He was a vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and served as thirteenth Surgeon General of the United States under President Ronald Reagan from 1982 to 1989.Much of the opposition that Koop later faced in being confirmed as President Reagan’s choice as Surgeon General came from his widely known views about right to life. In 1976, after spending an entire Saturday with his pediatric surgery fellows operating on three patients with severe congenital defects, Koop sat in the cafeteria and remarked that together they had given over two hundred years of life to three individuals who together barely weighed ten pounds. When one of the surgical fellows replied that next door at the university hospital abortions were being performed on healthy babies, Koop was stirred to write The Right to Live, The Right to Die, setting down his concerns about abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. Koop also took some time off from his surgical practice to make a series of films with Christian apologist Francis Schaeffer titled “Whatever Happened to the Human Race”. These films, along with a book published by the same name, reflected Koop’s opposition to abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia and fired much of the controversy and initial antagonism that surrounded Koop’s nomination for Surgeon General.||January 21, 1982||October 1, 1989|
|(acting)||ADM James O. MasonIn 1989, the U.S. Senate confirmed Mason as Assistant Secretary for Health, which made him head of the United States Public Health Service, and Acting Surgeon General. He later he served as the American delegate to the World Health Organization. In 1994, he was appointed by ecclesiastical authorities in the LDS Church to be a general authority of the church, serving in its Second Quorum of the Seventy until 2000. He currently is a member of the board of trustees of Evergreen International, a Utah-based non-profit organization that seeks to assist Latter-day Saints and other Christians who wish to diminish same-sex attraction and homosexual behavior.||October 1, 1989||March 9, 1990||George H. W. Bush|
|14||VADM Antonia C. NovelloAntonia Coello Novello, M.D., (born August 23, 1944) is a Puerto Rican physician and public health administrator. She was a vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and served as fourteenth Surgeon General of the United Statesfrom 1990 to 1993. Novello is the first woman and first Hispanic to serve as Surgeon General.Novello served as Commissioner of Health for the State of New York from 1999 to 2006. Novello was charged in a 20 count indictment on May 12, 2009, in New York with theft of government services, defrauding the government and filing a false instrument. On June 26, 2009, in a plea deal with prosecutors, she pleaded guilty to one charge of filing a false document involving a worker’s duties.||March 9, 1990||June 30, 1993|
|(acting)||RADM Robert A. WhitneyRobert A. Whitney (born 27 July 1935) is an American veterinarian and public health administrator. He served as acting Surgeon General of the United States from July to September 1993.||July 1, 1993||September 8, 1993||Bill Clinton|
|15||VADM Joycelyn EldersMinnie Joycelyn Elders (born Minnie Lee Jones on August 13, 1933) is an American pediatrician and public health administrator. She was a vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the first African American appointed as Surgeon General of the United States. Elders is best known for her frank discussion of her views on controversial issues such as drug legalization and distributing contraception in schools.She was fired mid-term in December 1994 amidst controversy.
Views on drug legalization
Elders drew fire — and censure from the Clinton administration — when she suggested that legalizing drugs might help reduce crime and that the idea should be studied. On December 15, 1993, around one week after making these comments, charges were filed against her son Kevin, for selling cocaine in an incident involving undercover officers, four months prior. Elders believes the incident was a frame-up and the timing of the charges was designed to embarrass her and the president. Kevin Elders was convicted, and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He appealed his conviction to the Arkansas Supreme Court, and that court reaffirmed the conviction. The court held that Mr. Elders failed to show that he was entrapped into making the narcotics sale. There was no further appeal.
Comments on human sexuality and termination
In 1994, she was invited to speak at a United Nations conference on AIDS. She was asked whether it would be appropriate to promote masturbation as a means of preventing young people from engaging in riskier forms of sexual activity, and she replied, “I think that it is part of human sexuality, and perhaps it should be taught.” This remark caused great controversy and resulted in Elders losing the support of the White House. White House chief of staff Leon Panetta remarked, “There have been too many areas where the President does not agree with her views. This is just one too many.”  Elders was fired by President Clinton as a result of the controversy in December 1994. Elders had previously made a number of other statements that put her in the public spotlight, like her quote in January of 1994 “We really need to get over this love affair with the fetus and start worrying about children.”
|September 8, 1993||December 31, 1994|
|(acting)||RADM Audrey F. ManleyAudrey Forbes Manley (b. 25 March 1934, Jackson, Mississippi) an American pediatrician, and public health administrator. She was appointed acting Surgeon General of the United States from 1995 to 1997. From 1997 to 2002, Dr. Manley served as President of Spelman College, a historically black college for women in Atlanta, Georgia. She was the first alumna to be elected president of the college, carrying on the legacy of her husband Dr. Albert E. Manley, who was the first African-American and male president of Spelman College from 1953 to 1976.||January 1, 1995||July 1, 1997|
|16||ADM / VADM David SatcherDavid Satcher, M.D., Ph.D. FAAFP, FACPM, FACP (born March 2, 1941) is an American physician, and public health administrator. He was a four-star admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and served as the 10th Assistant Secretary for Health, and the 16th Surgeon General of the United States.While acknowledging progress, Satcher has criticized health disparities. He asked the question, “What if we had eliminated disparities in health in the last century?” and calculated that there would have been 83,500 fewer black deaths in the year 2000. That would have included 24,000 fewer black deaths from cardiovascular disease. If infant mortality had been equal across racial and ethnic groups in 2000, 4,700 fewer black infants would have died in their first year of life. Without disparities, there would have been 22,000 fewer black deaths from diabetes and almost 2,000 fewer black women would have died from breast cancer; 250,000 fewer blacks would have been infected with HIV/AIDS and 7,000 fewer blacks would have died from complications due to AIDS in 2000. As many as 2.5 million additional blacks, including 650,000 children, would have had health insurance in that year. He called on people to work for solutions at the individual, community, and policy level.||February 13, 1998||February 12, 2002|
|(acting)||RADM Kenneth P. MoritsuguKenneth P. Moritsuguis an American physician and public health administrator.Rear Admiral USPHS, retired in September 2007 as acting United States Surgeon General. A third-generation Japanese-American, he was appointed the Deputy Surgeon General on October 1, 1998 and named acting Surgeon General on July 31, 2006.RADM Moritsugu received his bachelor’s degree in 1967 from the University of Hawaii, his M.D. from the George Washington University School of Medicine in 1971, and a Master of Public Health (Health Administration and Planning ) from the UC Berkeley School of Public Healthin 1975.||February 13, 2002||August 4, 2002||George W. Bush|
|17||VADM Richard Carmona2002-2006 – Richard Henry Carmona (born November 22, 1949) is an American physician, police officer, public health administrator, and politician. He was a vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and served as the seventeenth Surgeon General of the United States. Appointed by President George W. Bush in 2002, Carmona left office at the end of July 2006 upon the expiration of his term. After leaving office, Carmona was highly critical of the Bush administrationfor suppressing scientific findings which conflicted with the Administration’s ideological agenda.On July 10, 2007, Carmona, along with former Surgeons General C. Everett Koop and David Satcher, testified before the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about political and ideological interference with the Surgeon General’s mission. Carmona accused the Bush Administration of preventing him from speaking out on certain public health issues such as embryonic stem cell research, global climate change, emergency contraception, and abstinence-only sex education, where the Administration’s political stance conflicted with scientific and medical opinion.Carmona also testified that the Bush Administration had attempted for years to “water down” his report on the dangers of secondhand smoke and pressured him not to testify in the tobacco industry’s racketeering trial: “Anything that doesn’t fit into the political appointees’ ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried.” According to Carmona, he was even ordered not to attend the Special Olympics because the event was sponsored by the Kennedy family, and was told to mention President Bush three times on every page of his speeches. The Washington Post subsequently identified William R. Steiger as the Bush Administration official who had blocked release of Carmona’s report on global health because it conflicted with the Administration’s political priorities.Reuters reported that Carmona’s predecessors as Surgeon General had acknowledged the high level of political interference he experienced, saying: “We have never seen it as partisan, as malicious, as vindictive, as mean-spirited as it is today, and you clearly have worse than anyone’s had.”Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_CarmonaSignificance||August 5, 2002||July 31, 2006|
|(acting)||RADM Kenneth P. MoritsuguKenneth P. Moritsuguis an American physician and public health administrator.Rear Admiral USPHS, retired in September 2007 as acting United States Surgeon General. A third-generation Japanese-American, he was appointed the Deputy Surgeon General on October 1, 1998 and named acting Surgeon General on July 31, 2006.RADM Moritsugu received his bachelor’s degree in 1967 from the University of Hawaii, his M.D. from the George Washington University School of Medicine in 1971, and a Master of Public Health (Health Administration and Planning ) from the UC Berkeley School of Public Healthin 1975.||August 1, 2006||September 30, 2007|
|RADM Steven K. GalsonSteven Kenneth Galson is an American public health physician. He is a retired rear admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and public health administrator who served as the acting Surgeon General of the United States from October 1, 2007 – October 1, 2009. He served concurrently as acting Assistant Secretary for Health from January 22, 2009 to June 25, 2009, and as the Deputy Director and Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research(CDER) at the Food and Drug Administration from 2001 to 2007. As the Acting Surgeon General, he was the commander of the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and, while serving as the Assistant Secretary for Health, was the operational head of the Public Health Service.||October 1, 2007||October 1, 2009|
|RADM Donald L. WeaverDonald L. Weaver is an American physician. He is a rear admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and public health administrator who served as the acting Surgeon General of the United States. Weaver succeeded Steven K. Galson in October 2009, in expectation of a holdup by the United States Senate in confirming current Surgeon General Regina Benjamin. Prior to being appointed as Acting Surgeon General, he served as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Primary Health Care in the Health Resources and Services Administration.||October 1, 2009||November 3, 2009||Barack Obama|
|18||VADM Regina BenjaminVice Admiral Regina Marcia Benjamin, USPHS, (born October 26, 1956, in Mobile, Alabama,) is an American physician who serves as the 18th Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Benjamin previously directed a nonprofit primary care medical clinic in Bayou La Batre, Alabama and served on the Board of Trustees for the Morehouse School of Medicine.
Her political support for abortion access has been cited as a source of controversy, since Benjamin, who is a Roman Catholic, has also received an award from the Holy See, a strong opponent of such procedures. Benjamin also sits on the board of the Catholic Health Association and is active in her local church.
|November 3, 2009||Incumbent|
There is significance evidence of political manipulation in Public Health. Direct funding of non-profits enables Public Health to by pass State Health Departments. Does this type of structure facilitate the ability of the PH leadership to hide the books from state government leadership.