• What You Bring When You’re Going Into an Ebola Outbreak

  • Ebola Contacts in Africa Go Missing

  • Lockdown In Sierra Leone

  • Activation- A Nebraska Medical Center Biocontainment Unit Story

  • Former SG Carmona Weighs In On SG Nomimee

  • Youth Smoking

    Smoking harms health from the very first puff. Learn more.
  • USPHS and Air Force Partner on Modular Medical Treatment Center

  • AFRICOM Update 9/26

  • The Front Page RSS Feed

    Published on 09-26-2014 06:22 AM

    09-24-2014 09:10 AM



    A Burlington Nurse Takes On Ebola in Liberia
    Seven Days
    Dressed in jeans and a navy blue polo shirt emblazed with the U.S. Public Health Service logo, Goode explained the ravages of Ebola in the manner of someone used to distilling wonky topics into simpler form. The disease manifests itself in fevers, ...



    Link to the story...
    Published on 07-05-2014 10:58 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. General Interest

    Published: Jul 6, 2014

    By Crystal Phend, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today

    The politicalization of surgeon general selection should be eliminated, rather than scrapping "the nation's doctor," a former holder of that post argued.
    Powers gutted by federal reorganization in the 1960s and further weakened by risk-averse politics in the White House aren't likely to return, Mike Stobbe, DrPH, of the Associated Press had argued last week in an interview with MedPage Today. That interview coincided with the release of Stobbe's book "Surgeon General's Warning: How Politics Crippled the Nation's Doctor."

    However, Stobbe's conclusion that "it's probably time to get rid of the surgeon general," moved the 17th Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, MD, MPH, to send a comment to MedPage Today. Carmona, whose term ended in 2006, was sharply critical of Stobbe's conclusion, which prompted MedPage Today to follow-up with an interview.

    "It is an extremely important role and one that the public recognizes as important because of the credibility of the surgeon general," he told MedPage Today. "I would argue very strongly that more than ever we need the office of surgeon general today, as we do the U.S. Public Health Service." Carmona, now a public health professor at the University of Arizona in Tuscon and a professor at Ohio State University College of Nursing in Columbus, explained his reasoning in this interview, which was edited for length.

    Does the politics surrounding selection undermine the position?
    Carmona: The challenge has been more a political one than any issue of relevance to the office of surgeon general. If you go back to the late '60s and early '70s the surgeon generals were always promoted from within the ranks in a merit system and this is the same system that the other services follow. The Army, Navy, and Air Force have surgeons general too. Their secretary offers a name to the White House, the president nominates, the same process takes place and ultimately the Senate confirms that person. The departure started few decades ago when both parties started to politicize the office and go outside of the system and pretty much ignore the career officers in the uniformed system in hopes of probably finding someone that may be more aligned to the political party in power at that time. I think it's wrong for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, it's devaluing the service of career officers. In the Army, Navy, and Air Force you never see those challenges. It becomes an embattled position because of the politics.

    It is an extremely important role and one that the public recognizes as important because of the credibility of the surgeon general. The surgeon general really is not the doctor of the Democratic or Republican party; you are the nation's doctor. I look at the surgeon general's office much like we look at the Federal Reserve or even a Supreme Court Justice. You are supposed to rise above the political bias and rule on the best finance information, the best law information, and, the surgeon general, opining on the best scientific information. Why would you want to marginalize that position in a world that depends on understanding complex science and applying it to policy?

    What changes would you like to see?
    Carmona: First of all, I think we should revert back to promotions to U.S. Surgeon General based on merit from the career public service officers who merit consideration because they have dedicated their lives to the health, safety, and security of the nation. Number two, would be to reaffirm that the surgeon general is the commander of the U.S. Public Health Service and that the surgeon general should be involved interpreting and understanding complex science and translating it to the American public, translating it to Congress, translating it to the secretaries in other departments.

    Last, my recommendation to Congress and the president would be that we should not ask, but demand, that that the surgeon general prepare a State of the Nation's Health every year and that would include an assessment of global health because we are inextricably tied to the rest of the world. And it should include what are the challenges that we're facing now, whether they be infectious diseases, whether they be chronic diseases, whether they be the long-term effects on our veterans in the war effort -- there are so many issues that our government are involved in where there's an intersection of health, or safety, or security. The surgeon general is the interface there as well.

    How likely are the kind of changes you describe?
    Carmona: No question it will be tough. There's nothing happening in Washington these days that isn't tough. This will be among many things but we shouldn't shy away from it because it may be difficult or it may be caught in a political discourse, especially by ill-informed people. The fact is this is a very valued position both to the American public and to America in general. I strongly believe a strong surgeon general and a strong Public Health Service is in best interest of the United States and, in some cases, the rest of the world.
    Published on 07-05-2014 10:20 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. General Interest

    As Published with comment from Former SG Richard Carmona: Jun 27, 2014
    By Crystal Phend, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today

    Once "the kings of U.S. public health," surgeons general have seen their powers gutted to the extent that the post should be done away with, according to one expert. "It's probably time to get rid of the surgeon general," said Mike Stobbe, DrPH, a national medical correspondent for the Associated Press and author of the book "Surgeon General's Warning: How Politics Crippled the Nation's Doctor," released on the University of California Press Thursday.

    The position is at a nadir and unlikely to rise again in the perennially risk-averse political climate, he concluded from 7 years of research and interviews.

    "Federal reorganizations in the 1960s stripped away most of the job's responsibilities and gave them to people appointed by whoever was in the White House at the time," Stobbe wrote, adding, "The surgeon general, meanwhile, became a bench-riding bureaucrat and glorified health educator."

    "It was a conclusion I was sad about," he told MedPage Today,

    MedPage Today
    caught up with Stobbe about the impact of this vacuum of power on both physicians and the public. His responses have been edited for length.

    What are the issues today that are in need of a strong surgeon general?

    Stobbe: "A surgeon general can really do a service to the public not only when they continue to hammer on continuing concerns, like smoking, but take on newer issues that the public seems to be confused about or uncertain about. I mention in the book that in recent years some topics were really ripe for a surgeon general to step in on, like tanning. There's evidence suggesting the public health message is just not getting through. Studies have found the majority of teens who tan are girls. Girls and their parents don't seem to take extensive visits to tanning salons as a serious health threat. That's something a surgeon general who is forceful about this could really change some thinking about.

    The vaccination rates -- there has been uncertainty among a lot of parents in last decade about are vaccines safe and will my child get autism from them. We've seen a resurgence of measles, mumps -- diseases that should be all but erased from our country but are bouncing back because, at least partly, of parents feeling uncertain about the safety. Testing for HIV -- every adults in U.S. is supposed to be tested for HIV but rates in some sectors have been disappointing. HPV -- uptake of that vaccine has been low.

    Physicians are really in kind of a tough spot. They've got so much to deal with. These are touchy topics and the doctor is trying to get through so many issues and tasks with each patient. When we had a strong surgeon general talking about smoking or talking about HIV, it has been a big help to many physicians in broaching the topic or even getting some patients on the same page as physicians even before they walk in the door. It's a tall order to ask each physician in the country to do the surgeon general's work, to do all the public health communications, to sell them on vaccinations, to sell them on taking it easy on sun tanning, to sell them on taking it easy on the weight. There are a lot of things that an effective and aggressive surgeon general could help the public and the physicians communicate with."

    We do have strong figures taking on some of this role in public health, like Dr. Oz, Sanjay Gupta, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Could that be part of the solution?

    Stobbe: "There's been a vacuum when we haven't had these strong surgeons general. People want somebody. They have these questions about vaccines; they've got questions about other things. They're looking to somebody who says it straight and is a good communicator and helps them make health decisions for themselves and their family. They're not getting it from the government. Even the people at the CDC, they speak in public health speak. So it's not something we can ask of them. Who is stepping into the vacuum? Dr. Oz -- he's a great communicator and he's got a lot of good information. Surgeons general have been on his show because they see he's this platform. But he's promoting alternative remedies that aren't proven by science. He has mystics on talking about the afterlife. There are a lot of people who have other motives trying to step into that vacuum. It would be nice if we had a surgeon general who didn't have other agendas, wasn't selling a book, wasn't doing other things, just giving the best science available and trying to help people."

    What are your thoughts on the current acting surgeon general, Rear Admiral Boris D. Lushniak, MD, MPH?

    Stobbe: "The actings are temporary appointments who don't have as much leeway to tackle issues. So we can't really expect too much. But I have to tell you, I think he's pretty good. Boris Lushniak was the person in the office at this 50th anniversary smoking report released in January. He's a very animated speaker who really showed emotion in talking about the deadliness of smoking. I suspect that if he were chosen to become official surgeon general, he really could be very good. He seems interested in taking on some of the touchier topics that have been untouched by surgeons generals."

    Comments:


    karl lehn, 06/27/14
    It seem Mr. Stobbe forgets the primary role of the Surgeon General's office is to be the head of the USPHS Commissioned Corps a uniformed service with the same rank structure as the US Navy. These officers are required to serve with the Coast Guard as their physicians and also serve as medical staff in many Federal facilities. The USPHS does valuable research in the various medical fields as well. Removing the Surgeon General from his post is the same as removing the USPHS' leader. Bad idea..

    Name Withheld, 06/28/14
    "Federal reorganizations in the 1960s stripped away most of the job's responsibilities and gave them to people appointed by whoever was in the White House at the time,' Stobbe wrote." The SG is the titular head of the USPHS but the Office of the SG functions primarily as a personnel office for the Commissioned Corps with very little authority. Officers assigned to the Coast Guard work for the Coast Guard, those assigned to the Bureau of Prisons work for the Bureau of Prisons, etc. Even for Corps personnel issues, the important decisions are made by the Assistant Secretary for Health who outranks the SG. See http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/about/history/ for an excellent, brief summary of past and current responsibilities of the SG and Office of the SG. Mike Stobbe is an outstanding reporter on health but I think he understates the case for making Boris Lushniak the SG. Dr. Lushniak would make a great SG..

    DNADOC, 06/30/14
    Thank you Karl, excellent point! There are several more SGs; one for each branch of the military, the Joint Staff Surgeon General and tbe Coast Guard's Surgeon General. For those of us either in or working with the military, we often forget about the USPHCC SG and I often have to explain that position to the 'real military.' But the USPHCC fills a vital role in our country and should not be dismissed so lightly. I don't think anyone wants a military SG advising the HHS Secretary (who right now is about as far as you can get from being a physician or scientist) on public health issues. During these times when we have an HHS Secretary that is a program manager instead of a scientist or a physician and who has no experience in these fields whatsoever, the Secretary's office really NEEDS advice from the SG's office. Can you even picture what would happen without the SG's office??!?!.

    richard carmona, 06/30/14
    I applaud the previous comments and as The 17th Surgeon General of The United States and a former US Army Special Forces soldier I want to also respectfully disagree with Mr Stobbe's conclusion. I was interviewed for this book and in no uncertain terms made the strongest of cases for the need and strengthening of the Office of The US Surgeon General and for a strong and mobile US Public Health Service. We are the only nation in the world who has an army of deployable health warriors to respond to 'all hazards' as well as successfully working on a daily basis throughout govt. Eliminating the OSG hurts the people because of the immense credibility of The OSG. The gradual and persistent attempts at marginalization of The OSG are due to the plague of politics and not any inherent weakness in the OSG. Until a few decades ago and for over 100 years all surgeons general came from the ranks of the USPHS via earned successive promotions through rear admiral and then presidential nomination and senate confirmation as a Vice Admiral based on merit and not patronage or politics. As one of the 7 uniformed services of The United States this is also how the Army, Navy and Air Force all promote their Surgeons General. Why is The OSG of The USPHS different? Why is there no longer a regular change of command and continuity of service that benefits the public and gov't like the other services? Why has it now become common to have huge time gaps between US Surgeons General filled by an 'acting SG'? I would respectfully suggest that a more appropriate solution is to fix the political problem, develop a 'vaccine' for the political plague that is hurting our nation and revert back to the time honored and tested method of nominating Surgeons General, just like the Army, Navy and Air Force do, by earned merit! The public would expect no less. To not do so de values the career officers who sacrifice much as they aspire and work diligently over a career to be considered for the position of SG. Last, RADM Boris Lushniak, the current acting SG is eminently qualified to be considered for nomination as SG as are several other career USPHS officers..
    Published on 03-27-2014 07:57 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. General Interest

    The Commissioned Officers Association (COA) and its affiliate the PHS Commissioned Officers Foundation for the Advancement of Public Health (COF) announce James Tyson Currie as executive director. Currie holds a doctoral degree in history from the University of Virginia and is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.

    Dr. Currie was a professor of Political Science/National Security Studies at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University for 18 years. More recently he has worked as legislative director for the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the largest trade association representing the recreational boat building industry, with 1500 members; and prior to that as the director of federal relations at the National Association of State Treasurers. Colonel Currie also worked as a staff member in the U.S. Senate. He is the author of three books and 25 articles.

    Colonel Currie was the unanimous choice of the search committee after an exhaustive review of some fifty applicants for the position. He is one of the few applicants meeting all three of the most important criteria identified by the association and foundation boards: uniformed service experience, demonstrated leadership, and success in managing organizations. He has a rich background of accomplishment and possesses the skills necessary to lead COA and COF to continued success in the years ahead.

    Currie said that he is honored by his selection to become the executive director for the association and foundation. "It will be the culmination of my career," he said. "I am excited about the opportunity to represent the incredible officers of the U.S. Public Health Service--active and retired--and to furthering the goals of the association and the foundation. Jerry Farrell will be an extremely tough act to follow, as he has been everything you would want in an executive director."

    Colonel Currie will replace Farrell who has served as COA/COF executive director since 2001. Colonel Currie will begin work on 1 April. He is COA's fourth executive director since the association was incorporated in 1951.

    The Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service is dedicated to improving and protecting the public health of the United States by advocating for the 125-year-old Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, one of seven uniformed services. Led by the Surgeon General, the 6,800 officers in the PHS Commissioned Corps "protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of our Nation."

    -PRWeb
    by Published on 03-15-2014 09:14 AM

    A combination of factors is derailing the confirmation of Vivek Murthy for the post of U.S. Surgeon General. His prior ties to the White House, his youth and inexperience, and his comments that drew the attention of the National Rifle Association (NRA), have all influenced his level of support. Most significantly, his nomination could affect the strategic re-election plans of politicians who fear backlash from voting for a nominee who has an opinion on gun control that runs counter to the NRA's.

    It's highly unlikely that Mr. Murthy is opposed to the ownership of rifles, however. His opposition has centered on the public health impact of gun ownership as seen from the point of view of a physician. His right to make observations on the impact of gun ownership is as much of a right under the First Amendment as is the NRA's right to blithely ignore the consequences of making guns more lethal and more easily concealed and readily available to handling by children. In the U.S., a child is killed every other day by a gun and 1 in 3 homes has a gun inside.

    It can be argued that the NRA is not interested in criticizing gun owners who are not more responsible with their gun safety, nor are they interested in making guns inherently safer by encouraging the use of lockouts or interlocks in guns that would prevent accidental deaths. It can also be argued that the consequences of only encouraging more guns, more clip capacity, and more assault and military weapons, and more concealed carry of handguns merely increases the probability that a physician like Vivek Murthy will express frustration when trying to save the life of another gunshot victim.

    Since the NRA has so successfully politicized guns to the point that no public official can even speak of the impact of guns on society from a public health standpoint, it has made anyone who is considering running for office or being nominated for office fearful of speaking out against the impact of guns on society. As long as the NRA is successful in intimidating while also pretending that guns will be abolished, no common-sense controls will ever take hold.
    Published on 03-13-2014 06:28 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. General Interest

    The Corps is recruiting participants for the 30th Army Ten-Miler in Washington, DC (http://www.armytenmiler.com). Each year for the last 5 years the cadre of PHS'ers who run this race has grown, to include RADM Boris Lushniak and three other PHS RADM's. The PHS group started with about 6 and has grown to nearly 100! The goal this year is 200!!

    The Army Ten-Miler event has become a highly visible national event for the PHS, and your participation continues to show the public and the other uniformed services the PHS's commitment to health promotion through fitness. Officers from Alaska, North Carolina, New Jersey, Georgia, Arizona and many other places have signed up and the organizers make no promises - but if you get yourselves here and they'll try to find a sofa to sleep on (or provide you with some decent hotel leads).

    Download the USPHS Ten-Miler sign-up form here.

    http://www.military.com/video/specia...2781221713001/
    Published on 03-13-2014 06:26 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. General Interest

    The First Annual C. Everett Koop Memorial NIH Symposium on Women’s Health Research will be held on Friday, May 16– A Celebration of Patient Centered Basic Research. This symposium honors the legacy of C. Everett Koop and all who advance women’s health research by service in the Uniformed Services of the United States Government. The theme of this symposium is Empowering Women with Uniformed Service. This symposium will be held in the Masur Auditorium at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (Building 10) in Bethesda, Maryland from 7:30 am - 3:30pm. Public transportation is highly recommended. Directions can be found at http://www.nih.gov/about/visitor/index.htm
    by Published on 02-07-2014 12:10 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Evaluations,
    3. General Interest

    In his direct, no nonsense style, Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona said out loud to the media what many of us uniformed officers are thinking; the Surgeon General is a health professional with not only credentials, but experience too, borne from years on the front line, reviewing a diversity of problems and solutions that give the office the depth it needs to react to each and every issue that confronts the Office of Surgeon General.

    Not only did former VADM Carmona make it clear that experience is key, he made it clear that there are many U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Officers who immediately fit the qualifications necessary to be Surgeon General, with decades of experience who supplant the need to nominate outside the ranks of the Commissioned Corps.

    See the above video after his comments regarding CVS. Thanks to CAPT Ignacio for this video link.
    by Published on 02-05-2014 07:56 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. General Interest

    CVS Caremark Corp has taken the bold step of halting sales of tobacco products in its 7,600 stores by October 2014.

    The retailer and pharmacy stated it would lose $2 billion in annual sales and take a loss of 6 to 9 cents per share this year, but as a pharmacy / healthcare provider for government and private plans, it hoped its decision would drive momentum for declining tobacco use and possibly pressure other retailers to follow suit.

    A partial driver is the decrease in cigarette sales over the last decade, and the concept of bolstering CVS Caremark's position in the healthcare market. CVS will offer smoking cessation programs to Caremark members. Kudos to CVS!
    by Published on 02-01-2014 09:21 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. General Interest

    By a 2:1 ratio, members of PHSChat for USPHS Officers have decided to reduce the visibility of threads and posts to non-member visitors. As a result, the main forums will appear as "Private" and no threads will be readable unless persons are logged into the website. With 1,025 threads and 4,275 posts, the site is a significant resource for new recruits, retirees, and every rank and experience in-between.

    Only registered members will be able to read and add to forum content, except for the Articles section and Classifieds, which will remain visible to the public. As an additional step, no member profiles will be visible to the public. A few members asked that at least some forums remain open to public view, however few forums would qualify (possibly the Forum Guide and Officer's Stories).

    One important reason for moving forum content behind a registration and membership is to lessen the ability of internet "trolls" to lurk and read forum content. Understandably, making each forum "private" will make it more difficult for officers and others to casually view the forum. However, if the forum has not been explicitly blocked on your work network, there's no reason to believe you cannot take a few minutes of time each day to check in and see what's being discussed.

    In addition to making the forum private, member registrations that were inactive for more than 18 months were recently culled. If your account is not active (you have not logged in for well over one year) then your profile may not exist in the forum and you should re-register.