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    03-19-2010 02:37 AM

    The corps was established with the passage of the Bolton Act in 1943. It sought to train 65,000 new nurses. When the program ended in 1948, more than 124,000 nurses had been trained at 1,100 nursing schools. The program wasn't run by the military. The US Public Health Service — the precursor to the Department of Health and Human Services — administered it. Sargent served from 1943-46 at Eastern Maine ...

    (Note the cover insignia looks like USPHS Commissioned Corps insigina. In my book, that makes Eleanor Sargent and others who served in the Cadet Nurse Corps a Veteran. - PHSChat)

    Link to the story...
    Published on 03-03-2010 08:00 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Deployments

    by Christine Nathe, RDH, MScnathe@salud.unm.edu

    The spotlight this month focuses on LCDR Nicole Glines, who had the tremendous opportunity to serve on the USNS Comfort, the ship highlighted in last month's column. “Strength in diversity,” the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) motto, held true for Nicole, as she was one of 16 dental hygienists in the USPHS Commissioned Corps who had the opportunity to serve aboard the USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship, during its four–month deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean. The deployment was labeled “Partnership for the Americas: USNS Comfort offers Humanitarian Assistance to countries in South and Central America.” I had the opportunity to ask Nicole a few questions.

    Why did you decide to go into dental hygiene?

    I was a nontraditional student, having just completed my military obligation in the Navy, when I started the dental hygiene program at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. At that time I held a certification as a medical laboratory technician, and although I enjoyed the scientific aspect and pathology of the lab, I wanted my future to include patient interaction. Dental hygiene satisfied both those interests.

    How did you get into dental public health?

    When I graduated from dental hygiene, I chose to work in private practice and was recruited to take an active part in the South Dakota Dental Hygienists' Association. This was an eye opening opportunity for me as it allowed me to further my views on the roles of a dental hygienist, and exposed me to other professional issues associated with our profession. During this time I was mentored in many diverse aspects, including legislative activity and community outreach. I attended an ADHA annual session where the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps had an exhibit and recruitment booth. I contacted a USD alumnus who served as a community and clinical dental hygienist with Indian Health Services. My professional course changed directions when I submitted my application to be commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service. Education always opens doors for opportunities, and it's no different in public health. There are programs that currently recognize all levels of dental hygiene degrees within the Commissioned Corps for job placement. One thing is certain — once an officer is in the field, he or she will benefit from gaining further education.

    What is your current position?

    I serve as a community and clinical dental hygienist with Indian Health Services stationed with the Oglala Sioux Tribe in Pine Ridge, S.D. My position is both challenging and rewarding as I work with special populations such as diabetics and prenatal moms, and in the community with Head Start, Child Care, and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) to name a few. Much of my time is spent in schools managing school sealant programs and fluoride mouth rinse. I'm involved in other activities, such as serving as a trainer and consultant for tobacco cessation activities in dental offices throughout South Dakota, as well as professional group activities within the Commissioned Corps.

    Can you discuss any particularly interesting experiences you have had in your dental public health positions?

    The most interesting part of my job is working with collaborative partners in projects with a common goal and the learning that comes from this. For instance, the population I serve experiences a very high rate of early childhood caries. It is imperative to form partnerships with groups that have access to children and families to address the issue from a prevention standpoint as opposed to treatment. Because of this, I've had the opportunity to participate in research projects led by academia from major universities, marketing and communication experts, and those at the grassroots level, that have helped develop culturally appropriate educational resources and served as the driving force in creating change.

    What type of advice would you give to a practicing hygienist thinking of doing something different?

    Public health affects your community, and it provides ample opportunities that are not always openly discussed. Volunteering for projects or civic group activities leads to networking resources. These can expand into diverse opportunities that may or may not have an oral component, but can still benefit from a dental hygienist's involvement.

    If a career in public health is in your future, I would recommend looking at the different directions of public health such as research, epidemiology, health promotion and disease prevention, or clinical services. Education and practical experiences beyond a traditional dental hygiene degree are both beneficial and highly recommended when making the transition. The challenges and experiences are unlimited when you enter a public health profession.

    About the Author

    Christine Nathe, RDH, MS, is a professor and graduate program director at the University of New Mexico, Division of Dental Hygiene, in Albuquerque, N.M. She is also the author of “Dental Public Health” (www.prenhall.com/nathe), which is in its second edition with Prentice Hall. She can be reached at cnathe@salud.unm.edu or (505) 272–8147.

    Source: Reposted from www.dentistryiq.com

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    Published on 01-16-2010 01:46 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Deployments

    1/23: HHS medical teams have seen more than 8,000 patients since they began providing patient care in Haiti. As of midnight, Jan. 22, HHS teams had performed 30 surgeries so far and delivered 8 babies. HHS and CDC, along with WHO and Haitian Health Ministry, launched a pilot study assessing public health risks in over 30 sentinel sites around the capital city. The study will be expanded as rapid assessment surveys.

    1/16: The first medical teams on the ground in Haiti from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are providing technical assistance at the GHESKIO Clinic in the capital, Port-au-Prince. They will begin basic and acute medical care in the aftermath of Tuesday's earthquake and its aftershocks.

    More than 200 HHS medical personnel arrived yesterday in the Caribbean country, and 50 additional personnel are en route. Shipments of medicine, medical equipment and supplies have also begun to arrive for use by the HHS teams. In addition, HHS disaster mortuary personnel began working today with Haitian officials to determine how the United States can assist in managing fatalities. HHS personnel also are working with local officials to assess veterinary needs.

    HHS personnel also may assist the Haitian government with mental health services, disaster and public health assessments, environmental health and safety testing, and the critical reconstruction of health care infrastructure. The HHS teams of doctors, nurses, paramedics, emergency medical technicians and other personnel are part of the National Disaster Medical System and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. HHS activated both organizations to assist in relief efforts in Haiti.

    HHS is also helping U.S. citizens returning from Haiti. Since the earthquake, personnel from the HHS Administration for Children and Families' Office of Refugee Resettlement have assisted nearly 1,000 Americans being flown from Haiti to U.S. military bases, assessing their needs upon arrival. These needs may include medical care, short-term shelter, and transportation to their destinations in the United States.

    1/15: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has activated the National Disaster Medical System and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. More than 250 personnel are in the process of deploying to Haiti and over 12,000 personnel could possibly assist in the coming days.

    “HHS medical personnel from across the country are traveling to Haiti to provide emergency medical care,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “These experts will provide medical care to the injured and will support the public health response on the ground. Additional medical personnel will be deploying to Haiti to help address the critical health issues in the aftermath of the earthquake. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those who are suffering from this terrible disaster.”

    The medical teams include doctors, nurses, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, emergency medical and surgical physicians, and other medical personnel from Georgia, California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Florida. An International Medical Surgical Response Team will provide care for severely injured patients and five Disaster Medical Assistance Teams will provide basic medical care. These personnel will be accompanied by 22,000 pounds of medical equipment and supplies.

    In addition, experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will assist with checking the water and food supply. HHS is committed to supporting the medical and public health needs of the Haitian people. The department will continue to mobilize support staff and supplies as part of the integrated U.S. government response to the earthquake.

    For the latest information, visit www.hhs.gov.
    by Published on 01-09-2010 01:34 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Transformation

    Since being commissioned, it seemed like we have had acting Surgeon Generals as often as nominated and confirmed surgeon generals. To put that thesis to the test, I used data on acting and appointed Surgeon general terms from Wikipedia. I took the dates in the table as factual, and started my analysis on the term prior to the first acting Surgeon General on the list, therefore my analysis spanned 12/18/1969 to the end term of our last acting Surgeon General on 11/2/2009. Here's the raw data table:

    Term # Rank Name Begin End Total Time Years Months Days
    11 RADM Steinfeld 12/18/69 06/30/73 3 years, 6 months, 12 days 3 6 12
    12 VADM Richmond 07/13/77 05/14/81 3 years, 10 months, 1 days 3 10 1
    13 VADM Koop 01/21/82 10/01/89 7 years, 8 months, 10 days 7 8 10
    14 VADM Novello 03/09/90 06/30/93 3 years, 3 months, 21 days 3 3 21
    15 VADM Elders 09/08/93 12/31/94 1 years, 3 months, 23 days 1 3 23
    16 ADM Satcher 02/13/98 02/12/02 3 years, 11 months, 30 days 3 11 30
    17 VADM Carmona 08/05/02 07/31/06 3 years, 11 months, 26 days 3 11 26
    Totals: 23 52 113 Total: 27.7
    (acting) RADM Ehrlich 07/01/73 07/13/77 4 years, 0 months, 12 days 4 0 12
    (acting) Brandt 05/14/81 01/21/82 0 years, 8 months, 7 days 0 8 7
    (acting) ADM Mason 10/01/89 03/09/90 0 years, 5 months, 8 days 0 5 8
    (acting) RADM Whitney 07/01/93 09/08/93 0 years, 2 months, 7 days 0 2 7
    (acting) RADM Manley 01/01/95 07/01/97 2 years, 6 months, 0 days 2 6 0
    (acting) RADM Moritsugu 02/13/02 08/04/02 0 years, 5 months, 22 days 0 5 22
    (acting) RADM Moritsugu 08/01/06 09/30/07 1 years, 1 months, 29 days 1 1 29
    (acting) RADM Galson 10/01/07 10/01/09 2 years, 0 months, 0 days 2 0 0
    (acting) RADM Weaver 10/01/09 11/02/09 0 years, 1 months, 1 days 0 1 1
    Totals: 9 28 86 Total: 12.6

    This analysis spans 39.3 years and over the period, the Surgeon Generals were in office 2.2 years for every year of acting Surgeons General. However, lets look at the last 20 versus the first 20 years:

    Since 12/18/1969 to 3/9/1990, 20 years, 2 months, 19 days
    Acting Years 5.2
    Confirmed S.G. years 15.1 2.9 Confirmed SG years to Acting Years
    Since 3/9/1990 to 11/2/2009, 19 years, 7 months, 24 days
    Acting Years 7.4
    Confirmed S.G. years 12.6 1.7 Confirmed SG years to Acting Years

    The data show that in the last 20 years (1990 - 2009), Confirmed SG years to Acting SG years have decreased 41% compared to the prior 20 year period (1969 - 1990). In the first 20 year period, career Corps officers were acting SG's 34% of the time. In the second 20 year period, career Corps officers took the job 59% of the time. Although this analysis is not exact, it shows that in the recent two decade history of the Corps, career USPHS officers hold the office of SG for longer periods than in the past. This illustrates the inability of the current nomination and confirmation process to maintain the office outside the ranks of career Corps officers and provides a rationale for swift appointment of the SG among officers ready and available to serve as appointees to the position.
    by Published on 01-09-2010 09:33 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Recruiting and COSTEP

    There is an interesting (and much needed) roll-out of a prescreen and application status portal for applicants or prospective candidates. This is a great addition (I hope) to the process because we get quite a few questions here at PHSChat from applicants and those interested in a commission. Direct applicants to this new portal, they may not be aware that it exists!

    One thing about the portal; you cannot have your pop-up blocker set to "high". A lower setting is necessary to allow pop-ups to show. There are disqualifying height/weight and medical conditions unless the medical condition is mild enough for a medical limited tour for observation and reevaluation.

    From the DCP website:

    "In anticipation of the upcoming electronic Call to Active Duty (eCAD) rollout on January 4th, 2010 the Division of Commissioned Corps Assignments (DCCA) and the Division of Commissioned Corps Recruitment (DCCR) are updating some internal business processes to improve the overall application process. These changes are required to improve overall customer service and quality assurance as it pertains to the application process. It is anticipated that these changes will reduce initial application processing times by 2-4 weeks while ensuring the individual applicant is thoroughly informed about the Corps and the application process.

    To ensure the successful implementation of these processes, we need to make sure that all interested applicants are directed to the current Website: www.usphs.gov to obtain information and instructions on how to apply to the Corps. Please be aware that applications will not be readily available to an interested applicant until he/she initiates a prescreen which is then reviewed by DCCR. It is essential that those who have been proactive in recruitment-type activities direct any future applicants to www.usphs.gov to ensure appropriate messaging and instructions.

    Your help is greatly appreciated!"
    by Published on 01-08-2010 09:50 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Training

    My name is Freddy Garcia, koopstroops membername on PHSChat and a graduate of PHS Officer Basic Course Class #28. I am a former Navy enlistedman, turned Navy commissioned officer, turned PHS commissioned officer! So far, I am very happy with my transition into the PHS!

    I recently completed my Officer Basic Course (OBC) in Landsdowne, VA. I had already been in the PHS system for a few months before one day I received an email saying I was slotted to go to OBC from 5DEC-18DEC2009. Upon arrival to Washington, D.C. there were many questions.

    I arrived at the airport and did not have the slightest clue where the Shuttle to the National Conference Center (NCC) was at. I waited an hour before I decided to just catch a taxi to NCC in Landsdowne, VA (I charged this fee on my government credit card). Once there, I checked into the conference center and received a memo that I was to meet in class in a couple of hours.

    In class, they divided us up into groups. We would end up being in these groups (squads) for the first week. The first 3 days, we were in black slacks and a white shirt (NO UNIFORMS). This allows those who did not have uniforms to order them from the Navy Exchange dealers who visited with us the first day. Throughout the 3 days, we started learning the PHS mission, uniform regulations, Public Health Structure, drilling, etc.

    On day 4 we finally had to wear our uniforms (Khaki). On this day, we were pinned by an Admiral. This formalized the welcome into the PHS service! Training continued for the next couple of days until the weekend came around. On the weekend, they gave us liberty to go out and do the "sightseeing," so long as we were in a "buddy system." This meant you must have one other person from training with you at all times.

    The following week started with more group exercise training, this time away from your squad. This would eventually set up the stage for the final day before graduation where we would be placed in a mock disaster training exercise. This mock exercise is conducted the day before graduation between 0300-0500. On graduation, we received our training certificate, training ribbon, and PHS challenge coin. Family is invited and after the ceremony, you can meet with liasions from your agency to discuss any matters or ask any questions.

    Important points learned from training:

    1. We were told that after our class, the required uniforms were going to change to Khaki uniform and BDU's
    2. If you have a laptop, bring it to the training
    3. Use your military ID to avoid baggage fee's at airport, you are active duy!If you are at the airport and you get lost, visit the United Services Organization (USO) kiosk/center for assistance and free snacks, coffee, wifi, relaxation! Be nice to these people, they are very nice volunteers!
    4. During training, time is limited. Get as much sleep as possible
    5. Starbucks coffee is available 24/7 at NCC for free! Utilize it!
    6. The NCC layout where u are staying is very confusing. Carry a map with you
    7. You have the option of doing a physical fitness test on second week. You can do this test without recording the results if you choose.
    8. On the weekend of liberty, try to make a visit to Naval Hospital Bethesda where there is a Navy Exchange at. Here you can purchase the rest of your uniforms/components and other nifty items! Leave enough time to sightsee the national mall though if you have never done so!
    9. Group exercises in second week are a lot of fun, practice your break dancing moves!
    10. The NCC center has a bar in it "Black Olive," which features a mini cafe in the rear and all essentials @ bar
    11. The gift shop is very expensive
    12. There is a shopping center a couple miles away from NCC with restaurants, CVS, grocery store, Starbucks, barber shop!
    13. Lastly, start your PHS networking with the people you meet at OBC. Great experiences and friends are made at this short training.
    by Published on 01-02-2010 02:49 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Deployments

    I've been thinking about fitness a lot lately, with my busy schedule, recent media attention to former SG's diet and fitness messages, the recent Tier I, II and III training at AP Hill (and the minimal role fitness played in that exercise), and just the general state of appearances for USPHS officers as health advocates.

    Lets think about the mission for a minute. You know that the reason you wear a uniform is deployment. Deployment roles could mean strenuous work. That said, I have never seen a mission in danger of failure due to fitness issues. So lets pretend that you, officer X, are in a situation where you are setting up a base camp, moving people, supplies, machinery, etc. on a daily basis, for weeks. You don't want to be a liability. You could do your job better, faster, longer..... if you were fit.

    Lets think about your image for a minute. You know that obesity is one of the top health issues of our time. You know that you represent the Public Health Service. Yet you know that the message your fitness level sends is wrong. You don't want to be a liability. You could lead better by example..... if you were fit.

    Now, look at the President's Challenge. You maintain readiness by using the President's Challenge. You faithfully enter your activities into the PC, but still, you know that you are not fit, you do not do cardiovascular training, and you are out of shape and getting older and .... fatter. You are on a trend line that is heading in the wrong direction, and the President's Challenge is not helping you reverse that trend or even slow down. You consume more calories than you use.

    If that scenario looks familiar, you are far from being alone. In fact, you are the rule, not the exception. I think I have a simple solution. Earn the right to use the President's Challenge. Require all USPHS Officers to be evaluated by a health provider who can use a quick and dirty screening method to evaluate your body fat and cardiovascular fitness level. If you fail to meet a minimum screening requirement or cannot hit Level 1 for your age group , you must within 60 days 1) get a full medical evaluation (same as the 5 year physical) and 2) physician assessment of physical barriers to performing exercise.

    You are now "in the Program" so to speak... you cannot use the Presidents Challenge. You are required to obtain an exercise and weight loss plan under a physician's or dietitian's care. It is your responsibility to hit your personal fitness and body fat milestones to be where you need to be within 3 years.

    You are re-evaluated yearly by performing the APFT. In 3 years you must hit Level 1 for your age group. You may obtain a waiver from a physician to substitute a particular Level 1 fitness test for another approved test (swimming, for example).

    Your body fat must be reduced to the screening level maximum after a maximum of 3 years. If, after 3 years or sooner, you hit Level 1 or your annual physician screen of your body fat and cardiovascular fitness level is such that you can once again use the President's Challenge, then you remain in the Corps as long as you agree to continue to be screened yearly. If you can't pass the screen or obtain Level 1 after 3 years, then you are referred to a Medical Review Board.

    Sounds harsh? Maybe it is, but this type of program's time has come. In this form or another, there must be a system that levels the playing field among all officers. Some of us stay fit and ready, some of us need professional help to obtain fitness, and some of us just use the President's Challenge to prevent facing an inevitable truth... that diet and exercise is our personal responsibility to ourselves and to the Corps.