COF commissioned a university-based study about the role and value of the PHS Commissioned Corps in response to a 2010 Department of Health and Human Services "Management Review" of the Commissioned Corps. The Department's review was produced in the office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration. That report has been noted by a wide variety of knowledgeable program review personnel as "lacking in professional quality." That document, among other findings, remarkably concluded that the PHS Commissioned Corps officer is some 15 percent more expensive as a new hire than an "equivalent" civil service employee.
In May 2013, Muhiuddin Haider, Ph.D., of the University of Maryland School of Public Health, published his report titled, "The USPHS Commissioned Corps: A Study on Value and Contributions to DHHS Mission and National and Global Health Priorities and Initiatives."
As a result of the findings of the University of Maryland report, the Foundation remains concerned that the Department's somewhat superficial analysis, and therefore its conclusions were seriously flawed on several levels.
In February 2016, the PHS Commissioned Officers Foundation (COF) launched an online survey of all active duty and retired Public Health Service officers. The Board of Trustees sought feedback regarding the future direction of the Commissioned Corps and Surgeon General.
COF staff sent a link to the survey to all COA members, COA Local Branch leaders, Chief Professional Officers, and Professional Advisory Committee chairs, and posted information on the COA Facebook page.
A total of 1,939 people responded to the survey. Of those, 1,615 respondents were active duty. That is 24.5% of the 6,595 officers on active duty, as of the survey closure on February 24, 2016.
Other uniformed services have think tanks and policy organizations which examine the current status of forces and predict how future forces should be structured, trained, and equipped. They also scrutinize the service leaders. COF will provide such analysis for the PHS Commissioned Corps.
The COF Board of Trustees approved the creation of the survey in January/February 2015. Since its creation in 2001, COF has been asking questions about the Commissioned Corps and Office of the Surgeon General. Before COF started, COA was executing that role. Back in January 1997, COA convened a Special Advisory Committee on the Commissioned Corps. The committee sent a letter to President Bill Clinton with some recommendations. In February 1998, the committee sent a report with nine recommendations to senior HHS/OSG leaders.
The foundation conducts research into a range of issues that impact upon public health, including analyses of proposed and contemplated health policy changes. The most recent example is an independent study evaluating the USPHS Commissioned Corps values and contributions to the DHHS mission and national and global health priorities and initiatives (full report). The foundation has also investigated preparedness of the nation’s public health system to deal with emergencies and analyzing the factors that will motivate future generations to choose a particular career path, including one related to the PHS Commissioned Corps.
A report scheduled for completion in 2014 will examine the last 50 years of anti-tobacco campaigns by Surgeons General and organizations funded by the master settlement agreement.
Have a topic related to the PHS Commissioned Corps you would like to see researched? Call us today at 301-731-9080.
|Credit: USPHS Commissioned Corps|
The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are fully tax-deductible as charitable donations for income tax purposes. Donations are recognized at the annual Public Health Symposium and in the newsletter Frontline.