United States Public Health Service

United States Public Health Service
United States Public Health Service (logo).svg
Logo of the United States Public Health Service
Flag of the United States Public Health Service.svg
Flag of the U.S. Public Health Service
Agency overview
Formed1798 (reorganized/renamed: 1871/1889/1902/1912)
JurisdictionFederal government of the United States
HeadquartersHubert H. Humphrey Building
Washington, D.C.
Agency executive
Parent agencywww.hhs.gov/ash
"Public Health Service March"[1]

The United States Public Health Service (USPHS) is a division of the Department of Health and Human Services concerned with public health. It contains eight out of the department's eleven operating divisions. The Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) oversees the PHS. The Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC) is the federal uniformed service of the USPHS, and is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.

Its origins can be traced to the establishment of 1798 of a system of marine hospitals. In 1870 these were consolidated into the Marine Hospital Service, and the position of Surgeon General was established. In 1889, the PHSCC was established. As the system's scope grew, it was renamed the Public Health Service in 1912. The Public Health Service Act of 1944 consolidated and revised previous laws and is the current legal basis for the PHS. It became part of the Federal Security Agency and later the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, which became the Department of Health and Human Services in 1979.[2][3]

Organization

Eight out of the eleven operating divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services are designated as part of the Public Health Service:[4]

The three other divisions are designated human services agencies and are not part of the Public Health Service. These are the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Administration for Children and Families, and Administration for Community Living.[4][5]

The Assistant Secretary for Health is the senior official in change of the Public Health Service. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health contains the following core agencies:[6]

United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps

The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC) employs more than 6,000 uniformed public health professionals for the purpose of delivering public health promotion and disease prevention programs and advancing public health science. Members of the Commissioned Corps often serve on the frontlines in the fight against disease and poor health conditions.

The mission of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of the people of the United States. According to the PHSCC, this mission is achieved through rapid and effective response to public health needs, leadership and excellence in public health practices, and advancement of public health science.

As one of the United States seven uniformed services, the PHS Commissioned Corps fills public health leadership and service roles within federal government agencies and programs. The PHS Commissioned Corps includes officers drawn from many professions, including environmental and occupational health, medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, psychology, social work, hospital administration, health record administration, nutrition, engineering, science, veterinary, health information technology, and other health-related occupations.

Officers of the Corps wear uniforms similar to those of the United States Navy with special PHSCC insignia, and the Corps uses the same commissioned officer ranks as the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps from ensign to admiral, uniformed services pay grades O-1 through O-10 respectively.

According to § 8331, service in the PHSCC after June 30, 1960 is considered military service for retirement purposes. Under § 213, active service in the PHSCC is considered active military service for the purposes of most veterans' benefits and for antidiscrimination laws.[7]