The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps is an elite team of more than 6,500 full-time, well-trained, highly qualified public health professionals. USPHS falls under the leadership of the Assistant Secretary of Health and the Surgeon General within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Below is a detailed look at the leadership and structure of the Commissioned Corps.
Acting Assistant Secretary for Health Wanda K. Jones, Dr.P.H.
The Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) oversees the USPHS Commissioned Corps, providing it with strategic and policy direction. Under the supervision of the ASH, the Surgeon General of the USPHS provides operational command of the Commissioned Corps. The ASH serves as the primary advisor to the Secretary of HHS on matters involving the Nation’s public health and science. The ASH runs the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) and helps coordinate the activities of the USPHS agencies on behalf of the Secretary. Wanda K. Jones, Dr.P.H. is the Assistant Secretary for Health.
Acting Surgeon General Rear Admiral Boris D. Lushniak
The Surgeon General, through the Office of the Surgeon General, oversees the 6,500-member Commissioned Corps. The Surgeon General is America’s chief health educator, responsible for giving Americans the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce the risk of illness and injury. The Surgeon General is appointed by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the United States Senate for a 4-year term of office. Rear Admiral Boris D Lushniak is the Acting Surgeon General effective July 17, 2013.
Acting Deputy Surgeon General Rear Admiral Scott F. Giberson
The Deputy Surgeon General of the United States serves as the principal assistant and advisor to the Surgeon General regarding the development and implementation of programs, priorities, and initiatives. Effective July 17, 2013, as Acting Deputy Surgeon General, Rear Admiral Scott F. Giberson maintains effective relationships and collaborations with executive leadership within the Federal Government and serves as Chief Executive Officer of the 6,500-plus members of the USPHS Commissioned Corps.
Chief of Staff, Office of the Surgeon General Captain Robert DeMartino, M.D.
Robert DeMartino, MD, is the Chief of Staff to the Surgeon General and is responsible for the direction and management of the Office of the Surgeon General (OSG), including Science and Communications and Systems Integration. CAPT DeMartino plans, implements and evaluates management operations of the OSG to ensure that program objectives are met, and he provides advice and recommendations on United States Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps policy and operations to the Surgeon General, the Deputy Surgeon General and the Assistant Secretary for Health. In addition, CAPT DeMartino represents the Surgeon General and Deputy Surgeon General at regional, national, and international health and professional meetings and collaborates and communicates on matters regarding OSG activities with federal agencies and offices within and outside the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Acting Director, Division of Commissioned Corps Personnel and Readiness CAPT Scott Helgeson
Captain Helgeson serves as the Director of the Assignments and Career Management Branch (ACMB), Division of Commissioned Corps Personnel and Readiness (DCCPR) for the Office of the Surgeon General. In this capacity he provides operational direction and control to the majority of Corps Headquarters units including assignments, training, officer support, compensation and medical affairs.
Previous assignments include Acting Deputy Area Director, Acting Director of the Office of Environmental Health and Engineering, and Director of the Division of Sanitation Facilities Construction for the Indian Health Service (IHS), Nashville Area Office. He also has extensive environmental engineering and project management experience serving in multiple IHS field sites including Wisconsin, California, Alabama and an isolated hardship duty station in South Dakota.
Captain Helgeson was commissioned in the U.S. Public Health Service in 1992 after graduating from the University of Maine with a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of South Dakota since 1997 and earned a Masters of Engineering in Engineering Management from the University of Idaho in 2007.
Emergency response related activities include deployments to support recovery efforts in Louisiana after Hurricanes Andrew in 1993, tornado destruction on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1999, and the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina in 2003. In 2008 Captain Helgeson served aboard the USS Kearsarge on an 8-week deployment to Central and South America in support of the HHS Health Diplomacy initiative which also included disaster response services in Haiti. In addition to several uniformed service unit and service awards, Captain Helgeson has earned the PHS Outstanding Service, four PHS Commendation Medals, the US Navy Achievement Medal, three IHS Directors Awards, the Engineers Literary Award and the John C. Villforth Leadership Award from the Commissioned Officer Association.
Chief Professional Officers
Individual professional categories within the Commissioned Corps are represented by Chief Professional Officers (CPOs). These officers provide leadership and coordination of their professional category for the Office of the Surgeon General and HHS. As CPOs, they offer guidance and advice to the Surgeon General and administrative committees on matters such as recruitment, retention, and career development of officers within their professions. Click on the links below for additional information and a biography of the CPO in your profession.