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 Don Wright, M.D., M.P.H.
As the Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH), Don Wright 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.
Acting Surgeon General Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N.
Rear Admiral (RADM) Sylvia Trent-Adams is responsible for communicating the best available scientific information to the public regarding ways to improve personal health and the health of the nation. She also oversees the operations of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, comprised of approximately 6,800 uniformed health officers who serve in locations around the world to promote, protect, and advance the health and safety of our nation.
RADM Trent-Adams has held various positions in HHS, working to improve access to care for poor and underserved communities. As a clinician and administrator, she has had a direct impact on building systems of care to improve public health for marginalized populations domestically and internationally. She served as the Chief Nurse Officer of the USPHS from November 2013 through May 2016. Prior to joining the USPHS, RADM Trent-Adams was a nurse officer in the U.S. Army.
Deputy Surgeon General
Chief of Staff, Office of the Surgeon General
Director, Division of Commissioned Corps Personnel and Readiness
Rear Admiral Joan Hunter, BSN, RN, MSW
As Director, Division of Commissioned Corps Personnel and Readiness (DCCPR), Rear Admiral (RADM) Joan Hunter is responsible for directing all functions regarding personnel, administration, operations, readiness, deployment, and policy for the over 6,700 members of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (Corps). She is the principal advisor to the Surgeon General (SG) on activities and policies related to Corps training, preparedness, activation, deployment, and total force fitness. RADM Hunter earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from George Mason University and a Master of Social Work (MSW) from Virginia Commonwealth University.
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.