U.S. Public Health Service Response Teams Named Finalists in HHS Innovates Competition

Representatives from the U.S. Public Health Service Response Teams pose with Secretary Sebelius and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin.

Representatives from the U.S. Public Health Service Response Teams pose with Secretary Sebelius and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin.

On March 30th, 2012 the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Response Teams received recognition from Secretary Sebelius as finalists in the HHSinnovates competition (http://1.usa.gov/Hau5H8). The award was presented to the teams for their efforts and innovation in various Community Health and Service Missions (CHASM). There were more than 80 submissions in the competition and the teams received honorable mention as part of the top 6 finalists.

The CHASM program, managed within the Division of Commissioned Corps Personnel and Readiness, trains officers on emergency response while simultaneously building health infrastructure. The program assists in bridging the chasm of health disparities, protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services for those who are least able to help themselves. This program helps underserved and vulnerable populations in the United States by fostering collaborations among local, state, tribal and federal governments, with active participation from local volunteers and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

The CHASM program competed well in the HHSinnovates competition due to its unique, cost-effective way for efficiently utilizing the USPHS Response Teams, a highly mobile collection of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) divided into smaller teams consisting of Rapid Deployment Force teams (RDF), Mental Health Teams (MHT), Service Access Team (SAT), Applied Public Health Team (APHT). CHASM is particularly transformative because it creates the ability to bring in multidisciplinary experts from across federal agencies under one umbrella, enhancing knowledge and services provided. USPHS Response Teams provide expertise in primary care, oral health, veterinarian, nursing, mental health, preventive medicine, environmental health, epidemiology, toxicology, program administration and development, and applied public health care. This composition of USPHS teams provides cross training opportunities which strengthen USPHS teams response capabilities as well as local infrastructure by addressing the specific needs of a community.

Team representatives received awards on behalf of their individual teams for their specific contributions to the 2010 and 2011 CHASM events. In 2010, CHASM provided $1 million worth of medical and public health services impacting 38 counties in four states within seven weeks. In conjunction with NGOs, academia, local health departments, and volunteers, CHASM provided 4,737 services and procedures that included the delivery of primary and preventive health care services, oral health, and eye care, as well as veterinary services and health education. In addition, the CHASM program in Maryville, TN helped identify a smelter site that was declared an EPA Superfund project, for which $2.6 million was allocated for cleanup efforts. In 2011, CHASM increased its impact by providing $1.85 million worth of services affecting 500,000 people in four states through SMEs providing environmental assessments and direct health care services.

The HHSinnovates award has given CHASM recognition for the outstanding accomplishments made by the USPHS Response Teams in 2010 and 2011 as well as increased momentum and expectations for future efforts. CHASM is continuing to grow through collaboration with the Indian Health Service (IHS), other federal agencies and the Federal Interagency Health Equity Team (FIHET). In 2012 CHASMs include Operation Lone Star (southern Texas border) and Rosebud, SD and will expand by also utilizing both the Regional Incident Support Team (RIST) and National Incident Support Team (NIST). For additional information on how your organization can partner with CHASM please contact CAPT Daniel Beck at Dan.Beck@hhs.gov.

Source: Commissioned Corps E-Bulletin

Page Last Modified on 9/9/2013