Integrity: A Way of Life for Commissioned Corps Officers

September 16, 2014


CDR Gregory Davis

The Commissioned Corps defines Integrity, one of the Service’s four core values, as “exemplifying uncompromising ethical conduct and maintaining the highest standards of responsibility and accountability.” For Commissioned Corps officers, the meaning of this core value goes beyond the individual officer.

“Integrity is what you do when you don’t think someone else is watching. It is following your moral and ethical compass by being constantly aware of whom your decisions or actions are supposed to be benefitting,” says CDR Gregory Davis, a Pharmacist serving the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Office of Global Health Affairs.

More than 6,700 Commissioned Corps officers work on the front lines of public health representing a diversity of professional disciplines and serving at 22 federal departments and agencies. Whether interacting with a patient, managing a grant program, or developing a new law or regulation, “integrity is the cornerstone for all of our actions as officers and public health professionals. It is about trust and doing right by the people we serve,” states CDR Davis.

By embodying the core values of the Service and proudly wearing the Commissioned Corps uniform, Corps officers fulfill a position of public trust and leadership. CAPT Stephen Spaulding, a Therapist serving the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), notes that “officers are role models to inmates and fellow staff because of the gold standard of integrity that the Corps represents.”


CAPT Stephen Spaulding

For CAPT Spaulding, integrity also means going above and beyond requirements to deliver the highest quality of work. “At 5:00 PM when your shift ends, you can’t blow off the work that’s not done; you have to rise to the challenge,” says CAPT Spaulding.

Many officers were attracted to the Commissioned Corps because of the integrity that the Service exudes. As a pharmacy student, CDR Davis met a Commissioned Corps officer that inspired him during a rotation at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “The officer really embodied the kind of dedication to both mission and service that was foundational for me,” says CDR Davis. “When my rotation ended, I applied to the Corps and never looked back.”

For Commissioned Corps officers, integrity is not something that turns on and off. “As officers, we embody the Corps values 24/7 and I apply these values of our Service in every interaction I have whether it be at work, at home, or in the community,” says CDR Davis, who also serves as a youth sports leader and mentor in his community.

Integrity defines Corps officers both as public health professionals and as citizens. “For me, integrity is not just a core value, it’s the core value. Trust is precious and fragile. It takes years to develop and only a second to lose,” says CDR Davis.