Wednesday, June 4, 2008

PHS Commissioned Corps Deploys Public Health Professionals to Provide Hurricane Relief

PHS Commissioned Corps Deploys Public Health Professionals to Provide Hurricane Relief

The Commissioned Corps is the least known Uniformed Service, yet the first deployed to respond to chemical and/or biological attacks. There is no better time than now for the general public to get to know those who protect our Nation's public health.

(PRWEB) October 1, 2004

In the wake of the Hurricane’s Frances, Charley, Ivan, and Jeanne, the United States Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps has deployed some 490 officers to provide support to the citizens of Florida and Alabama. Officers from every category of the Service were utilized to meet any and every challenge encountered as a result of the devastation left behind by the deadly hurricanes – blamed for the deaths of close to 100 U. S. citizens. The PHS Commissioned Corps is a component of the Department and Health and Human Services (DHHS) and one of the seven uniformed services.

The magnitude of the crisis response is the largest for the Commissioned Corps since the terrorist attacks of 2001. On short notice, the Corps sent four dentists, three dieticians, twenty-three engineers, twenty-seven environmental health officers, seventy-seven health services officers, two hundred sixty-four nurses, thirty-nine pharmacists, twenty-five physicians, twenty-five scientists, ten therapists, and two veterinarians to the Gulf Coast. Responders provided relief for victims, supported local health facilities, and led units to stabilize building structures and to provide first aide to injured citizens. Most of the officers will focus on the areas of Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte, two of the areas hardest hit by the hurricanes.

Officers came from all agencies and divisions of DHHS including the Food and Drug Administration; the National Institutes of Health; the Indian Health Service; the Office of the Secretary; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry; the Program Support Center; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; the Health Services and Resource Administration; and the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research. Officers were also deployed from the Department of Agriculture; the Department of Homeland Security; the Bureau of Prisons; the U. S. Marshals Service; and the National Park Service.

This deployment is currently on-going and additional Corps officers will be deployed at the command of the leader of the day-to-day operations of the Commissioned Corps, Surgeon General, VADM Richard Carmona.

The Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service is a uniformed service comprised of 6,000 active duty and 2,500 inactive reserve highly-trained and mobile public health professionals who carry out programs to promote the health of the nation, understand and prevent disease and injury, assure safe and effective drugs and medical devices, deliver health services to federal beneficiaries, and furnish health expertise in time of war or other national or international emergencies. To meet and overcome the ever-evolving threats of terrorism, the Commissioned Corps is currently transforming to become a more mobile and deployable force, designed to respond to national and international public health crises. To find out more information about the PHS Commissioned Corps, you may visit http://www. usphs. gov (http://www. usphs. gov).

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