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 Karen B. DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc
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. Karen B. DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc is the Assistant Secretary for Health.
Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A.
Vice Admiral (VADM) Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., was nominated by President Barack Obama in November 2013 and confirmed on December 15, 2014 as the 19th United States Surgeon General. As America’s Doctor, Dr. Murthy is responsible for communicating the best available scientific information to the public regarding ways to improve personal health and the health of the nation. He 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. As a clinician-educator, Dr. Murthy has cared for thousands of patients and trained hundreds of residents and medical students. He regards caring for patients as the greatest privilege of his life.
Deputy Surgeon General (RADM) Sylvia Trent-Adams, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N.
As Deputy Surgeon General, Rear Admiral (RADM) Sylvia Trent-Adams, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N. advises and supports the Surgeon General regarding operations of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps and in communicating the best available scientific information to advance the health of the 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. RADM Trent-Adams received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Hampton University, a Master of Science in Nursing and Health Policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She became a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in 2014
Chief of Staff, Office of the Surgeon General Parag V. Mehta, M.P.A.
Parag Mehta serves as Chief of Staff to the U.S. Surgeon General. In that capacity he oversees operations, communications, external engagement and science and policy for Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy. Prior to joining the Office of the Surgeon General in March of 2015, he directed communications for the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, a civil rights agency in the U.S. Department of Labor. In 2008, Mehta served on President Barack Obama’s Transition Team as a liaison to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans. He later managed former Governor Gary Locke’s confirmation to become U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Mehta has spent over 15 years working in government, public policy, advocacy and on various political campaigns. He began his career as a Presidential Management Fellow in the Health Resources and Services Administration. He holds degrees from The University of Texas at Austin and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.
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.