Rear Admiral Epifanio (Epi) Elizondo
Chief Health Services Officer, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
RADM Elizondo was selected by Surgeon General Regina Benjamin as the Chief Professional Officer for the Health Services Officer category effective August 10, 2010. He began his USPHS career with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Since his transfer from the U.S. Air Force, he has served in a variety of positions including a PA clinician, Assistant Health Services Administrator, Chief Physician Assistant (PA), Regional Minority Health Consultant, Deputy Regional Health Administrator (DRHA), and currently as the Regional Health Administrator (RHA) for HHS/OASH Region VI.
RADM Elizondo’s first assignment was as a clinical PA providing care for Federal inmates at Federal Medical Center Fort Worth, in Texas. Shortly after his arrival, he was promoted to Assistant Health Services Administrator. This promotion entailed responsibility for a multimillion dollar contract to operate a secure wing for inmates to receive care in a community hospital when required. He also coordinated a BOP-sponsored PA training program for staff in collaboration with the Department of Defense and the University of Nebraska. All participants graduated with a Master of Physician Assistant Studies Degree and successfully completed their national board certification. For his next assignment, RADM Elizondo was appointed Chief PA for the BOP and served in that capacity in Washington, DC.
In 2000, RADM Elizondo transferred to the regional office as the Regional Minority Health Consultant to address issues related to health disparities among minority and disadvantaged populations. He also worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on issues related to indoor and outdoor air including asthma in children.
In 2004, he was appointed Deputy RHA and in 2006, he was promoted to RHA in Region VI. As RHA, he serves as the senior Federal public health official and scientist in the region. In this capacity, he performs essential functions for the Department in three major areas: prevention, preparedness, and agency-wide coordination. He also serves as the Federal Emergency Management Agency‘s Region D Senior Health Official for Pandemic Influenza. During the most recent Presidential transition, RADM Elizondo also served as Regional Director (RD) until a permanent RD was named.
RADM Elizondo served as Deputy Commander of the Secretary’s Emergency Response Team during Hurricane Rita and as Commander of the Secretary’s Emergency Response Team during part of the Katrina response. During the early response to Hurricane Katrina, RADM Elizondo was assigned, by then Surgeon General VADM Carmona, as the lead for the Federal response associated with the care of evacuees housed in the Dallas-Forth Worth area. When the rapid deployment force teams were established, RADM Elizondo was appointed as the first commander of Rapid Deployment Team Force 4, which was comprised of officers from Texas and Oklahoma.
Prior to being commissioned in the Corps, RADM Elizondo served as an enlisted Hospital Corpsmen in the U.S. Navy, as a Warrant Officer and commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and Kansas National Guard, and as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force. RADM Elizondo keeps his national certification and his Texas State PA Permit current and maintains his clinical competency through clinical practice at the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Fort Worth, TX.
RADM Elizondo’s uniform services awards include the PHS Meritorious Service Medal, USNR Meritorious Service Medal, BOP Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Crisis Response Service Award. His non-uniform service awards include the HHS Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service, the Attorney General’s Award for Career Enhancement, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons Assistant Director’s Award for the Health Services Division.
RADM Elizondo holds bachelor degrees from the University of Washington and Wichita State University, master degrees from Wichita State University and the University of Nebraska, and a doctorate (Ph.D.) from Kansas State University.