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CDR Eduardo Cua | Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service Skip to main content

CDR Eduardo Cua

February 2024 Officer Spotlight

CDR Eduardo Cua is a supervisory recovery field coordinator for the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR). In ASPR, he supports all phases of an incident providing subject matter expertise to the National Incident Management Team, including serving as a recovery liaison during the response phase of an incident. During a formal recovery mission activation, CDR Cua serves as the federal lead and coordinates the Health and Social Services Recovery Support Function, which includes environmental health/public health, behavioral health, education, human services, and healthcare systems to support affected state, territory, or tribal jurisdictions in their recovery. 

CDR Cua was called to active duty to the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps in 2010 after learning about the service from his supervisor, who completed an interservice transfer. At that time, CDR Cua was serving as a civilian clinical psychologist at the U.S. Army Health Center at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. The opportunity to serve underprivileged populations while in uniform and the ability to deploy during disasters is what attracted him to the USPHS Commissioned Corps.

Some highlights of CDR Cua’s 13-year USPHS Commissioned Corps career were working alongside dedicated Public Health Service officers to support local jurisdictions during emergency response and recovery missions. During his time at ASPR, he had unique opportunities to deploy to some amazing places: Hawaii, American Samoa, Palau, Guam, Saipan, Navajo Nation, and California. Being invited to support recovery efforts during a vulnerable time is an honor. CDR Cua remarks: “Helping restore hope and stability to an affected state, territory, or tribe is the biggest highlight of my career.” He continues, “As a minority officer, I was drawn to serve in these locations to give a culturally sensitive voice to each incident and help reduce barriers.”

CDR Cua enjoyed the role he played at US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), the largest combatant command responsible for achieving U.S. national security objectives in the culturally and economically diverse region. As the ASPR liaison officer, CDR Cua served alongside all uniformed services, partner, and ally nation officers, as well as the civilian agencies. The experience gave him a broad perspective of how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and USPHS Commissioned Corps fit into the broader federal government national security priorities. It solidified the importance of relationships and diplomacy at the global and regional levels.

Most recently, CDR Cua deployed as a recovery liaison to the Incident Management Team shortly after the Maui wildfires began in August 2023. He supported the staffing of the ASPR disaster behavioral health mission. He liaised with the Commissioned Corps Headquarters Readiness and Deployment Branch who deployed behavioral health providers - clinical psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and nurse practitioners - to provide behavioral health services to survivors seeking refuge at community health centers, shelters, and schools. The dedication and unwavering commitment from all the deployed Public Health Service officers was invaluable in supporting the recovery efforts.

Prior to the Maui wildfires, CDR Cua deployed to American Samoa as the ASPR incident commander during the COVID-19 response in the islands. In this role, he coordinated with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, territorial government of American Samoa, and U.S. Department of Defense. The response encompassed administering vaccinations and therapeutics and providing patient education and technical assistance to local partners.

Being a Public Health Service officer means you don’t stop representing the USPHS Commissioned Corps at the end of your workday. CDR Cua comments: “Even when you are not at work or on deployment, you are still displaying professionalism and pride in protecting, promoting, and advancing the health and safety of the nation.” It is a life-long mission of Public Health Service officers to serve as ambassadors to help promote the USPHS Commissioned Corps and recruit future Public Health Service officers.

“As I reflect back on my time in the USPHS Commissioned Corps, I’m taking away the pride and memories of serving alongside so many great fellow Public Health Service officers to support survivors of affected jurisdictions in all hazard responses such as wildfires, hurricanes, and COVID-19.” He concludes: “Wearing the USPHS Commissioned Corps uniform is a privilege. Public Health Service officers make a difference to vulnerable populations both during steady state and during emergencies.”

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