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LT Tessa Fletcher | Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service Skip to main content

LT Tessa Fletcher

March 2024 Officer Spotlight

LT Tessa Fletcher commissioned with the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps two years ago as a family and psychiatric nurse practitioner on the Public Health Emergency Response Strike Team (PHERST). Currently, she serves as a public health analyst at Health Resources and Services Administration. In this role, she supports organizations, awarded with behavioral health grants, that create programs to improve health care opportunities for underserved and rural communities.

LT Fletcher brings with her 25 years of nursing experience. Prior to joining the USPHS Commissioned Corps, she worked concurrently at the Indian Health Service Hopi Healthcare Center and Arizona Department of Corrections. Previously, she worked in the Federal Bureau of Prisons and maternal health private sector. In all these settings, LT Fletcher saw an overwhelming need for health care providers due to a shortage of health care professionals. This motivated her to develop skills to improve services for the underserved populations through initiating a wound care clinic, managing mental health conditions in collaboration with neighboring service units, and providing emergency and inpatient services. She states: “I am passionate about public health and committed to serving the underserved communities to make a difference in others’ lives.” 

LT Fletcher was anxious to join the USPHS Commissioned Corps to make a difference in the world. She wanted to be part of an organization dedicated to protecting and promoting public health. She remarks: “Everyone deserves access to quality health care, and I am dedicated to working to make that happen.” She embraces the USPHS Commissioned Corps’ commitment to diversity and inclusion. She says: “The USPHS Commissioned Corps is one of the most diverse organizations in the federal government. I am convinced that diversity is essential to effective public health practice.”

When LT Fletcher recalls highlights of her career, one that comes to mind was deploying to American Samoa for a 68-day deployment. LT Fletcher is grateful for such a challenging and rewarding experience and being able to provide health care to an underserved population while learning a lot about American Samoa's culture and history.

Another highlight of her nursing career was working at Indian Health Service Hopi Healthcare Center. LT Fletcher had the opportunity to work in a variety of settings - inpatient, outpatient emergency room, and wound care clinic. She even offered Commercial Driver’s license physical examinations.

LT Fletcher expresses: “Being a Public Health Service officer entails using my skills and experiences to prevent diseases, promote healthy lifestyles, and ensure everyone has access to quality health care. It also means working to address social determinants of health, such as poverty, discrimination, and lack of access to safe housing and healthy food.”

She is committed to making a difference in the world and promoting public health every day. She says, “By working together, we can create a healthier future for all.” Here are some additional thoughts on what being a Public Health Service officer means to LT Fletcher:

  • Being part of a team of dedicated professionals who are committed to making a difference in the world.
  • Being a leader who takes on challenges and makes tough decisions for the good of others.
  • Being a lifelong learner who strives to improve skills and knowledge.
  • Being grateful to work with others to achieve common goals.

LT Fletcher imparts the following wisdom to anyone wanting to live a life of public service:

  • Be passionate about your work. If you are not passionate about your work, it will be difficult to stay motivated.
  • Be committed to protecting, promoting, and advancing the health and safety of the Nation. In Officio Salutis (in the service of health).
  • Be a team player. The USPHS Commissioned Corps is a team-based uniformed service. Be willing to work with others to achieve common goals.
  • Be open to learning new things and adapting to challenges. Semper Gumby (always flexible).
  • Be grateful for the opportunity to serve. Serving others is a privilege. Be grateful for the opportunity to make such a difference in the world.

LT Fletcher concludes: “I am proud to be a Public Health Service officer and encourage others to consider a public health service career as an excellent way to serve the Nation. Passion and commitment to public health are the driving forces behind creating a world where every individual not only survives but thrives, ensuring that the well-being of communities becomes the heartbeat of progress and the cornerstone of a healthier, brighter future."

For those interested in joining the PHERST team or for more information about the PHERST program, visit https://www.usphs.gov/pherst.

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