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U.S. Public Health Service Officers Help With Tsunami Relief

Monday, February 28, 2005
Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343

One officer to open up his journal online to tell the world what he sees

U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona today thanked the 33 officers of the United States Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps who are helping the people of Indonesia to recover and rebuild from the devastating tsunami that hit parts of Asia and East Africa in December.

The PHS officers represent agencies and offices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Indian Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Office of the Secretary.

"I am truly proud of these officers," Dr. Carmona said. "When any of our men and women in uniform show their dedication and compassion to our neighbors throughout the world, they become the embodiment of the best of the American spirit."

The PHS officers deployed to Indonesia have a wide variety of expertise and responsibilities. They provide health and medical services that include vaccinating children and adults against contagious diseases, providing primary care services (such as diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries), environmental services (such as making water suitable for drinking), and assisting with mental health care.

Dr. Carmona also announced today that one PHS officer will share his experiences serving the people of Indonesia in a journal available online at the Surgeon General's Web site: Lieutenant Commander Thomas Pryor, a nurse with the Indian Health Service in Phoenix, Ariz., will open his journal to share his thoughts and efforts as he helps the people of Indonesia.

The PHS Commissioned Corps is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. In thanking the PHS Officers, Dr. Carmona said that the commitment of PHS officers across the country and around the world reflects the new PHS mission statement: "Protecting, promoting, and advancing the health and safety of the nation." This mission is achieved through rapid and effective response to public health needs, leadership and excellence in public health practices, and the advancement of public health science.

"In this new era of modern travel, it doesn't take long for a local disease or infection to spread to neighboring communities and nations, so it's critical that public health be practiced around the globe," Dr. Carmona said. "We can more effectively defend our borders against emerging diseases by treating them on the front lines, wherever they may be. And in doing so, we can save and improve the lives of people not just at home, but also abroad."

The PHS Commissioned Corps is led by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, with operational leadership coming from the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General. The Corps is comprised of nearly 6,000 officers in a number of public health areas. For more information on the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps please visit

List of PHS Officers Helping with Tsunami Relief

NOTE: All Surgeon General press releases, reports and other materials are available at


Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at

Last revised: January 4, 2007