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Biography of the Deputy Surgeon General

Rear Admiral (RADM) Sylvia Trent-Adams, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N.

Rear Admiral RADM Sylvia Trent-Adams, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N.

As Deputy Surgeon General, Rear Admiral (RADM) Sylvia Trent-Adams 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. She served as the Chief Nurse Officer of the USPHS from November 2013 through May 2016. In this role, she advised the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the recruitment, assignment, deployment, retention, and career development of Corps nurse professionals. She also served as acting Surgeon General from April 2017 through September 2017.

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.

Prior to joining the Office of the Surgeon General, RADM Sylvia Trent-Adams was the Deputy Associate Administrator for the HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). She assisted in managing the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 (Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program). The $2.3 billion program funds medical care, treatment, referrals and support services for uninsured and underserved people living with HIV disease as well as training for health care professionals.

RADM Trent-Adams began her career in the Commissioned Corps of the USPHS in 1992. She has published numerous articles, participated in research studies, and presented to a variety of domestic and international organizations and professional groups. Prior to joining the USPHS, RADM Trent-Adams was a nurse officer in the U.S. Army. She also served as a research nurse at the University of Maryland. RADM Trent-Adams also completed two internships in the U.S. Senate where she focused on the prospective payment system for skilled nursing facilities and scope of practice for nurses and psychologists. She has served as guest lecturer at numerous universities across the country. Her clinical practice was in trauma, oncology, community health, and infectious disease. She has also served as the Chair of the Federal Public Health Nurse Leadership Council, and the Federal Nursing Service Council.

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. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2018.

RADM Trent-Adams received numerous awards for her leadership and contributions to the field of nursing. She is the recipient of the American Nursing Credentialing Center’s HRH Princess Muna Al Hussein Award, the American Academy of Nursing’s Civitas Award, the American Association of the Colleges of Nursing’s Lois Capps Luminary Policy Award and recently the recipient of the International Red Cross Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international honor bestowed upon a nurse.