History of the Commissioned Corps
The history of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is the history of health defense in the United States. For more than 200 years, the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps has been our Nation’s frontline against the spread of disease from sailors returning from foreign ports, to immigrants entering the country, to communities affected by natural and manmade disasters. The Corps response to the health threats posed by Hurricane Katrina and other recent disasters underscores the value to our Nation of having a highly trained, multidisciplinary, and quickly mobilized cadre of medical professionals. Today, the Corps fights for better public health on multiple fronts. Corps officers are involved in disease control and prevention, biomedical research, regulation of food and drugs, mental health and drug abuse, health care delivery, and international health. As a vital part of the U.S. Public Health Service, the Commissioned Corps is an essential component of the largest public health program in the world.
Commissioned Corps Timeline
For further information on the history of Public Health Service and the Commissioned Corps, see Ralph Williams, The United States Public Health Service, 1798–1950 (1951); Bess Furman, A Profile of the United States Public Health Service, 1798–1948 (1973); and Fitzhugh Mullan, Plagues and Politics: The Story of the United States Public Health Service (1989). Inquiries may be sent to the Office of the Public Health Service Historian, 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 695, Rockville, MD 20857 (tel: 301–443–5363; http://lhncbc.nlm.nih.gov/apdb/phsHistory).
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