Talk:United States Public Health Service

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Rewrite should be in order[edit]

The Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) is not the sole being or identity of the "Public Health Service." PHS does not exist so much as an independent organization as it once did before the creation of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Health Education and Welfare (HEW). Today, PHS is only the Operating Divisions (OPDIV) and Staff Divisions (STAFFDIV) under the Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH), and the Commissioned Corps. Organizationally and politically, these OPDIVs and STAFFDIVs have more statutory reporting authority to Congress now than to the ASH. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:57, 9 March 2008 (UTC)


Organizationally and in statute, the Commissioned Corps is NOT the PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, but rather the uniformed personnel system of PHS. This is a common mistake, and this MUST be changed. PHS is still authorized under The Public Health Service Act, which is Title 42 USC. Take a look at the "official HHS" definition: <>

USPHS vs PHSCC and Dr. Billings[edit]

The listing of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps as related to the Public Health Service should be clarified more than what it is now. PHSCC is NOT an official designation of the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service. The departmental/cabinet level history of the Corps is very obscure, but important. The earliest history of the PHS is tied to the Department of the Treasury. It wasn't until the Department of Health, Education and & Welfare was established that PHS was removed from Treasury.

The history of Dr. John Shaw Billings as related to the history of the Marine Hospital Service and later the Public Health and Marine-Hospital Service, which later became the Public Health Service I believe is largely overstated. Historically, Billings opposed the idea that the Marine-Hospital Service would have any charge of national health. It was under Billings and other key players of the post Civil-War era that established the little known National Health Board. Billings, a competing figure to Woodworth, likely did not care for the direction the Marine-Hospital Service was going. Litterally, PHS's early history was Plagues and Politics.

USPHS vs PHSCC?[edit]

From my understanding from similar research, one must think of it as this way. For example, The United States Navy falls under the Department of Defense. The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps falls under the United States Public Health Service. Both the Navy and PHSCC, commission officers with the exact same ranks and pay grades. There are only two main differences. The Navy is part of the DoD and the PHSCC is part of the PHS (or USPHS). The other is that PHSCC officers are considered noncombatants unless they are militarized by the President. Neovu79 (talk) 06:52, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh! Okay, now I know where you're confused. The PHS is the main division of the Department of Health and Human Services. All other agencies fall under the PHS including the PHSCC. So in other words, the Assistant Secretary for Health has operational contol over the other agencies and only answers to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services. Neovu79 (talk) 08:30, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Intro paragraph needs work[edit]

The first paragraph is too history-focused. It should ideally state briefly what are the CURRENT responsibilities of the USPHS and maybe mention history briefly. 14:45, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:USPHS.gif[edit]

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Where is there mention of John Shaw Billings?[edit]

In John Shaw Billings' article, he is quoted as being "best known as the "father" of the United States Public Health Service," however, I see no mention of him in the USPHS article. Was he *really* the "father of the USPHS," or is his biography in error? Cbjohnny 23:39, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

Of our nation?[edit]

The mission of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of our Nation.

Not everyone who reads this is necessarily a US citzen.

Not everyone maybe a US Citizen, but one would hope that with a title like U.S. Public Health Service that would imply the US, correct?

Why naval uniforms?[edit]

The article states that health service uniforms are similar (nearly identical) to naval uniforms but fails to explain why. That seems a curious omission. What is the reason?

The REASON(s) why Officers of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service wear a Navy style uniform is because the original mission of the organization was to care for sailors of the U.S. Navy (1798-1811) and Merchant sailors. In addition, the Corps also had a vast fleet of ships used for Quarantine work. When the Marine-Hospital was reorganized under Woodworth, he placed personnel in uniforms to maintain control and respect in the hospitals, and this eventually lead to the mobile Corps we have today.

As another interesting note, the Public Health Service wore the khaki uniform as a regularly authorized uniform 12 years prior to the Navy authorizing the khaki uniform. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:30, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Uniforms of the Corps in General[edit]

The original uniforms as authorized for wear in 1890 were based off of Navy uniforms. The two reasons in which the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service wore the Navy style uniforms is: 1. Marine-Hospitals where merchant mariners would understand and respect the rank of an officer when providing treatment and 2. the Public Health Service at one point had several quarantine vessels, which the officers were in command of these vessels for the express purpose of carrying out the mission of the National Quarantine Program. Moreover, officers of the Service were and still are the Medical Corps of the Coast Guard (Revenue Cutter Service). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:01, 13 January 2008 (UTC)