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«U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Program Support Center Human Resources Service Division of Commissioned Personnel 5600 Fishers Lane, ...»

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The Awards Program has three types of recognition. The first, the individual honor award, recognizes significant contributions of an officer above and beyond those normally expected in equal grade and

position. In order of precedence, the awards in this category are as follows:


Distinguished Service Medal - This is the highest award presented to those commissioned officers whose service and achievements deserve the recognition of Corps. These may range from outstanding accomplishments within a significant aspect of the HHS mission to an initiative resulting in a major impact on the health of the Nation. This award can also be conferred for a one-time heroic act resulting in an exceptional saving of life, health, or property. The magnitude of the achievement and its results are determining factors for this award.


Meritorious Service Medal - This is the second highest recognition an officer can receive from PHS. This award is presented in recognition of (1) a single, particularly important achievement; (2) a career notable for accomplishments in a technical or professional field; or (3) an unusually high quality of and initiative in leadership. The levels of performance meriting this award may include: a highly significant achievement in research or program administration; a series of significant contributions; a continuing period of meritorious service;

or the exhibition of great courage during hazardous work or in an emergency.


Surgeon General's Medallion - This medallion with accompanying sash is a discretionary honor award conferred directly by the Surgeon General. It is given for the highest level of contributions to initiatives of the SG. Officers are not nominated for this award since the decision to confer it rests entirely with the Surgeon General.


Surgeon General's Exemplary Service Medal - This medal is a discretionary honor award conferred upon officers directly by the Surgeon General, generally for outstanding contributions and support to initiatives of the Office of the Surgeon General. Officers are not nominated for this award since the decision to confer it rests entirely with the Surgeon General.


The Outstanding Service Medal - This award is normally presented to officers who have either demonstrated outstanding continuous leadership in carrying out the mission of PHS, or performed a single accomplishment which has had a major effect on the health of the Nation, or performed a heroic act resulting in the preservation of health or property. Differentiation between the Outstanding Service Medal and Meritorious Service Medal concerns the magnitude of the impact.


Commendation Medal - This award represents: (1) sustained high quality work performance in scientific, administrative, or other professional fields; (2) application of unique skill or creative imagination to the approach or solution of problems; or (3) noteworthy technical and professional contributions that are significant to a limited area. This award requires a level of proficiency and dedication distinctly greater than that expected of the average commissioned officer, keeping in mind that a commission presupposes high standards of performance.

- 79 Commissioned Corps Officer’ Handbook, 1998 s !

The Achievement Medal - This medal is awarded in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments in the performance of duty. It is presented to recognize a noteworthy contribution(s) toward the attainment of Program objectives, or sustained above-average performance of duty, over a relatively brief period such as a short tour of duty (120 days or less).


Public Health Service Citation - The PHS Citation may be awarded for the noteworthy performance of duty, including the recognition of noteworthy contribution(s) toward the attainment of Program objectives, sustained above-average performance of duty, and high quality performance of duty over a relatively short period of time.


The second type of award is the unit honor award:

Please note that a “unit” may consist of a combination of both commissioned officers and civilian employees. Civilian members of a unit are recognized with appropriate civilian awards.


The Outstanding Unit Citation - This award is made to commissioned officers in OPDIVs who exhibit superior service toward achieving the goals and objectives of PHS. The award requires the performance of exceptional service, often of national or international significance. The period recognized will normally be short and marked by definite beginning and ending dates.


The Unit Commendation - This award is an acknowledgment of outstanding accomplishments by a designated organizational unit within PHS. The award is made to commissioned officers in an OPDIV unit which has demonstrated a significant level of performance well above that normally expected, but of a somewhat lesser level than is required for the Outstanding Unit Citation. The period recognized will normally be short and marked by definite beginning and ending dates.


The last type of award is the service award. A service award is given in recognition of a specific type of service by a commissioned officer. DCP, aided by its computer system, can quickly identify officers when they become eligible for a number of these awards.


National Emergency Preparedness Award (NEPA) - This award is presented to an officer currently serving in an organized unit or organizational entity that is mandated to provide emergency medical/support services within an organized framework for HHS or other Federal Agencies or Departments (e.g., National Disaster Medical System, Disaster Medical Assistance Teams, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, or Commissioned Corps Readiness Force. The officer is required to have served a minimum of 2 continuous years in an emergency preparedness activity before being eligible to the receive the NEPA. Prior to the award, the officer or designated unit official will provide documentation of required activities and training with certification through a designated official that requirements have been met, including a recommendation for award.


Hazardous Duty Service Award (HDA) - This award is presented to an officer who has served a minimum of 180 days in a position requiring frequent risk to the officer's safety. This award does not include assignments associated with the treatment of Hansen's disease or where the professional knowledge of the officer should significantly reduce or abolish the risk. The

- 80 Commissioned Corps Officer’ Handbook, 1998 s appropriateness of the award for specific assignments will be determined by the Director, DCP, on a case-by-case basis. Examples of assignments include; Required contact with inmates/detainees at certain Bureau of Prisons facilities; Forensic Hospital at the Commission on Mental Health Services, Washington, DC; Immigration and Naturalization sites; eight round trips or 16 duty-site destinations on unscheduled aircraft flights within a 6-month period; and 200 exposure hours while conducting mine site surveys in a 6-month period.


Foreign Duty Service Award (FDA)- This award is presented to an officer who has served outside the continental U.S. at least 30 consecutive days or 90 nonconsecutive days in a foreign post while on temporary or permanent assignment (other than while in training). This award does not include service in any State of the U.S.. As defined in Title 42 U.S.C. 201, the term "State" includes the 50 States and the District of Columbia, Guam, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and all other areas formerly encompassed in the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands. Officers assigned to a NOAA vessel which sails in international waters for 30 or more days are also eligible.


Special Assignment Service Award (SSA)- This award is presented to an officer who has been assigned a minimum of 30 consecutive days to a specific program initiative of other Federal or State agencies or to other organizations, as specified by the HHS. This award does not include assignments that are a routine function of the position, or are specifically included in the officer's billet description, or involve assignments between OPDIVs, or are for the purpose of training.


Isolated/Hardship Service Award (ISOHAR)- This award is presented to an officer who has served a minimum of 180 consecutive days in an area designated by the PHS as being isolated, remote, insular, or constituting a hardship duty assignment. Officers in the ready reserve are eligible to receive the ISOHAR if they serve an aggregate of 180 days in an area designated by the PHS as being isolated, remote, insular, or a hardship duty assignment within a 3-year period. In addition, the U.S. State Department "post differential" designation is adopted by the PHS Commissioned Corps for purposes of designating foreign duty posts as eligible for the ISOHAR award.


Smallpox Eradication Campaign Ribbon (SPEC)- This award is presented to an officer who has served 90 days or more cumulative service in the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions Bureau of Smallpox Eradication or Smallpox Laboratory, in the World Health Organization's Smallpox Eradication Program, or in a temporary duty assignment in a smallpox effort abroad. Service must have occurred between January 1, 1966 and October 26, 1977.


Crisis Response Award (CRSA) - This award is presented to an officer who provides direct, hands-on service at the site of a problem which the Surgeon General has declared a crisis. This award does not include assignments that are a routine function of the position, or are specifically included in the officer's billet description, or involve performance of duties at sites geographically separate from the location(s) of the crisis. The Surgeon General will determine if an event or activity merits this award.


Bicentennial Unit Commendation (BUC) - This award commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Act signed by President John Adams on July 16, 1798, that created the precursor to the Public Health Service. The BUC is for all PHS Commissioned Corps officers on extended active duty during the bicentennial year–January 1, 1998 through December 31, 1998.

–  –  –

The Commissioned Corps Awards Board is responsible for reviewing nominations submitted to the Surgeon General for approval. It also provides consultation to the Surgeon General on the overall Awards Program. The Board membership is composed of mid- and senior-level officers, and it is reflective of the diversity of the Corps, with respect to such factors as gender, minority status, OPDIV, professional category, and field representation.

–  –  –

Commissioned officers are not eligible for performance-based cash awards under the Civil Service Incentive Awards Program. However, commissioned officers are eligible to receive cash awards for inventions and in other limited circumstances.

–  –  –

An Official Personnel Folder (OPF) is maintained for each commissioned officer. The OPF is the official repository for the officer's records and reports during his/her service in the PHS Commissioned Corps. The information in the OPF is used by boards when considering officers for promotion and assimilation. The information is also used to establish an officer's rights and benefits under pertinent laws and regulations governing service in the commissioned corps and to determine eligibility or entitlement of dependents. This folder is kept and maintained by DCP in Rockville, Maryland.


–  –  –


It is the officer's responsibility to assure that copies of pertinent information are sent to DCP. Items

accepted for inclusion in the OPF are:

1. Current, dated resumes or CVs

2. Professional licenses, credentials and certificates

3. Award certificates other than from PHS

4. Continuing Education (CE) summary sheet to include course title, date, CE credits awarded

5. Documentation of special skills not related to professional category (e.g., amateur radio license, pilot's license, scuba diver certification)

6. Documentation of civic or community activities

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