Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

Nurse Professional Advisory Committee

LT Christopher-Snyder wearing his Service Dress BluesSpotlighting the Career of LT Christopher Snyder

Biography Contributed by: LCDR Allison Gallen

This Nursing Spotlight is brought to you by CDR Amy Valderrama, CDR Nichole Vetter, and LT Alyssa Givens

LT Christopher Snyder has been described as an officer "who goes above and beyond, each and every day." His path towards the Public Health Service began at Med Central College of Nursing in Ohio (now known as Ashland University- Dwight Schar College of Nursing) where he obtained his nursing degree. After graduation he discovered that the depressed economy in Ohio had resulted in a very limited job market. This led him to take a job with the Pediatric Unit at Fort Defiance Indian Hospital in Arizona and eventually with Sage Memorial Hospital, also in Arizona. It was here that he worked in the emergency department and fell in love with trauma nursing. In 2011, his trauma ex-perience took him to Whiteriver Service Hospital where he was commissioned as an officer with the USPHS and went to work at the Cibecue Outpatient Clinic. This rural outpatient clinic is located over 50 miles from an emergency room and served the area as a stabilizing unit during emergency situations. While working at this small outpatient clinic, he had to fill many roles, including case management, immunizations, policy de-velopment and updates, direct patient care, and training with the Decontamination Team. This team was assembled to respond to any disaster situation in which decontamination was required and involved set-up and take down of the hospital’s decontamination unit.

His experience with infectious diseases, decontamination, and disaster management made him uniquely qualified to respond to the Ebola crisis in Africa. In October 2014, LT Snyder deployed with the Monrovian Medical Unit (MMU), Team 1 to Liberia. He states that this experience was one of the top highlights of his career so far. When he was not in the "hot zone" providing patient care, he worked on many other tasks such as constructing a patient memory wall, setting up the MMU supply inventory, or even mopping the floor. He states that all of the officers on MMU-1 did whatever was needed to be done, so that the unit would be successful. The camaraderie with his team is what made this mission so memorable, "It’s like family." While In Africa, LT Snyder also cross-trained with providers from Médecins Sans Frontières (also known as Doctors Without Borders), the World Health Organization, and International Medical Corps at the world’s largest Ebola Treatment Unit. Due to the tre-mendous contributions during the Ebola epidemic, MMU-1 was awarded the AMSUS Operations Medicine Award and the AMSUS Humanitarian Assistance Award.

Two other experiences that have shaped his career were working with the Black Commissioned Officers Advisory Group (BCOAG) and volunteering as the Aide de Camp for Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. With the BCOAG he volunteered to go into the inner city schools of Cleveland and discuss his career and profession. He found the oppor-tunity to connect with troubled inner city youth to be extremely rewarding. His term working as the Surgeon General’s Aide de Camp during the "Turn the Tide" Campaign was another great experience and he encourages other officers to "look for opportunities to represent the USPHS. Try new experiences and get out of your box. Many times there are volunteer opportunities and no one signs up for them. Get out and get involved. Volunteer for deployment opportunities; Look into the Junior Officers Advisory Group or COA events. Deploying is a great way to meet other Officers."

Presently, LT Snyder works for the FDA in Ohio as a Consumer Safety Officer. He first made this career change when he moved to Des Moines, Iowa in 2013. As a Consumer Safety Officer he investigates consumer complaints and inspects food and feed facilities to confirm that safe products are being manufactured. Working for the FDA gives him the opportunity to use his nursing background to identify pathogen routes, utilize aseptic sampling, and investigate bacterial transmission. It has also provided him with the ability to live near family and the opportunity to progress in his career. He is grateful for the many experiences that working for the PHS has provided him and his family.

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