Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

Black Commissioned Officers Advisory Group

About Us

Who We Are

Who We Are

The Black Commissioned Officers Advisory Group (BCOAG) is a collective public health professional body whose primary mission is to serve and advise the Surgeon General on African-American matters. In addition, BCOAG supports the career advancement and professional development of African-American officers.


The Black Commissioned Officers Advisory Group (BCOAG) was chartered February 7, 1990. Originally known as the Black Commissioned Officers Steering Committee, the group was formed out of a delegation of officers who attended the 1987 meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust. Under the leadership of RADM Audrey F. Manley (ret.), the group was formally organized and developed a report of recommendations and initiatives for consideration by C. Everett Koop, M.D., who then served as the Surgeon General.

BCOAG has provided assistance and consultation to the Office of the Surgeon General on issues related to the representation and participation of African-Americans in the USPHS as officers. Since 1990, the BCOAG has successfully organized several recruitment conferences for high school and/or college students; established and annually awarded the Hildrus Poindexter Award to acknowledge leadership and contributions toward improving the health of African-Americans and other ethnic groups; served as mentors to high school students at Eastern High School in Washington, D.C.; established the CAPT John C. Eason, Jr. Scholarship for high school students who are preparing for health careers in honor of the first African-American commissioned by the USPHS; organized a joint choir with the National Naval Officers Association (NNOA), and held a performance to raise funds to support the BCOAG scholarship program; published a Directory of Black Commissioned Officers; and promoted the development of other USPHS minority officer advisory groups, including the Minority Officers Liaison Council (MOLC).

Role of BCOAG

The role of BCOAG within USPHS is to provide advice and consultation to the Surgeon General in conjunction with the Minority Officers Liaison Council (MOLC) on matters related to the Commissioned Corps and U.S. Public Health Service. The BCOAG provides similar advisory assistance to the Professional Advisory Committees (PACs) and their respective Chief Professional Officers (CPOs) and, upon request, to agency and/or program heads of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) and non-PHS programs that routinely use PHS personnel. All BCOAG members are knowledgeable professionals who represent a cross-section of interests, concerns, and responsibilities of African-American Officers in agencies and organizations staffed by PHS personnel.

Page Last Modified on 7/30/2019

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