Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

Environmental Health Officer Professional Advisory Committee

The Environmental Health Officer Professional Advisory Committee

The Sanitarian Career Service Board was established in 1968. The Board's mission included:

  1. Providing counseling and service to sanitarians within the Department of Health Education and Wellness )HEW-- a predecessor to today's Health and Human Services);
  2. Encouraging and stimulating HEW sanitarians to improve professional growth and development through associations, publication, and study;
  3. Stimulating recruitment, development, and retention of highly qualified sanitarians;
  4. Stimulating program managers to avail themselves of sanitarian competencies, thus supporting the career development concept; and
  5. Providing orientation, guidance, and selection in education, training, and utilization of sanitarians.

A dozen officers gathered in summer white uniform for the SPAC Meeting in 1984.

Figure 1. SPAC Meeting in 1984.

The Sanitarian Career Services Board, which had also been referred to as the Sanitarian Career Development Committee, became the Sanitarian Professional Advisory Committee (SPAC) in 1983. This name change reflected Surgeon General C. Everett Koop's expressed desire for category committees to provide advice to USPHS Commissioned Corps leadership. In October 1999, the name of the category was changed from the Sanitarian category to the Environmental Health Officer category, and the SPAC name changed to the Environmental Health Officer Professional Advisory Committee (EHOPAC). More information about the EHO category can be found on the History of the EHO Category Page and the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service Environmental Health Page.

Approximately 20 officers gathered in salt and pepper uniforms and service dress blue with VADM Carmona in the middle.

Figure 2. EHOPAC Awards Ceremony in 2003. The EHOPAC plays a critical role in recognizing officer achievements.

Gathering of approximately 40 officers, most in khaki uniform, for an annual category day at the USPHS Symposium.

Figure 3. EHOs gathered for Category Day in 2009. The EHOPAC helps organize Category Day every year for networking and professional development. 

Today's EHOPAC is a chartered organization under the Office of the Surgeon General (OSG) with a defined mission to employ the voluntary service of Environmental Health Officers to advise the OSG and Chief Professional Officer (CPO) as subject matter experts on issues relating to the professional practice of environmental health and activities of the category. Additionally, the EHOPAC is charged with supporting the OSGC initiatives and program activities. 

Environmental Health Officers who serve as voting members on the EHOPAC are elected by their peers and then appointed by the Surgeon General to serve for up to two, three-year terms. Voting members are knowledgeable professionals who represent a cross-section of interests, concerns, responsibilities of the professionals in the category and various governmental entities staffed by Public Health Service Officers. 

EHO recruitment flyer for Summer 2023. Additional information can be found at

Figure 4. Recruitment Flyer for interns in 2022. The EHOPAC contributes to recruitment

and mentorship to maintain high standards for the EHO category.

The EHOPAC is governed by its Charter and Bylaws. The EHOPAC is led by an Executive Committee (EC) including a Chair, Chair-Elect, Immediate Past Chair, Special Assistant to the Chair, Executive Secretary, and EC Liaison (see EHOPAC Membership). The EHOPAC's activities, including management of awards, training and events, mentoring, readiness promotion, communications, information technology management, recruitment, and recording history are divided into subcommittees which are chaired or co-chaired by voting members. Subcommittees are staffed by volunteer officers from the category. For a snapshot of the EHOPAC's activities in 2022, including EHOPAC award winners, Voting Members, Subcommittee activities, and volunteer roster, check out the inaugural 2022 EHOPAC Yearbook.

The work of the EHOPAC is accomplished with no budget and through the diligence and dedication of volunteers, voting members, and alternates. For over 50 years, EHOs have been leading, adapting, and strengthening our profession through service on the EHOPAC. EHOs can get involved by:


Clarke, Stuart H. "Staffing with Sanitarians." Journal of Environmental Health. Vol. 32, No. 1 (1969), p. 31-33.

Sanitarian Career Services Board. Compilation of Meeting Minutes from 1968-1982.

Shepard, Craig. "Sanitarians and Environmental Health Officers." COA Frontline. (2007).

Page Last Modified on 9/21/2023

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