Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

Environmental Health Officer Professional Advisory Committee

The EHOPAC is a professional organization representing Environmental Health Professionals to the Office of the Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service. It's members are Environmental Health Professionals selected from the various organizations within the Department of Health and Human Services and agencies that employ commissioned officers in the category.

Sanitary Engineer Laurwnce B. Hall and Sanitarian Frank W. Fisk (driving) in a jeep on the Burma Road.  Burma - 1942
Sanitary Engineer Laurwnce B. Hall and Sanitarian Frank W. Fisk (driving) in a jeep on the Burma Road. Burma - 1942

According to historical documents, the Environmental Health Officer category was developed in the early 1940s during the reshaping of the U.S. Public Health service. The first sanitarians were called to active duty through legislation that took place over a two-year period, 1943 and 1944, in which two acts of congress extended the Surgeon General’s ability to include additional disciplines into the Commissioned Corps.

Instructing Coast Guard officers.
LCDR Larry Czeh (standing) instructing Coast Guard officers.

Since that time, Environmental Health Officers have played a significant role in improving health and quality of life in both domestic and international settings. They have been directly involved in many of the nations most significant public health successes and currently serve in over 11 agencies within the Federal Government. Additional officers are detailed throughout the US and abroad in positions critical to our nations public health security.

Environmental Health Officers are highly skilled professionals with qualifying degrees in Environmental Health & Safety, Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Safety & Health, or hold professional credentials as Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIH) or Health Physicists (CHP).

Industrial Hygine Check
LCDR Steve Martin, LT Brad King, and LCDR Kevin Hanley performing an industrial hygiene walkthrough evaluation of a facility in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

With 356 active duty officers in 2013, EHOs carry out a wide variety of activities in diverse settings. Examples include epidemiological surveillance, disease prevention, radiological health, industrial hygiene, food safety, injury prevention and education. With response roles that are ever evolving, EHOs respond during emergencies, such as natural disasters, to protect the public from environmental threats and assist with recovery efforts.

Since the inception of the category, Environmental Health Officers have continually demonstrated their commitment to “Advancing and Protecting the Nations Health”. Their multidisciplinary skillset fills a critical role in our nations public health system.

Page Last Modified on 10/29/2015

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