GARY J. HARTZ, P.E.
Assistant Surgeon General
Rear Admiral, USPHS (ret.)
Gary John Hartz was born in Grafton, North Dakota in 1949. His entire professional career has been devoted to enhancing the health status of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Those 36+ years of committed professional effort have ranged from field level engineering to service as Acting Deputy Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS). His career exemplifies outstanding public health achievement, leadership, vision, and service to his country.
Gary Hartz, a registered professional engineer in the State of Alaska, received his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of North Dakota in 1971 and a Master of Science degree in civil engineering, with an emphasis in construction engineering and management, from Stanford University in 1977. He also has completed postgraduate studies at Syracuse University and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In January 31, 1970 he married Janet Brown, whom he had known since the 2nd grade, in their home town of Cavalier, North Dakota.
Gary Hartz began his career as a Public Health Service Officer in 1971 with the IHS on the Navajo Reservation as a field engineer in Tohatchi, New Mexico. In 1974 be transferred to Ketchikan, Alaska with responsibilities for the IHS sanitation facilities construction program in southeast Alaska. In 1977, Hartz transferred to IHS Headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, to serve in a variety of positions of increasing responsibility in the Office of Environmental Health and Engineering, including positions as Chief of the Sanitation Facilities Construction Branch, and Director of the Division of Environmental Health.
In January of 1996 in recognition of his leadership responsibilities and professional competence, Gary Hartz was promoted to the position of Assistant Surgeon General with the equivalent rank of Rear Admiral (RADM) in the PHS Commissioned Corps.
In 1998, RADM Hartz was named Acting Director of the Office of Public Health, one of the two main organizational units of the IHS headquarters operations with responsibilities for a wide range of health activities related to health leadership, policy development, and advocacy for American Indian and Alaska Native public health issues. These activities included all clinical services IHS-wide, public health programs, and engineering programs. He served in that key management role until August of 2004, when during the period of IHS restructuring; he held the position of Acting IHS Deputy Director until February of 2005. In that seminal period of organizational history he shared the responsibility for management of a national health care delivery program responsible for providing preventive, curative, and community care for approximately 1.8 million of the nation's 3.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives.
In February of 2005 RADM Hartz reassumed his responsibilities as Director of the Office of Environmental Health and Engineering, a program that throughout his career he had helped to develop into one of the most effective federal programs in the nation.
A recipient of numerous awards and honors, RADM Hartz has received two PHS Hazardous Duty Awards, two Isolated Hardship Awards, two Outstanding Service Medals, two Exceptional Capability Promotions, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Surgeon General’s Award for Exemplary Service, and the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award that can be granted to a Public Health Service Commissioned Officer. In 1986, RADM Hartz received the Department of Health and Human Services Federal Engineer of the Year Award presented by the National Society of Professional Engineers and in 2006 he was awarded the prestigious Villforth Leadership Award from the PHS Commissioned Officers Association, as an individual who has demonstrated outstanding engineering leadership, exemplary professional conduct and commitment to national service.
RADM Hartz served on the Board of the PHS Commissioned Officers Association and was its chair in 1993. He was a long-term member of the PHS Engineer Professional Advisory Committee and served as its chair from 1988 to 1989. He has also served as a member of a variety of engineering societies. He was a US representative to an environmental health task group of the World Health Organization and technical training director for Peace Corps Volunteers going to Morocco. His diversified community service includes leadership in his church, twice elected Town Commissioner of Poolesville, Maryland and elected chair of the Poolesville Planning Commission.
Upon his retirement from the Commissioned Corps in August of 2007, Gary J. Hartz, P.E. has continued his dedicated service to American Indians and Alaska Natives as a member of the federal Senior Executive Service.
5 Feb 2008