Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

Engineer Professional Advisory Committee


Assistant Surgeon General
Rear Admiral, USPHS

Ronald C. Ferguson has spent his entire career as a PHS Commissioned Officer advocating for high quality engineering services and the promotion of public health for American Indians and Alaska Natives. An active member of the PHS engineering category, he is a highly respected professional engineer who is also recognized for his commitment to the recruitment and mentoring of fellow PHS engineering officers.

Ferguson received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Oregon State University (OSU) in 1977 and a Master of Science of Environmental Engineering and Science from Stanford University in 1989. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Arizona.

After graduating from OSU, Ronald Ferguson worked for a consulting engineering firm in Oregon and in 1980 began his Public Health Service career as an Indian Health Service (IHS) Field Engineer in Kayenta, Arizona, part of the Navajo Area Office. In 1984, he was detailed to the Colville Confederated Tribes as a Tribal Engineer at Nespelem, Washington under an Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEA) contract. In 1986, he returned to the Navajo Area where he held a variety of positions culminating in his service as the Deputy Director of the Division of Sanitation Facilities Construction for the Navajo Area. He served in that post until October 1998.

Beginning in 1995, Ronald Ferguson was given the collateral duty of serving as the Lead Negotiator representing the IHS Director with twenty Tribal groups in negotiating Self Governance and Self Determination Agreements for health care programs in four IHS Areas. He continues to be involved in Self Governance and Self Determination activities, including negotiated rule making, and is one of the IHS experts on federally sponsored construction projects.

In 1998, Ronald Ferguson transferred to IHS headquarters in Rockville, Maryland as the Deputy Director of the Sanitation Facilities Construction Program. In 2001, he became the Director of that program, a post he holds at this writing. As the Program Director, Ferguson is responsible for implementation of a national environmental engineering and construction program, providing direction to 12 IHS Areas in the provision of engineering design and construction of water, sewer, and solid waste facilities for over 560 federally recognized Tribes in 38 states. The program has responsibility for the design and construction of 450 sanitation facilities projects annually.

In October 2007, in recognition of his leadership responsibilities and professional competence, CAPT Ronald Ferguson was appointed as an Assistant Surgeon General with the equivalent rank of Rear Admiral (RADM) in the PHS Commissioned Corps.

RADM Ferguson is a member of the PHS Commissioned Officers Association,and American Water Works Association.

His PHS awards include the PHS Meritorious Service Medal, three PHS Commendation Medals, two PHS Achievement Medals and a PHS Citation. He has also been the recipient of two Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Awards for Distinguished Service, and two IHS Director’s Awards. These awards were conferred upon him as an individual who has demonstrated exemplary professional conduct and commitment to national service.

RADM Ferguson has served on the PHS Engineer Promotion Board, the PHS Assimilation Board, the Engineer Appointment Board and the IHS Officer’s Award Board. He has also served as a lecturer on public health and engineering topics as well as in seminars dealing with Indian Self Determination.

April 2008

Page Last Modified on 12/15/2015

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