Health Services Category Helm Coin (2019 – Present)
In March 2019, HSPAC announced a contest to design a new Health Services Category Challenge Coin that reflected the category’s rich history, diversity, and strength. HSOs demonstrated their esprit de corps by designing five new, unique challenge coin options to represent the Category. After a category-wide vote and with the support from both the Chief Professional Officer, CAPT Jeanean Willis Marsh, and HSPAC Chair, CDR Simleen Kaur, the newest Category Coin became LCDR Erin Grasso’s “Helm Coin.”
The shape of this coin directly acknowledges the Corps’ rich history as a sea service as its shape resembles the helm of a large, beautiful ship. The word “helm” refers to a ship’s steering wheel and the area of the ship where the steering wheel is located. This helm-shaped challenge coin has ten spokes and handles which assumes unique symbolism on each side of the coin.
The coin cast is antique bronze , like the original Health Services Challenge Coin; however, instead of solely utilizing enamel topcoat, this coin utilizes antique bronze-brushed recess effect and 3D molds to mimic the look and feel of a carved helm.
Front of Coin
Like the original Health Services Challenge Coin, the front of the Helm Coin features the Great Seal of the USPHS Commissioned Corps. The spokes and handles represent other categories within the Corps, which are Physician, Nurse, Pharmacist, Dental, Dietitian, Engineer, Environmental Health, Scientist, Therapist, and Veterinarian. The rope design around the outer rim represents the strength and unity of the many disciplines within our USPHS Commissioned Corps.
Reverse of Coin
Similarly, the spokes and handles on this side represent the Health Services Professional Advisory Groups : Basic and Applied Science, Dental Hygiene, Healthcare Administration, Health Information Technology, Medical Laboratory Science, Optometry, Physician Assistant, Psychology, Public Health, and Social Work. The rope design around the outer rim represents the strength and unity of the many disciplines within our Health Services Category.
Like the Original Health Services Category Challenge Coin, the inner circle of the “Helm Coin” features the rising yellow sun with rays , which represents the eternal day of our professional USPHS presence anywhere in the world, and our commitment to bringing light to the darkness of disease and pestilence. Inside the rising is the date 1959, which was when the Health Services category started.
Underneath the rising yellow sun with rays is a Navy Blue Shield, which signifies national service. Inside the shield reads, “MULTIDISCIPLINARY IN APPROACH, CONNECTED BY SERVICE, ADVANCING PUBLIC HEALTH,” which is the new Health Services slogan, coined in 2016. In the carved scroll below reads “HEALTH SERVICES CATEGORY” and “We Are Corps STRONG!,” a slogan coined by the Health Services Chief Professional Officer and a verbal way to demonstrate esprit de corps .
Polished Gold Health Services Challenge Coin (2006 – 2019)
In 2006, the HSPAC updated the Original Health Services Challenge Coin by changing its color to polished gold. In addition, they also replaced the Great Seal of the USPHS Commissioned Corps with the Great Seal of the Public Health Service.
Original Health Services Challenge Coin (2000 – 2006)
LT Elizabeth Pierce designed the original antique brass patina coin in 1999 with support from CDR Doreen Melling, HSPAC Chair, and CAPT Vivian Chen, the Chief Health Services Officer. They minted the first generation of the coin for the 2000 COA/COF Scientific and Training Symposium.
Front of Coin
Features the Great Seal of the USPHS Commissioned Corps.
Reverse of Coin
The Health Services Category seal , depicted by the rising yellow sun with rays , which represents the eternal day of our professional USPHS presence anywhere in the world, and our commitment to bringing light to the darkness of disease and pestilence. Inside the rising is the date 1959 when the Health Services category started.
The coin rim is inset and colored red as historically used by the military medical services, with the raised letters “ Health Service Category ”, from the 8 to 4 o’clock position.
The bottom part of the rim is solid brass and large enough for an inscription.
Inside the rim is a rising yellow sun with rays over a blue shield wreathed at the bottom by a white scroll.
- Blue shield signifies national service
- Inside the center of the shield is a gold caduceus signifying our central role in national health
- Flanked on the left by a yellow lamp of learning representing the commitment on behalf of the HS clinical and research officers to further man’s knowledge and education in health
- On the right is a blue lightning bolt crossing a white feathered quill representing the HS participation in Disaster Medical Assistance Team and Office of Force Readiness and Deployment, and our swiftness to act in protecting the public health
- The white quill represents the administrative disciplines in the category and our commitment to creating national policy.
- The white scroll at the bottom of the shield signifies the higher ethical standard of officers and our mission. The scroll contains the words “Strength by Diversity,” truncated for coin use from the actual Category motto of “Strength through Diversity.”