Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

Pharmacist Professional Advisory Committee

USPHS Pharmacy History

Below are some key dates associated with USPHS Pharmacy. For additional history on the USPHS Commissioned Corps visit the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service History Webpage.

Marine Hospital Service


The Public Health Service was established as the Marine Hospital Service to provide for the care and relief of sick and disabled seamen.

Dr. Woodworth


Dr. John M. Woodworth, a physician and pharmacist, was appointed as the first Supervising Surgeon (now known as the title, Surgeon General).

Marine Hospital stewards


Marine Hospital Service Regulations provided for hospital stewards (generally, men qualified as pharmacists).

U.S. Capitol


An Act of Congress created the Commissioned Corps. Only physicians were commissioned, but pharmacists served as the only other professional trained individuals employed by the Service.



A certificate of graduation in pharmacy became an appointment requirement for those performing pharmaceutical services in the Marine Hospital Service.



The Parker Act was enacted which allowed the regular component of the Commissioned Corps to begin admitting sanitary engineers, dentists, and pharmacists.

Corps device


On July 23, 1930, the first two USPHS pharmacists were commissioned, LT Edwin M. Holt and LT Edgar B. Scott. Later on September 5, 1930, eight additional pharmacists were commissioned.

Captain rank


The new PHS Act lifted the promotion limitations and pharmacists could be promoted to the director grade (currently known as the rank of Captain).

Captain cover


Raymond D. Kinsey was the first USPHS Commissioned Corps pharmacist to attain the rank of Pharmacist Director (currently known as the rank of Captain).

IHS pharmacist in Bethel Alaska


Pharmacists assigned to the newly created Indian Health Service.



The USPHS Pharmacy Liaison role (forerunner to the Chief Pharmacist Officer) was created on August 14, 1959, by Surgeon General Leroy Burney.

Rear Admiral rank


Public Law 96-76 changed the USPHS Pharmacy Liaison role to Chief Pharmacist Officer with a grade of Rear Admiral or Assistant Surgeon General.

Page Last Modified on 7/11/2018

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