Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

Junior Officer Advisory Group

Repatriation and Quarantine Mission Deployment, 2020

By LCDR Rovigel "Jill" Gelviro

Indian Health Service

What is your current assignment in USPHS?

I am an Integrated Clinical Pharmacist with the Alaska Native Medical Center Southcentral Foundation's Rural Anchorage Service Unit.

What was the mission of your deployment? (e.g. dates, location, and other pertinent details)

I supported the 2020 Novel Coronavirus - Repatriation and quarantine mission of cruise ship evacuees at Travis AFB from 02/24/20 to 03/08/20.  I was originally deployed to Anniston, Alabama; however, as the mission quickly changed, I was re-deployed to Travis AFB.

What was your role during this deployment? What skills (scientific, personal, etc.) did you use?

My role was an Incident Management Team Pharmacist under logistics providing support to fellow officers and emergency management partners in the field.  Some skills used during this deployment were dispensing, inventory management, procurement and communication.

Was this your first deployment? Either way, how did you prepare for the deployment, personally or work-wise?

No, this was my 9th deployment (6 PHS and 3 military deployment experiences) Preparation:

Deployment: Ensure you maintain a list of contacts (phone #s, emails, etc.) of IMT Logistics and/or fellow officers with whom you are rostered.  (Typically found on your travel or deployment notification emails)

Personal: Establish a support system for family/spouse/loved ones, ensure emergency contact and beneficiary information are up-to-date, and provide your spouse or trusted family member a list of important accounts & passwords, centralize a location of important documents, and set up auto-pay for bills, etc.

Work: Brief your leadership/supervisor and ensure out-of-office e-mail & voicemail message has been established and provide points of contact on email.

Do you have any advice or “pearls of wisdom” for fellow officers who are being deployed or are interested in deploying? What was the most important thing you learned during this deployment?

Maintain your physical and mental wellness; Understand the mission and know you are part of a team so take care of each other; Stay flexible, adaptable & resilient.

 What was the most important thing you learned during this deployment?

Give yourself some grace and space.  Regularly take the time for some physical activity and check-in/connect with loved ones while you are out on deployment.

What were some of the key challenges that you experienced?

Key challenges that I experienced highlight the need for flexibility and adaptability as missions constantly change.  As, I mentioned I traveled from the west coast to the east coast then back to the west coast as the needs of the mission changed.  Also, our team was originally told our site was drawing down and sending equipment out to other locations across the nation.  However, within a couple days our orders changed to re-build operations as we were continuing the Quarantine Mission and accepting another group of travelers at our site.

What did you enjoy the most (e.g., favorite memory) about this deployment?

I enjoyed meeting team members from the various agencies to include DOD, DMAT, NDMS and fellow officers from other HHS agencies.

What would you consider to be your major accomplishment stemming from this deployment?

A major accomplishment for me was being able to quickly switch gears from drawing down a site to re-loading at a high tempo, preparing the site for a seamless continuation of operations.

Were there any classes or trainings that helped you in your deployment?

FEMA courses

How was your post deployment/reintegration experience? Was it a smooth transition back to your daily activities?

My transition back to daily activities was smooth.  My supervisor was supportive in reintegrating me back into work by allowing for telework while I quarantine.

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