Stories from the field

Transforming an Unlikely Setting

Rita K. Chow, CAPT (Ret.) USPHS, helped to transform the first Bureau of Prisons long-term care facility.  Through a combination of staff recruitment and training, a shared vision, and tremendous unified effort, CAPT Chow's team created the second federal inmate-to-inmate hospice program and earned their first long-term care accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.  In her Story from the Field, CAPT Chow describes the process and demonstrates that, against the odds, improvements are possible for the care Commissioned Corps officers provide to patients.  Click here to read more.

The Octagon Office

Hugh Cumming in The Octagon OfficeRADM Jerrold M. Michael, USPHS (Ret.) connects a meeting of PHS engineers in 2013 with Surgeon General Hugh Cumming's office in 1932.  RADM Michael wrote, "the room, always known as 'The Octagon Office,' was reputed to be one of the largest government offices in Washington, DC."  Housed within the building previously called the United States Public Health Service Building, today it is the South Building of the Department of the Interior, on Constitution Avenue.  Click here to read how The Octagon Office was the nerve center for World War II planning and more.

Hansen’s Disease on a Louisiana Plantation

CAPT medical staffRita K. Chow, USPHS (Ret.), served as Director of Patient Education and Assistant Director of Nursing for the National Hansen's Disease Center in Carville, Louisiana, from 1984-1989.  In her Story from the Field, CAPT Chow describes how the evolution of a facility dedicated to treatment of patients with leprosy, known today as Hansen's disease.  Click here to read how former slave cabins on a dilapidated plantation were transformed by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and officers of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps into a center for therapeutical intervention.

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