Who We Are

The PHS Commissioned Officers Foundation for the Advancement of Public Health was established in June 2000 as a not-for-profit organization to serve the education and research needs of the Commissioned Officers Association of the USPHS. Since that time, the Foundation has grown and matured through the generosity of our donors which has allowed us to expand our programs.

Issues and Advocacy

Our primary goal is to advance and promote the mission of public health in the United States. We do this by advocating on behalf of public health professionals and public health organizations, with a special emphasis on the officers of the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

We advocate for:

  • Increased funding for public health at all levels of government–federal, state, and local.
  • Increased recognition of the vital role of public health professionals through greater support for training and education.
  • Augmenting the capacity of the public health system to address critical problems through increased staffing, better equipment, and a national effort to prioritize health and safety of individuals and communities.
  • Greater awareness of the history and accomplishments of the USPHS Commissioned Corps and its officers, as well as its potential to serve as the primary national locus for public health action in the United States.
  • A national commitment to public health literacy and education in the United States to combat misinformation, disinformation and contagion of anti-science that has become one of the greatest threats to the health of our communities.
  • A national commitment to training the next generation of public health leaders with an emphasis on increasing representation from underserved and underrepresented groups.

What We Do

We are committed to using our donors’ contributions responsibly and in accord with our mission, purposes, and goals. We provide:

  • Seed grants to non-profit, governmental, and tribal organizations whose primary mission is to address local public health priorities.  These grants address a wide range of public health issues with a principal focus on the Surgeon General’s priorities, including:

    • Combatting misinformation and disinformation
    • Addressing opioids and addiction
    • Tobacco cessation
    • Community health and economic prosperity
    • Health and national security
    • Oral health
    • Emerging public health threats.

    Each proposed project or program must have a strong disease and/or injury prevention component that impacts the health of a community by promoting wellness, early detection and intervention, and prevention.

  • Training grants to active-duty officers in the USPHS Commissioned Corps to enhance their ability to perform at the highest level of service to our nation.
  • Scholarships to high school, college and post-graduate students who express and interest in public health and health science and could become our health leaders of tomorrow.
  • An increased awareness of the history and legacy of the Public Health Service and the USPHS Commissioned Corps by identifying and preserving books, documents, images, and the stories and experiences of officers, and sharing this information with the widest possible audience.
  • Education to the public, the media, decision-makers, and future leaders about the importance of public health, its mission, its needs, its capacities, and its goals both broadly and with respect to:

    • Vaccine acceptance
    • Promotion of gun safety
    • Universal health care access
    • Increased access to mental health services
    • Health impacts of climate change
    • The public health crisis of rising obesity rates and poor nutrition
    • Reducing infant and maternal mortality

Additional information can be found in the Foundation’s Annual Reports.

medic wearing PPE and drawing a solution into a needle


The COF has five strategic goals:

Advance public health and public health leadership through participation in, and collaboration on, initiatives that promote the public health mission of the PHS Commissioned Corps and the overarching importance of public health for the Nation.

Conduct and fund public health education and training programs for PHS commissioned officers and other health professionals.

Maintain an effective and informed Board of Trustees and increase the Foundation’s financial resources in order to provide greater support for public health initiatives that are relevant to the mission of the Foundation.

Support activities and programs that highlight and preserve the historical legacy of the Public Health Service and the PHS Commissioned Corps.

Support and conduct projects and research studies that advance and promote public health and public health leadership nationally and globally.

These strategic goal areas form the basis of the COF STRATEGIC PLAN 2013–2018. Virtually all of the Plan’s goals and objectives are considered to be ongoing actions. In coordination with this Plan, the Board of Trustees will maintain a COF Action Plan with key performance indicators and/or measurable outcomes, designed to ensure steady progress toward achieving the goals and objectives contained within the Strategic Plan.