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The Commissioned Officers Association is an organization whose members are:

  • active regular
  • active reserve
  • retired
  • former Commissioned Officers of the USPHS
  • students in the field of public health

COA is the only organization working exclusively on behalf of PHS Commissioned Corps Officers. We are committed to you.

New COA Member Application -

Click here to access the online membership application. Once your application is processed, you will receive a New Member Welcome Packet via email and the COA Ribbon (via mail), which can only be worn during a COA meeting or the Annual Symposium.

COA's Member Benefits Brochure details COA's mission, benefits and current membership rates.

Renew Your COA Membership -

Click here to access the Members Only Website to renew your membership and update your information.

Give COA Membership as a Gift -

To give a COA Membership as a Gift, you may sponsor an officer by filling out the Sponsor Form complete with your credit card information and then click the "Submit by E-mail” button, or mail the completed form to COA with an enclosed check (payable to "COA").  Please ask the officer who will be receiving the COA Membership if they are currently a COA Member; if they are not a COA Member, please ask the recipient to fill out the Recipient Form and “Submit by E-mail” to complete the process. If the officer is currently a COA Member, they do not need to do anything further.

For a list of Local Branches, click here.

COA Benefits

Annual Meeting
Co-hosted with the PHS Commissioned Officers Foundation, the annual USPHS Scientific & Training Symposium brings together officers and civilian health professionals to discuss new health science and provides mission-related training needed by Commissioned Corps officers.

Capitol Hill Representation
COA legislation on Capitol Hill continually supports all Commissioned Corps officers - active duty, inactive reserve and retired.

Car Rental Programs

Avis & Budget Rental Discounts
COA members can enjoy discount rates on Avis and Budget rentals.

COA Ribbon
The COA ribbon is authorized to be worn on the PHS uniform by members in good standing when attending COA functions.

FRONTLINE - Winner of the 2004 APEX Award for Publication Excellence - is COA's newsletter which provides reports on monthly activities and items of interest to COA members about the Corps and the Association.

CPH Exam Study Guide

The National Board of Public Health Examiners offers COA members free access to the ASPPH Certified in Public Health (CPH) Study Guide. The guide will prepare you to sit for the CPH credential, which is the only voluntary core credential for public health professionals. The CPH designation demonstrates that an individual graduate from a CEPH-accredited school or program of public health has mastered foundational competencies in public health. CPH professionals raise the bar and enhance the public health profession through their exemplary academic and leadership skills.

The CPH exam is administered by the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE). The inaugural CPH exam was offered in August 2008. To date, more than 3,000 individuals have passed the CPH exam.

To obtain your free copy, COA members should visit the CPH Study Guide website and use discount code coadiscount when ordering the study guide.NBPHE

"After working 'in the trenches' for the Indian Health Service as a Commissioned Officer for 25 years, I found it inspiring and invigorating to get my MPH. Learning public health from the 'other side' was all the more interesting and fulfilling, because of my work experience. Then, getting my CPH proved to be an encouraging endorsement of all the hard work I put into obtaining my MPH." - CAPT Patrick O'Connor, USPHS (Ret.)

"While attending the 2011 COF conference in New Orleans I visited the CPH booth. After learning more about the CPH I decided to take the plunge and take the certification exam. It had been over 6 years since completing graduate school and I thought that obtaining the certification would be a good way to refresh my memory and stay current in the field of public health." - CDR Megan Mattingly, USPHS

Insurance Programs

COA enables members to participate in several low-cost insurance programs, including Group Term Life, Long-Term Disability (LTD), In-Hospital Cash Plan, and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D). With the exception of the LTD plan, participation in these programs may continue after leaving the PHS as long as membership in COA remains current.

Local Representation
COA branches generate new venues for meeting fellow officers within your local area while providing a forum for the discussion of concerns within the Commissioned Corps.

Members Only Web Site
COA members have access to a Members Only section of the web site that offers up-to-date member news and resources.

COA Expands Partnership with the George Washington University
Thanks to a partnership with the prestigious George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, COA members are eligible to receive a $7,500 scholarship to attend one of GW’s renowned online master’s degree programs:

MPH@GW — A Master of Public Health that develops leaders who impact the health of communities worldwide. Learn more.

MHA@GW — An Executive Master of Health Administration for professionals with three or more years of experience in the health care or health services industry who are seeking leadership roles in their organization. Request more information.

Both of these online programs blend top-level curricula, face-to-face interactions and real-world experiences to help you advance your career without putting it on hold.


Public Health Emergency Preparedness & Response: Principles & Practice
Edited by 17th Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona and written by U.S. Public Health Service officers with expertise in responding to public health emergencies nationally and internationally, the book provides a much-needed reference for all uniformed service and civilian emergency medical response personnel.  It organizes a vast array of emergency public health organizational and practice information in a form that allows ready understanding of the principles and practice norms within the field, and their inter-relationships.  Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona wrote, the book will “…serve to enhance the knowledge and professionalism of those who are tasked with an emergency response mission.”  Public Health Emergency Preparedness & Response is an essential resource in learning about the actions and approaches that are utilized in dealing with public health related disasters in this Nation and within the complex global community.

This book is edited by, VADM Richard H. Carmona, MD, MPH, (Ret. USPHS), 17th Surgeon General of the United States; CAPT Robert G. Darling, MD, (Ret. USN); CAPT James E. Knoben, PharmD, MPH, (Ret. USPHS); and RADM Jerrold M. Michael, DrPH, ScD (Ret. USPHS).

COA discount price of $22.00 plus free shipping and handling.  The retail price is $28.00 plus shipping and a $4.00 standard handling charge.  To receive the discount, you must fill out the form below, and fax it to COF at 301-731-9084.

Click here for the order form.

Public Health Foundation Publication Discounts
Targeted at the American Eagle Series of books about diabetes in Native American communities, COA members will receive a 50% discount on bulk purchases (packages of 68) of “Through the Eyes of the Eagle,” “Knees Lifted High,” Plate Full of Color,” and “Tricky Treats” and a 20% discount on “Eagle book series & Educational Guide: Tools for Community Diabetes Prevention.”

Sex, Sin, and Science Discount

Written by John Parascandola, Former PHS Historian, Sex, Sin and Science: A History of Syphilis in America traces the history of syphilis in America from Colonial times to the present, as well as providing a background chapter on the origins and spread of syphilis.  The important role of the PHS Commissioned Corps is prominently featured through his narrative.  In his foreword to the book, 17th U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona calls the work "a thoughtful, powerful and revealing treatise...that the general public, historians, politicians, and science can benefit from."

The Pharmacist in Public Health: Education, Applications and Opportunities
Published by the American Pharmacists Association, and written and edited by pharmacists for pharmacists, "The Pharmacist in Public Health: Education, Applications, and Opportunites" explains the relevance between pharmacy and public health; explores the opportunities for pharmacists in public health; empowers pharmacists to overcome challenges and embrace opportunities as public health pharmacists; and advocates for the education and involvement of student pharmacists in public health activities and practice. It provides comprehensive and practical information for pharmacy faculty, student pharmacists, and practitioners. An entire section dedicated to the promotion and application of public health topics in the education of student pharmacists is included. Practitioner profiles provide real world examples of the many roles of pharmacists in public health. Click here to order.

Scholarship Program
The PHS Commissioned Officers Foundation offers thousands of dollars in college scholarships to children and spouses of COA members. Eligible applicants compete each year for the funding. Click here for more information.


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©2012 Commissioned Officers Association of the USPHS Inc
Revised 8/26/2014