Articles

2013

JOAG Journal - Winter 2013 (please see attached).


2012

Greater NYCOA & FDA NY District Office support local meals on wheels program - By LCDR Melinda Ruiz

COA Members Lead Field Response Efforts for Superstorm Sandy - By LCDR Elena Vaouli

Greater New York Branch Marches with RDF-2 in New York City Veterans Day Parade - by LT Yvonne M. Santiago
RADM Elizondo visits RDF Teams deployed to Hurricane Sandy with Greater New York COA branch - By LT Yvonne M. Santiago 

 

2011

Greater New York Branch Marches in New York City Veterans Day Parade - by CDR Andrew J. Chen

Surgeon General Visits New York City - by CDR Andrew J. Chen

USPHS Half-Marathon Runner - by the NYCOA Branch Executive Officers

 

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Greater NYCOA & FDA NY District Office support local meals on wheels program

By LCDR Melinda Ruiz

 

In the spirit of camaraderie and a shared desire to assist underserved communities in the New York City (NYC) metro area, members of the Greater New York COA Branch (NYCOA), staff of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and family members from both entities partnered with the Citymeals on Wheels Program in New York City.  Citymeals is one of the largest meals on wheels programs in the U.S., providing 1.8 million meals to over 16,500 elderly New Yorkers each year.1  Together, they helped deliver healthy, nutritious meals and offer human companionship to homebound elderly residents living on Manhattan’s East Side.

 

On December 8, 2012, NYCOA arranged the second of two outreach events with the NYC Meals on Wheels Program this year.  Alicia Flores, Citymeals representative, requested at least 20 volunteers from NYCOA for this service event.   With knowledge of the strong interest expressed by FDA civilian staff in the Import Operation Branch of the FDA-NY District Office to become more involved in community service projects, and recognizing the great opportunity for collaboration, LCDR Melinda Ruiz extended an invitation to her FDA colleagues to join NYCOA’s efforts to support the Citymeals Program.

 

Collectively, NYCOA and FDA exceeded the requested number of volunteers; over 30 volunteers participated in the service event.  For NYCOA, this event marked the greatest number of volunteers participating in a single community service event organized by the branch.  As a result of this event, nearly 40 Manhattan seniors received much needed nutrition and human company.  In return, all volunteers gained a greater appreciation of the unique public health needs of a significant population of elderly New Yorkers.

 

1 http://www.citymeals.org

 

 

 

 

 

COA Members Lead Field Response Efforts for Superstorm Sandy

by LCDR Elena Vaouli

 

In the largest HHS deployment response since hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008, HHS's field response was led by numerous PHS officers who are also members of COA.

 

In New York, the HHS Incident Response Coordination Team (IRCT) was initially led by CAPT Dana Hall (Heartland of America Branch -- she also serves as a Field Representative to National COA) and then by CAPT Mick Cote (Dallas Branch).  Officers serving as Deputy Commanders for the IRCT in NY included CDR Amy Taylor (Dallas Branch) and CDR Erik Vincent (Golden Gate Branch).

 

In New Jersey, the IRCT was led by CAPT Janet Odom (Chicago Branch), with CAPT Kevin Sheehan (Golden Gate Branch), CAPT Jim Imholte (Heartland of America Branch), CAPT Chris Kates (Heartland of America Branch), and CDR Vincent (who also did double-duty in New Jersey) serving as Deputy Commanders for the IRCT.  CDR Andrew Chen (Greater NY Branch) served as the Federal Public Health and Medical Official for NJ, overseeing all response operations and coordinating with NJ state officials to ensure all needs were met.

 

All of the officers mentioned above serve as Regional Emergency Coordinators with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in HHS.  Other PHS Regional Emergency Coordinators deployed as liaison officers to numerous emergency operations centers.

 

In addition, numerous PHS teams and officers were activated and deployed for the response to Superstorm Sandy.  Officers on RIST-1, RIST-2, RIST-3, RIST-4, RIST-NCR, NIST-B, NIST-C, APHT-2, and SAT-2 all lent a hand up and down the East Coast.

 

In New York, Rapid Deployment Forces PHS-1 and PHS-2 were deployed to run FMS operations in New York City, as well as a Tiger Team comprised of Tier III officers.  Officers with MHT-2 and MHT-3 deployed to provide mental health support at various locations.

 

In New Jersey, Rapid Deployment Force PHS-3 deployed to run FMS operations in Middlesex County, and officers with MHT-1 deployed to provide mental health support at various locations.  Officers with SAT-3 also deployed to help with discharge planning of patients at medical needs shelters and at hospitals.

 

All told, over 450 PHS officers were activated and deployed for Superstorm Sandy, many over the Thanksgiving holiday.  A huge "Thank You!" to those officers who answered our Nation's call in time of need!

 

 

Photo Caption: IRCT/ASPR Officers and Greater NY Branch visit RDF PHS-1 at FMS site in Brooklyn, NY.

Officers Pictured (L-R): LT Yvonne Santiago & LCDR Jerry Zee of Greater NY, CAPT Charles Weir and CDR Andrew Chen of ASPR, LCDR Elena Vaouli of RDF PHS-1.  Photo credit: LCDR Jerry Zee

 

 

Greater New York Branch Marches with RDF-2 in New York City Veterans Day Parade
by LT Yvonne M. Santiago

On November 11, 2012, 53 PHS officers marched in the 93rd Annual New York City Veterans Day Parade.  The event was hosted by the Greater New York Branch of COA (NYCOA), and was attended by PHS officers from all over the US including Rapid Deployment Force 2 (RDF-2) deployed to the Tri-state area for Hurricane Sandy. This year RADM Epifanio Elizondo, Regional Health Administrator for Region 6 and Chief Professional Officer for the Health Services Category served as the VIP. He proudly represented the Corps during the Opening Ceremonies taking place at NYC Mayor’s Home, Gracie Mansion, and at Madison Square Park. At Gracie Mansion he was introduced to NY Congressman Charles Rangel as well as to a group representing Navajo Code Talkers from WWII. This was an exciting moment as the USPHS has strong ties to serving Native American populations. RADM Elizondo stood amongst flag officers from all services and represented PHS Commissioned Corps with pride. RADM Elizondo also represented the Corps on Stage during the parade giving the crowd a brief explanation of our service. The Greater New York Branch of COA was honored to have him represent us as he proudly served in the Army, Navy and the Air Force.


The theme of this year's parade was "United We Stand", reminding the public to stand behind America’s veterans.  In addition, it observed the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War (1961-2011) and the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Grand Marshals for this year's parade included Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, U.S. Coast Guard ADM Robert Pappa, Jr.  and special guest Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. This year’s featured service branch was the U.S. Coast Guard.

This is the second year the PHS Commissioned Corps has participated in the NYC Veterans Day parade, and the detail of PHS officers looked sharp as they marched up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and rendered honors at the reviewing stand in front of the New York Public Library.  Proudly representing both the PHS Commissioned Corps and the Commissioned Officers Association, the officers let all New Yorkers know the important role the PHS Commissioned Corps has in protecting national security and their service as uniformed service veterans.

 
 

 

 

 

 

RADM Elizondo visits RDF Teams deployed to Hurricane Sandy with Greater New York COA branch

By LT Yvonne M. Santiago

 

On November 10, 2012, RHA for Region 6 and Chief Professional Officer for the Health Services Category, RADM Epifanio Elizondo visited USPHS RDF Teams deployed to New York and New Jersey in response to Hurricane Sandy. RADM Elizondo was in the tri-state area as an honored guest of the Greater New York COA branch to participate in the 2012 NYC Veterans Day Parade. Originally scheduled to attend Veterans Day events in the area, RADM Elizondo felt it would be of utmost importance to visit with officers deployed to the tri-state area. Greater New York COA Officers escorted RADM Elizondo during visits to RDF-2 at Brookdale Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY and RDF-3 at Middlesex County College, Edison, NJ. During the visits RADM Elizondo met with officers and learned about their experiences during this deployment.

 

From left to right LT Kimberley Gordon-Ricketts, LT Yvonne M. Santiago. CAPT Calvin Edwards (RDF-2 Team Commander), RADM Epifanio Elizondo, LCDR Elena Vaouli (President of the Greater New York COA) & LT Kimberly Garner (Members of RDF-2 & Greater New York COA Branch)

 

Photo Caption: RADM Elizondo and Greater New York COA Branch President LCDR Elena Vaouli visit with members of RDF-3.
 
 
 
Surgeon General Visits New York City
by CDR Andrew J. Chen
 
On August 5, 2011, the Surgeon General of the United States, VADM Regina Benjamin, traveled to New York City to kick off her visits to all the regional HHS offices.  While in NYC, VADM Benjamin took time out of her busy schedule to meet with officers of the Greater NYC branch of COA to share her experiences with underserved populations as a clinical provider in rural Alabama.  She was also briefed on the status of the effort to clean up and restore the PHS cemetery on Staten Island, as well as on the efforts to have a museum exhibit dedicated solely to the PHS at Ellis Island.

 

At the conclusion of her visit, VADM Benjamin was presented with the Region II PHS coin, originally designed by the late RADM Robert L. Davidson, former Regional Health Administrator for Region II.
 
 
Photo Caption: VADM Regina Benjamin, the Surgeon General of the United States, with members of the Greater NYC COA Branch during her visit to New York City on August 5, 2011. 
 
 

Greater New York Branch Marches in New York City Veterans Day Parade
by CDR Andrew J. Chen

On November 11, 2011, 24 PHS officers marched in the 92nd Annual New York City Veterans Day Parade.  The event was hosted by the Greater New York Branch of COA, and was attended by PHS officers from as far away as the Boston area and the National Capital Region.

The theme of this year's parade was "Never Forget," and marked the 10th anniversary of the attacks on 9/11 by paying special tribute to the veterans of Afghanistan, Iraq, and other post-9/11 deployments.  In addition, it observed the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War (1961-2011) as well as marked the 70th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor.  Grand Marshals for this year's parade included Navy ADM Jonathan W. Greenert, the current Chief of Naval Operations, and retired Army GEN David H. Petraeus, the Director of the CIA.  Scheduled to also attend were Medal of Honor recipients Nicholas Oresko (World War II), Paul Bucha (Vietnam), Bruce P. Crandall (Vietnam), and Dakota Meyer (Operation Enduring Freedom).

This is believed to be the first time the PHS Commissioned Corps has ever participated in the NYC Veterans Day parade, and the detail of PHS officers looked sharp as they marched up Fifth Avenue and rendered honors at the reviewing stand in front of the New York Public Library.  Proudly representing both the PHS Commissioned Corps and the Commissioned Officers Association, the officers let all New Yorkers know the important role the PHS Commissioned Corps has in protecting national security and their service as uniformed service veterans.

For more pictures and videos, visit http://tinyurl.com/77rje4z
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PHS officers, hosted by the Greater New York Branch of COA, conduct a final practice prior to marching in the 2011 NYC Veterans Day parade.



PHS officers, hosted by the Greater New York Branch of COA, proudly march up Fifth Avenue in Manhattan during the 2011 NYC Veterans Day parade.

USPHS Half-Marathon Runner
by the NYCOA Branch Executive Officers

LTJG Yvonne Santiago, an FDA Consumer Safety Officer with the NYK District Office's Investigations Branch in White Plains, NY, ran the New York Road Runners NYC Half 2012 Marathon.  This was LTJG Santiago's first half-marathon, and she completed the 13.1 mile run in 2:20:54.

During her run, LTJG Santiago proudly wore her USPHS t-shirt as illustrated below.  Way to go!


CONGRATULATIONS, LTJG Santiago!
 
 
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NY COA,
Apr 8, 2013, 6:42 AM
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