Closing Keynote Address: 2012 USPHS Scientific and Training Symposium

Uploaded by PHSCommissionedCorps on 18.09.2012

bjbj GIBBERSON: Welcome, welcome to the closing, unfortunately, closing ceremony. And I'm glad
to see such good attendance here. And I want to tell you that Admiral Lushniak and I are
very excited about this opportunity right now. Last time I was up in front of a big
group that was all officers, it was an all-hands meeting, it was when I was selected as the
new Director of DCCPR [ph.], and this is not a joke. This is a serious, actual incident
here. And I wanted to make an impact in my first talk. I wanted to show that we mean
business, you know, we want to change, we want to improve performance. We're going to
change how we do business. We're going to change the culture. And I was on the second
to my last slide, August 23rd, 2011, and as I was embellishing this talk the ground began
to shake. And a picture fell off the wall and the whole building shook, and it was the
5.8 magnitude earthquake in Washington, D.C. And I kid you not, it was at that point in
my lecture and there's people here from DCCPR that can confirm that. And I said you see,
Boris, I have impact. So we all exited the building. We went back and, actually, people
came up to me, some civilians. They were actually a little bit eerie about this whole thing.
So today I couldn't repeat the earthquake, but I did bring the heat. Anyway, so we've
been going on and on, back and forth, and, you know, this was just another time to share
the stage with him, and it's an honor and a privilege for me. So the two themes for
today I want to talk about in my section is pride and responsibility. And those two things
are intertwined. And as we go through the talks, I'm going to talk you through the past
and the present and the future, and you'll see the pride in our service. And you'll see
the pride in the service ethos, but you'll also see the responsibility. And I want to
start with that responsibility by reading just a real quick passage from Plays and Politics,
this is our book. Fitz Humullin [ph.]. And on page 51 it chronicles the life of 40 officers,
and they were candidates, they weren't officers yet, and it talks about the process they have
to go through to become commissioned and the culture of the corps. It says, "Life in the
service had a quality and cadence of its own, beginning with a monumental examination that
most applicants failed. After a physical exam" -- so a physical requirement -- "eliminated
some, the remaining 30 candidates began a week's ordeal of written tests. Every morning,
some of their number were quietly dismissed. Ten remained for the oral exam, where they
were queried on knowledge of the world, so diversity. And sometimes they had to read
aloud in French, or discourse on the Rosetta Stone. They were required, then, to examine
patients and diagnose and identify bacteria. After this, eight fatigued applicants completed
the ordeal. Two week later, three were commissioned." That's an incredible process. For many, the
service was a uniform culture, a way of life that entailed work, frequent moves, a camaraderie
with other officers, and a quiet, perennial commitment to service. That process, that
culture, transcends today. We have a 13 step process to become commissioned. Many of you
don't even know that. I know it takes a long time, so you figure it's got to be 300 steps.
Thirteen step process. Professional boarding, medical clearance, security clearance, appointment
boards. Then you get put on a Senate list and it goes through signatures, my signature
[unint.], Surgeon General, Assistant Secretary for Health, Secretary for Health, and the
President of the United States. Who, guess what, can't confirm you. He can nominate you,
then you go the Senate floor for confirmation and then, you're still not a commissioned
office, fully, because you got to get a job. So your 1662 comes and an agency selects you
to work for them. What an incredible process. All that to become commissioned, to accept
additional responsibility. And then, after that, we go through OBC. Now we go through
OBC before we put you into our service unit, which is great. Or a duty station. And the
oath and the pinning that happen at OBC are two more steps in the process. Where we start
to insure that you understand what it means to be a commissioned officer. That level of
responsibility that you take on, that you freely accept, happens then. It's a rite of
passage. The oath and the pinning, it means you want to be different. You've accepted
the responsibility to be different. Because if you didn't accept that responsibility,
you'd be in another personnel systems, not in our personnel system. Are you better than
the other personnel systems? No. Smarter? No. More passionate? Not necessarily. All
it means is that you accepted a different one and you're unique, but you can have pride
in that. Taking the process we did. So let's take the oath. The oath is a promise. You
promise to fulfill the mission, and our mission is service. And you promised it freely, without
any mental reservation or a purpose of evasion, and I swear them in, the oath of office. And
then I go into a pinning ceremony and the pinning ceremony puts you on a rank of a member
of a uniformed service. And that rank, I got to tell you, it's a pretty senior rank. If
you include enlisted men of the other services, you start off a pretty high ranking individual.
Senior ranking individual in the uniformed service, and that links you, whether you like
it or not, it links you to every uniform service member that ever did serve, that is currently
serving, or that will serve. That's not something that you can control. That's the additional
responsibility you signed up for. So think about those rites of passage and those things
signal to me, and signal to the corps that you promise to do this. That you accepted
this responsibility. Now, the public also has expectation for you, whether you like
it or not. You're in uniform. I'll tell you a story. I was on the metro. The metro was
very crowded, you know, from one end of the car to the other, you can't see the other
side real well. A pregnant woman came on the front end. I was on the back end, sitting
down. Very crowded. The person came all the way through the metro car, found their way
to me. Said would you like to give up your seat for this pregnant woman? Of course. Why'd
they come to me? Public Health Service Officer? They didn't know is I was Navy, Public Health
Service, Coast Guard, didn't care. I was in uniform. And why would they come to me? Because
they expect a higher level of responsibility. And you voluntarily chose to look different,
to put on the uniform, and to meet that expectation of the public. This week something else happened.
Promotions. Another sort of rite of passage. Another responsibility and another thing to
be proud of. How many people here got promoted? Congratulations. So here comes the kicker.
Now that I know you got promoted. What does that mean to you? More pay? Okay. It's not
what it should really mean to you. First of all, it's a privilege, not an entitlement.
Privilege. But it's something you can be very proud of because you earned it. You worked
hard to get there. It means I look in the mirror and say, okay, now that I'm a newly
crowned Captain, newly crowned Commander, newly pinned on Lieutenant Commander, how
can I lead better? How can I accept more responsibility? It also means maybe I mentor know, I'm a mentor,
I'm a leader. So when, for example, graduates come from OBC, Officer Basic Course, they
come out with this real excitement and passion for the corps and for the service. And they
go out to these sites, if there's not leadership out there, they're going to be very disappointed.
And so is your leadership. Your leadership, all of us, will all be disappointed, but there's
nobody out there to mentor them. That's disappointing to them, disappointing to our mentorship cycle.
So promotions, obviously a sense of responsibility and a sense of pride. I was doing a pinning
ceremony back in November, November 11th, 2011. So, as you know, November 11th is Veterans
Day. And I found an essay online. And the essay author asked the question, should young
men and women, aged 18 to 24, be mandated to serve in uniform for a couple of years?
Good question. So I wear my heart on my sleeve, I'm a pretty passionate guy. I'm going to
jump on it, yes. Nationalism, a sense of camaraderie, a sense of something bigger, a bigger family.
That person will understand when they make decisions in their life what it means to be
a part of this. Not so fast, Scott. Here's the thing, the only thing we should be mandated
to do, according to the author, was follow the laws of the land. Okay. Our founding fathers
felt that it would infringe upon our basic civil liberties if we force somebody to do
something that they don't want to do. As long as they follow the laws of the land. And it
made a lot of sense. Because of what it really comes down to is I want you to make a conscious
decision to serve. Make a conscious decision that you want to do something different and
accept new responsibilities. So I changed my mind. And it applies today. As I've told
Admiral Lushniak a million times and he's told me back, I would rather 3000 people in
our corps that all want to be there and all want to be the same thing and serve, than
6000 and have half of them not care. And I mean that. And I tell every graduating class at OBC, I give
them that opportunity. Although they're already commissioned, and we may change that, it may
be officer candidate school, when they sit there their first day I probably scare the
heck out of them. But I come in and I say, hey, there's the door, you signed up for a
unique personnel system, you signed up to be different, you signed up with responsibilities
that you may not even know what it is right now. But as you find out, it's okay if this
doesn't fit. If this is not for you, it's okay. But I'd rather that happen in the very
beginning than have 15 years or ten years and just be a problem the whole way through.
So those kinds of things are very important to us. So I've talked about this responsibility
and let's put it in a little bit more of a pride sense. Let's finish strong here. Positive.
So when I think of the pride of our service, I have to think of, well, what is the brand
of service that we provide? So if I said, if I think of the uniform services, I got
to tell you, I talked to the Marine recruiter out there. If I say the Marine Corps, what
do you think of? Hooah. Right? esprit de corps. Once a Marine, always a Marine. Mental toughness.
Physical toughness. That's their brand. What's our brand? We have a brand. I could tell you
we have a lot of good things in our brand and we're unique, and you should be very proud
of how unique we are. Let's think about this. Number one, we serve those in need. We have
a specific focus for those in need. And that doesn't just mean a population in need, that
means a need for research, a need for advancing science, a need for regulatory science. A
need for leadership, a need to help vulnerable populations and provide their clinical care.
They're all needs and we meet the need. That's first. Second, we're uniformed public health
expertise. I think you heard Dr. Coe say in his opening plenary, we are the only uniformed
service, worldwide, that is focused solely on public health. Awesome. We have an incredible
asset in front of us. With touching the phone or calling on my Blackberry, within ten minutes,
I can have an expert in veterinary medicine, environmental health, engineer, pharmacy,
medicine, within ten minutes I could get the top of the line expert opinion on so many
things. Who else can do that, and we're all in uniform, we're all bonded by that uniform,
linked to the other uniform services. With a service ethos, number one, and the third
thing we have is very unique is an unmatched network. It's an incredible network, and as
we did more data searching this week, actually, to inform Dr. Coe of some things, we found
out we're in 26 agencies and [unint.] in the U.S. government, 26. And get this, staggering,
11 departments. I didn't even know we were in some of the departments we're in, to tell
you the truth, and I'm the Director of DCCPR, right. So, I was like, we got somebody in
the Department of Energy? [unint.] yes, Scott, we have somebody in the Department of Energy.
So, but it's great, because we have these MOUs and we reach out, we have our, our tentacles,
if you will, everywhere. I challenge any other uniform service --there is nothing, there
is no entity, no uniform service, that touches 11 departments and 26 agencies. What an awesome
privilege and you should be damn proud of it. So sometimes life is challenging. But
we have your back, trust me. We've been through a lot. Our future is going to be crafted through
each and one of you [unint.]. Even the newly, the newly promoted commanders or captains,
you are going to make us fail or succeed. Myself, not Admiral Lushniak, not your senior
leadership right now, the future. So I challenge you to make us better because we have to show
our value to the agencies and to the departments and all those partners that we serve. So I
challenge you to make us better with this charge. Three things, one, focus on what it
means to be a commissioned officer, accept additional responsibility, because that's
what you signed up for. Do the mission, do it well, do it better than anybody else. Wear
the uniform with pride and distinction. Be a role model for health, that's number two.
Look and act the part of a public health professional and officer, that's two different things.
Be healthy, live healthy, as the Surgeon General said, fit and healthy lifestyle, mentally,
physically. Be a role model in your community. Be a role model at your service unit. Be a
role model in the beltway. And the third thing is embrace first and them exemplify the values
of our service, because our service, as I said, is unique and you should be proud of
it. I can tell you, your leaders, your leadership, is optimistic. We are optimistic. We've been
through some challenges. We've had some resource challenges, fiscal and human. Anybody can
vouch for that. To be quite honest, I don't see these scenarios changing. So we're stuck
with this. That's okay. Because what do we do? We have to change. So what do we do? We
change. And we have changed. We've embraced this, we've reengaged with our customers,
we've met the need, and I see the esprit de corps growing. I see it growing. As much as
they cut us down, we grow with esprit de corps. And we will come out the back side stronger.
And I can tell you right now, this is what we do. This is what we do as Commissioned
Corps officers. I'm a visual person and I can see our flag flying with the other services.
And what I think of when I see that flag is the Commissioned Corps, established 1889.
We are still here. We still stand ready. That is what being a commissioned officer is all
about. Thank you. I have the distinct privilege and honor, and I mean this, it's a humbling
experience to precede our next speaker. He is dynamic and engaging. He's passionate,
but he also gets it, and he represents all of you more than you can possibly imagine.
And he's taken the challenges head-on and it's a huge weight on his shoulders, but he
does it every day and night and weekend. Our Deputy Surgeon General Admiral Boris Lushniak.
LUSHNIAK: Thank you. Thanks. Thank you, please. Before I get rolling here, we have lots of
people standing at the side. If people can move to the center, just so we can have people
sit down. Not that I'm going to go on and on and on today, but if you're uncomfortable,
if people can move over a little bit towards the center of the auditorium, and that way
we can allow some of our fellow officers and our guests to sit down as well and be a little
bit comfortable on this rather hot day. I'd like to say, first and foremost that I would
love to just, at this point, kind of just walk away and say, what Scott said. And therefore
all of us can get to our socials. And I promise not to be long winded. I used to start off
a lot of my public speaking with a simple statement. I would look at the audience in
the eye, and in this case it's difficult because of all the lights, I would bow my head, I'd
put my hand on my chest and I'd say, well, I'm humbled and I am not one for public speaking.
But that's a lie. The first part isn't a lie, the second part is, because I enjoy public
speaking. But I am humbled. And let me tell you, that being in this position, being selected
as the Deputy Surgeon General, being, as I'm reminded, the most senior officer in this
stellar audience, although I put in this caveat, that doesn't mean I'm the oldest guy here.
It doesn't mean that I'm chronologically the oldest, nor have I spent the most number of
years in the corps. And, in fact, I want to start off this session by acknowledging several
groups of individuals in this room. And this ties into what Scott had told us. Which is,
you know, we are part of an incredible history. If you don't get it, you got to reconsider
whether you're really with us. And this long history, as we know, starts out in 1798, and
then is reaffirmed as a uniform service in 1889. And throughout this long history, and
I put in parentheses here, those of you who don't have the book, start looking on Amazon
for Williams, is the author, and it's the History of the Commissioned Corps, 1798-1950,
that outlines what you are all part of. It's a rare book now, but I got a couple of copies
that I got for like 25 bucks online. It's out there. The legacy exists. We are part
of a lineage. And I was reminded today at the medical section meeting, that lineage
has done incredible things. That lineage worked side by side with civilian components in public
health, worked both in this country and internationally, to do incredible things. Eradication of smallpox,
we were there. Working on the eradication of polio, now, we're there. Working through
multiple, multiple public health issues, we were there. And let's be reminded of this
legacy. Let's be reminded of this legacy, to honor those who come back to a meeting
like this. Why? Because there's something innate in them that says, I'm not going to
ignore this group. I am forever part of this group. When I do retirement ceremonies, I
remind the retirees that our philosophy is you're never really retired from the commissioned
corps of the United States Public Health Service. You are just put into a separate category
of those awaiting orders. So I want those who have been given the privilege of awaiting
orders to please stand, the retirees, and get the accolades of our current active duty
officers. For it is in the footsteps of these, and I will say the word, these giants, that
we take over, that we pass on this legacy to others. That we, who at some point in our
lives will in fact be put into that category of awaiting further orders, while a new generation
of officers follows us up and takes over for us. I'm humble in this position, humbled by
being in this position, and I hope remain humble in this position. But it's sometimes
very difficult. Because when I feel that I'm part of something this big I really want to
shout and up and share with everybody, and that oftentimes gets into this area of discomfort,
of supreme pride. What the Greeks used to call hubris, which leads to downfalls. I have
to remind myself that I can't be always out there waving our flag with such exuberance.
I need to be humbled, because that's what an officer does. An officer takes orders as
well as leads. In addition, there's others. I mentioned the fact that I'm thought of as
being the senior most officer. There are officers here who have served, and at this point I
want to acknowledge those officers who have put in a quarter century or more of service
in our uniform. For the same reason. To realize that we amongst us have individuals who are
nearing that part of their lives to go into awaiting orders, but whom we oftentimes don't
recognize with our accolades. Thanks for a job well done and we expect a lot out of you
as senior officers, to point the way for the juniors. Twenty-five, plus years, please stand
up. Relationships. So, a
little uncomfortable, all of a sudden you talk about relationships. It reminds me of
the fact that when I was a-courtin' my wife and every single Valentine's Day as we went
on through this relatively short courtship of six years, on Valentine's Day, right around
desert time. You know, we'd go out, I'd get the flowers, get some sort of present. We'd
go for a fancy dinner. Desert time, the uncomfortable question would always come up. To this day,
on Valentine's Day, at desert time, I develop severe case of dyspepsia. And the question
was always quite clear. She'd look me in the eye -- and I swear, she's golden -- she never
hassled me the rest of the year. But at desert time on Valentine's Day, the question was,
so, smile, where do you think this relationship is going? I was really afraid of marriage,
so the M word didn't come naturally to me. And I always had the line, I had it memorized,
and it was, well, you know, I think it's going someplace beautiful. Ever the romantic, this
Lushniak guy. When we talk about relationship, we talk about commitments, we talk about the
ability for us to look each other in the eye and say, and you fill in your relationship.
Are we husband and wife? And we don't, sometimes, do this consciously. Are we husband and wife?
Are we father and daughter, in my case? Are we friends? Are we boss and someone who works
for that boss? We have multiple relationships in our lives and these relationships do not
flourish unless we question those relationships occasionally. And we say to each other, whether
through acts or we say it to each other through actual questioning, is where's this relationship
going? How are we doing? Is there something that should be better about this? Am I satisfied?
And we do this, you know, are you satisfied? We do this in the workplace. I mean, this
is part of the annual evaluation process. We don't oftentimes think of it as a relationship,
but in fact it is. It's a substantiation of saying, you have done a great job. You are
doing an incredible job and I want you to stay on. Or, man, you really suck, and I cannot
wait for you to leave. We have a similar relationship with the commissioned corps. And we have that
ability, much like Scott has so eloquently said, and he will win the speech contest today
-- is, we have the ability to intermittently say, what's my relationship with the commissioned
corps? And as relationships evolve, that question needs to be asked. People oftentimes will
say, well, you know, this whole idea of how the corps has changed. That's not what I signed
up for. I can say the same thing in the married life. You know, after two kids and multiple
houses, the relationship in my wedded life is different than it was back then. And yet
there's a reaffirmation that I accept, or, oftentimes in our society there can be a disjoining
that goes on. I propose to you that we as officers have that same obligation. We have
that obligation to say where is this relationship going? How can I better it? And, if not, is
it time to, to make decisions? Now let's talk this aspect of making it better, because that's
key. How do you, as officers, get involved in making this better? I'll tell you, we in
leadership, we don't have all the answers. We in leadership aren't here to ram things
down the throats of our officers. Especially in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned
Corps, where everyone here is really, really smart. You've attained incredible educational
backgrounds. To be able to even qualify to be an officer, you are de facto trained and
thinkers. For me to say, as Deputy Surgeon General, you will do this no matter what,
I'm not now using your skill set. I'm not telling you that you have the ability to help
me in tough decisions. The burden of leadership, however, is to make decisions. I'm not here
to say that because all of a sudden everyone's empowered to try to influence me, that that's
a cop-out for me to not to take the accountability of making decisions. Those of you who have
heard my leadership talk, talk about several things. Making decisions is primo number one
in leadership. Nothing happens unless decisions are made. How those decisions are made, various
facets to it. You've heard this line if you're heard my leadership talk. My opinion, it's
best done by a committee made up of an odd number of people, less than three. Ultimately,
how do you play a role in focusing on where this Commissioned Corps goes? Involvement,
by being here at the COF meeting it shows me that you're here for a reason. Is it to
get continuing education hours? Maybe. It's for camaraderie, it's to have the good parties
later on? Maybe. But there's something that said I'm going to show up at this meeting.
That's that number one, involvement with the corps. Step number two is involvement in whatever
organizations you feel you could be part of within this Commissioned Corps. This brings
up the PACS [ph.]. That's a point of entry for junior officers and senior officers to
begin playing a role. That's a mechanism that allows you to have input. Are you always going
to get your way? No. You're not going to get your way all the time. But I need to hear
what you're thinking. I need to be able to make decisions, and your leadership team needs
to make decisions, based upon what's going on out there. So the PACS. Local chapters
of the Commissioned Officers Association. Getting further involved as we go up the scheme.
Every month what do we have? We have meetings of something called a combined council. I
view this as the Senate and the House of Representatives of the corps. It now includes the flag officers,
it includes the liaisons, it includes PAC chairs, it includes the representatives of
the different operational divisions as chosen by those divisions. We have a forum of 30
or 40 people in a room with perhaps another 30 or 40 on the phone, all of whom hear what's
going on in the corps. All of whom hear our struggles and our successes. And all of whom
have the ability to produce that feedback of where we're going. You want in, you want
your voice heard? Sitting back and taking all this in, in a passive manner is not the
correct approach. COA, relationships. Is Jerry sometimes a thorn in my behind? He knows it,
the answer is yes, right, Jerry? Is Jerry at times disappointed in what he hears from
me because he represents his dues paying members? Absolutely. Yet we have a respect and a relationship
that is important. We get opinions. We are here to try to either say we can do it, or
we can't. What's the percentage now of membership of commissioned officers in the COA? About
60 percent, so we know that there's a group that represents 60 percent of individuals.
Whether it's across the board, we know, I mean, you know, I, myself, am a dues paying
member. Am I in 100 percent agreement with what Jerry does? No. But that, again, is the
sign of leadership and the ability for me -- I'm not on the COA board to produce that
effect on the board. I'm not active in my current chapter because of my position. And
yet, when I was in Cincinnati and was very active, I felt I had a voice. We had someone
to talk to about that. Get involved, whether at that level or get involved at our internal
levels. Relationships, where do we stand in our department? Big question. Do they like
us, or not? I've been at this job for 18 months. People say, well, you know, is it a great
job? No. Is it the best job you ever had? No. I got to be honest. We're trying. We try,
the mission is clear. Part of the idea of a relationship is making sure the other partner
-- and perhaps this is most akin to that early dating scene -- we got to get to know each
other. And we're in the relationship, even within our own department, where we've had,
with this new leadership, three years to get to know each other. And, you know what? I
think we kind of like each other. It's been tough. There's been spats along the way. There's
been arguments along the way. There's been times where I've got home and I haven't called
the department, they haven't called me, for weeks. And then a text message comes. I'm
putting this back in the analogy of the boring date. And the person says, hey, let's get
back together, let's talk. And then you say, okay, let's do it. This relationship remains
to be unfolded, and yet it is heading in the right direction. I dare say it's heading somewhere
beautiful. Because my sense is that our own department is starting to understand. It took
us a while to explain who we are, it took us through several painful processes. And
we promised we wouldn't mention these things, like the pause. We wouldn't mention things
like the management review or the 46 recommendations. But those were nothing but a getting to know
you scenario. That's my angle on this. We've had discussions about these. We've defended
ourselves. We've explained why the toilet bowl cover is up instead of being down. Why
the dirty socks weren't put away in the right plane. And we're trying to make it better.
From their perspective, they're also beginning to understand that this uniform service has
a distinct role in that department. It goes back to what Dr. Coe said a few days ago,
and he stole the line from me, we're just, we're at the beginning of our lives. The fact
that this is the only uniform service on this planet that does what we do. Relationships
in their own department remain heading in this right direction. Is it perfect? No. We're
still occasionally running into these spats. We're still out there occasionally dissing
each other. But it's okay because we've not all gone away into our separate corners and
we're not giving up on this relationship? Relationship with others. Scott mentioned
26 different agencies that we're embedded in, 11 different departments. Incredible.
And, in general, that feedback that we're getting from areas outside of HHS is the least
of my problems. Why? Because there's a common theme, outside of HHS, I'm getting the fell
that people like us without a doubt. Not unconditionally, because the condition is what, in those agencies
we have helped. We are focused on a mission. They know we bring good to them. And these
agencies want us. They want more of us. So relationships. We're doing well in that realm.
Our we ever going to be the service that everybody's going to know? What's our future? I love the
JOAG [ph.] t-shirt, I actually spent $15 on it yesterday. I would encourage you all to
get it. I don't like the color, JOAG, but it was fine and I made my wife laugh last
night even though I haven't been home before 11 these last three or four nights. But the
front of the t-shirt is the JOAG symbol; right. The back of it says, United States Commissioned
Corps, trying to explain who we are since 1798. Okay. And then below that it says, no,
we're not Navy. Okay. Now are we ever going to get to an era where they see me in this
uniform or in our whites or khakis and they're going to come up and say, oh, you're Commissioned
Corps. We, that happens, and we usually give people money when they do that; right. It's
like you've won a prize. Or better yet, for them to come up to a Navy person and say,
oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were Commissioned Corps. In that realm, we're still going to
be the unknown group. What's it going to take? You know, we tried infiltrating into the CDC
movie of Contagion; right. We saw people in uniform. I was very disappointed, because,
you know, it never really explained who they were, in uniform. The movie sucked. It's just,
my, I'm a critic, okay. But, you know, the reality is, it would take almost that amount
of exposure. It would take that amount of, of a special on the Discovery Channel, that
deals not only with the ice bound truckers and the salmon fleet in Alaska, but us doing
something; right. Our officers in the Indian Health Service seeing patients. Our officers
in DOD helping out with the mental health initiative. Our epidemiologists from CDC traveling
the world; right. It would take that sort of exposure and, at this point in time, there's
too many real life TV shows; right. And since I'm addicted to the noodling show where you
catch fish, I'm not watching anything else. But the reality is innate in who we are. And
I go back to that theme that I started with, and I'm soon closing, is that sense that we
have always been humble. Right. We're forced to be humble. Because expectations that someone's
always going to know who we are is probably not reachable. Doesn't stop us from doing
our work. It doesn't stop us from being proud of who we are. And every time that we're misidentified,
to be able to explain. No, I'm not in the Navy, but let me explain who we are. Let me
tell you about us. Twenty-six different agencies, 11 different departments. Mentioned earlier
to one of the groups we were talking to, ladies and gentlemen, we have infiltrated the U.S.
government. The Commissioned Corps is embedded everywhere. We sometimes have to be reminded
of that. So many different jobs, so many different missions. So much great work going on. How
can we not feel proud of that? And yet the common bond is, getting back to a theme that
I used in Atlanta at the Anchor and Caduceus Dinner, how do I identify myself as? I don't
identify myself as Boris Lushniak, son of Ukrainian immigrants to this county, although
that's part of my identity. I don't identify myself as a dermatologist, although that's
my training. I don't identify myself as the Deputy Surgeon General. You take that step
backwards and innate in my system, for the last quarter of a century -- I am Boris Lushniak,
Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officer. Thank you so much. [END OF FILE] BOOZ ALLEN
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