U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Site Map   Contact Us   
America's Health Responders U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Photo of an Engineer Officer
Video Tours Duty Station Map Core Values News and Features Officer Video Profiles
Answering the Call Photo of an Engineer Officer
Apply Now E-mail a Question Questions & Answers


Print Print      Send this page by email Send

When you join the Commissioned Corps, you become a part of a dedicated team of professionals who work to improve the health of individuals, communities, and the Nation.

Meet some engineer officers from the Commissioned Corps.

Lieutenant Nazmul Hassan
Engineer, Food and Drug Administration

Serving the Nation’s health…
LT Nazmul Hassan, an engineer, works for the Food and Drug Administration in Jamaica, NY, where he identifies and prevents potentially contaminated, unapproved, mislabeled, impure, harmful, unwholesome, ineffective, or in some other way dangerous, defective, or deceptive foods, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices from entering the United States through the port complexes of New York and New Jersey. His engineering background combined with FDA training and experience have prepared him to investigate cargo that arrives from around the world to protect the health and safety of what is perhaps the world’s most concentrated and affluent consumer market. In 2007, LT Hassan served aboard the USS Peleliu, a Navy amphibious ship, on a humanitarian health care and public health mission in Southeast Asia and the Western and Outer Pacific Islands. “It is an honor and a privilege to serve in the Commissioned Corps where I can be part of the healing process,” says LT Hassan.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Adam Hughes
Engineer, Indian Health Service

Bringing running water to entire communities.
Although running water and sanitation facilities are still out of reach for many of the families living in the Navajo community located in Tuba City, AZ, progress is being made to improve conditions. Over the past 5 years, Adam Hughes, an engineer serving as a lieutenant junior grade in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and his Indian Health Service (IHS) colleagues have been working to modernize the community's infrastructure. Just recently, they completed a new regional water system, serving more than 150 Navajo homes situated in a remote and rugged area of the community. Approximately 750 Navajo Native Americans now have clean, running water from that large regional project. LTJG Hughes appreciates his work in the Commissioned Corps because it provides him with unique opportunities in the public health arena. "I don't know of any other place where a young civil engineer, right out of school, could get such a wide range of experiences. I am personally designing million dollar construction projects, overseeing the drilling of new water wells, and constructing new water systems, all of which will serve entire communities. Very few engineers get this kind of first-job experience," he explains. "I feel that serving in the Corps is a privilege because we are serving our fellow citizens-sometimes in remote environments. We're providing essential services that no one else is providing."

Lieutenant Vivian Iskander-Porter
Engineer, Indian Health Service

Serving the underserved.
As an engineer with the Indian Health Service, LT Vivian Iskander-Porter helps provide water and wastewater services to small, rural communities. After only 3 years in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, she's already enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that comes from applying her professional skills creatively to help make life better for others. "I've been afforded many successes-from building water treatment facilities so communities could have clean, clear water for the first time, to drilling a well for an elderly woman who had always hauled water to her home, to constructing a septic system so that a family's land no longer held raw sewage and their children could play outside without falling sick," LT Iskander-Porter says. A native of Round Rock, TX, LT Iskander-Porter earned her bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas. In 2004, she was deployed to provide disaster assistance in the wake of Hurricane Francis. "The Commissioned Corps has given me the unique opportunity to apply my skills as an engineer in creative and traditional ways that help others without the pressure of generating profit," she says. "There is a noble cause behind our work and that in itself is an enormous and unique benefit."

Captain Jim P. Magnuson
Engineer, Indian Health Service

Revitalizing communities to preserve Navajo culture.
With its endless blue skies and giant sandstone monoliths, the beautiful, wide open West of the Colorado Plateau is home to the Navajo people. It is also a dry, rugged place, and in the small villages and chapter houses that dot the landscape a way of life is threatened by the lack of clean running water for drinking and sanitation. Serving as district engineer in Shiprock, NM, CAPT Jim P. Magnuson of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps leads the Indian Health Service's effort to bring water and sewage facilities to Navajo families. CAPT Magnuson manages two offices and supervises a team of project managers, engineers, and construction crews that install new water and sewage facilities and upgrade existing ones throughout a 5,000 square mile area of the Navajo community. In his eighth year of this assignment, CAPT Magnuson and his team have brought these essential services to thousands of homes. "I think it's fabulous that we're meeting such a huge need," says CAPT Magnuson. When water lines reach camps and settlements, CAPT Magnuson has seen Navajo communities revitalized and families reunited as siblings and children move back to their ancestral homes, once abandoned out of necessity. Because of the work of CAPT Magnuson and his team of dedicated professionals, the Navajo culture is being preserved as families are united and the communities gain new life.

Commander Nathan Tatum
Engineer, National Park Service

Protecting dams to save lives.
There are about 500 dams located across the country in national parks, a few of which are currently identified as high hazard. As the dam safety officer for the National Park Service, it's CDR Nathan Tatum's job is to see that the problems with these and other National Park Service dams are addressed to ensure safety. He coordinates the technical inspection of dams and works to correct deficiencies that pose risks to national park employees, visitors, and resources. "What I love about the Corps is the diversity of my work," he explains. In his 12 years with the Corps, CDR Tatum has had a variety of experiences, working in seven States with several Federal agencies. These assignments have encompassed everything from drilling wells for Native Americans in the foothills of California to providing technical expertise to leadership at the Department of Homeland Security to respond to developing situations and make ongoing policy decisions.

Lieutenant Varsha Savalia
Engineer, Food and Drug Administration

Protecting women's health by ensuring mammography safety.
LT Savalia's work at the FDA protects the health of women by ensuring that medical facilities that perform mammographies are in compliance with government quality and safety standards. "Our division regulated about 9,000 inspected mammography facilities in 2005," she said. In one 6-month period, she had four compliance cases that resulted in facilities either shutting down or losing their accreditation. "In the Commissioned Corps we're fulfilling our mission to protect the public health. It's nice to be able to do my work and not have to worry about end-of-year profits like I did when I worked for a company in the private sector."

If you are an engineering student or engineer interested in the Commissioned Corps, take the next step! E-mail us your questions, call us at 800-279-1605, or apply online now.

Officers Bios
Site Map  -  Contact Us  -  Linking to USPHS.gov  -  Privacy Notice  -  Accessibility  -  Web site Disclaimers
Freedom of Information Act  -  USA.gov  -   Office of Public Health and Science -  Office of the Surgeon General
Department of Health and Human Services  U.S.Public Health Service

Last updated on 6/10/2008