The Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service

Executive Director

Client Overview

The Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service (COA) and the foundation of COA, the USPHS Commissioned Officers Foundation for the Advancement of Public Health (COF) is conducting a search for their next Executive Director. The mission of COA/COF is to protect and enhance the public health and safety of the United States by supporting and advancing the interests of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service. USPHS is one of seven uniformed services including the: USPHS, Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For more than 200 years, men and women of the USPHS have served on the front lines of the nation’s public health.   

COA is a 501(c)(6) membership association and COF is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation of the association. COA/COF is located in Landover, MD, outside of Washington, DC. COA/COF was founded in 1951 by a group of Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Officers who realized the need for a fulltime effort to advocate for their interests though leadership, education, and communication. COA’s membership is approximately 5,000 and consists primarily of active duty and retired members of the PHS Commissioned Corps.  

The combined COA/COF enterprise employs a staff of 6 FTEs and has a combined enterprise budget of approximately $1.8M. COA revenues are derived primarily from membership dues, investment income, and group insurance royalties. COF revenues are principally from the annual symposium, grants, and donations. Both enterprises, which are audited annually, are financially sound. Sterling Martin Associates has been retained to assist with this search.

For more information on Commissioned Officers Association of the US Public Health Service (USPHS) and the USPHS Commissioned Officers Foundation for the Advancement of Public Health , please visit http://www.coausphs.org/.

The Board of Directors

The governing body of the Commissioned Officers Association (COA) of the U.S. Public Health Service is the Board of Directors.  The Board, totaling 17 members and three ex officio non -voting members, is constituted as follows: one from each of the USPHS categories (total of 11), three field representatives, three retired officers and one each ex officio representative from the Junior Officer Advisory Group (JOAG), Minority Officer Liaison Counsel (MOLC) and Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity Advisory Group (SOAG). The Board of Directors approves changes to the bylaws (subject to final approval by the membership) and significant policies of the organization.

Likewise, the governing body of the USPHS Commissioned Officers Foundation for the Advancement of Public Health (COF) is the Board of Trustees. There are up to 15 seats on the COF Board.  Vacancies are filled through nomination and election by current trustees.  Three trustee seats are reserved for the elected retired officer representatives on the COA Board of Directors. The remaining seats are “at large.” The COF also provides for an unlimited number of honorary trustees, which may include former U.S.  Surgeons General and long-serving acting Surgeons General. The Foundation has no members. All changes to the Foundation bylaws are approved by the Board of Trustees.

Both the COA and COF Boards elect their own officers, and each has an executive committee that is authorized to conduct the business of the respective Board between Board meetings.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

The Executive Director is responsible equally to both the COA and COF Boards for the executive leadership, management, and direction of the combined enterprise. Under the supervision of the Executive Committees (on behalf of the Boards of Directors/Trustees), the Executive Director’s responsibilities include the strategic oversight and administration of the enterprise headquarters office and the two organizations. The Executive Director will plan, formulate and recommend the policies and programs which will further the objectives of the organization. Under the supervision of the Executive Committees (on behalf of the Boards of Directors/Trustees), the Executive Director’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to the following:

The Enterprise

  • Maintain the resident office and act as the resident agent for the enterprise as required by the Association and Foundation Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws; administer the Enterprise headquarters office; and provide appropriate interpretation and fulfillment of functions, responsibilities and authority, and relationships.
  • Establish a sound organizational structure for the headquarters office integrating Association and Foundation staff support to the maximum extent possible while maintaining clear distinction between the activities and functions of the two organizations, especially with respect to financial matters and lobbying activities.
  • Ensure that the Enterprise Boards are kept fully informed on the condition of their respective Association and Foundation. The Executive Director attends all meetings of the Enterprise Boards and their respective executive committees unless otherwise directed by the Boards.
  • Direct and/or participate in the strategic planning activities of the Enterprise and the Association and Foundation individually as directed by the Boards and facilitate the fulfillment of their respective strategic plans.
  • Plan, formulate and recommend for approval by the Enterprise Boards, the basic policies and programs which will further the objectives of the Enterprise collectively and the Association and Foundation individually.
  • Establish such relationships as the Enterprise Boards may specify or as determined advisable in the best interest of the Enterprise in conformity with established policy.
  • Maintain strong and positive relationships with the Office of the Surgeon General, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Military Coalition, and other stakeholders furthering the best interests of commissioned officers.
  • Maintain relationships with such other associations, foundations, industry, government, public service organizations, and vendors as are desirable or necessary in the best interest of the Association and Foundation and in conformity with the overall objectives and policies of the Enterprise.
  • Implement all decisions by the Enterprise Boards except when the Boards specifically assign responsibility to another party (e.g., another Board member).
  • Develop specific policies, procedures and programs for the purpose of implementing the general policies established by the Enterprise Boards.
  • Direct and coordinate all approved programs, projects and major activities of the Enterprise headquarters staff.
  • Recruit, hire, indoctrinate, train, and motivate Enterprise staff personnel. Responsible for all promotions and terminations, as well as salaries.
  • Obtain maximum utilization of staff by clearly defining their duties, establishing performance standards, conducting performance reviews and maintaining a competitive salary structure.
  • Provide the necessary liaison and support staff to committee chairpersons and committees to enable them to properly perform their functions. Ensure that committee decisions and recommendations are submitted to the Board of Directors or Board of Trustees as appropriate for approval.
  • Execute such contracts and commitments as may be authorized by established policies or by the Enterprise Boards.
  • In cooperation with the COA Treasurer and the COF Treasurer, develop, recommend and, upon approval, operate within an annual budget developed for each organization. Ensure all funds, physical assets, and other property of the Enterprise are appropriately safeguarded and administered. Provide for an annual audit of both organizations by a Certified Public Accountant.
  • Oversee the secretarial function of the Association and Foundation by maintaining official minutes of the Board of Directors, Board of Trustees, and other official meetings of the Enterprise and providing security for all files, legal and historic documents, COA member information, and COA and COF mailing lists.
  • Provide staff liaison to all committees and liaison between the committees and the Board of Directors/Board of Trustees as appropriate.


  • In concert with the COA Legislative Affairs committee, ensure that all bills and legislative proposals which are or may be of significance to the Association and USPHS Commissioned Officers are tracked on a continuing basis and report developments to the COA Board and membership as appropriate. Work with elected and appointed government officials to influence legislative and administrative actions favorable to the USPHS Commissioned Corps.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with members of key congressional committees, agencies of the federal government and other groups involved in matters concerning legislation, personnel regulations, etc., related to the Commissioned Corps. Seek opportunities for the Association to participate in cooperative action with such persons and groups.
  • Prepare letters and statements on the position of the Association regarding proposed legislation, regulations, personnel policies, etc. consistent with the policies established by the Board.
  • Promote interest and participation in the Association’s activities on the part of membership and branches, and report activities of the Board and Association through the communications media of the Association such as FRONTLINE, COA, website, or social media. Oversee and assure the regular publication and editorial quality of the COA FRONTLINE and maintenance of the website.
  • In conjunction with the COA Communication and Public Relations Committee, plan, coordinate, and conduct public relations program to enhance public knowledge and support of the Public Health Service, its health professionals, and the Commissioned Corps of the USPHS.
  • Conduct research and related projects prepare reports and publish the results deemed of importance to the membership.
  • Develop educational programs to advance the professional, technical, and/or managerial skills of the membership, operating within the budget and program objectives approved by the Board of Directors.
  • Work with the COA Membership Committee to plan, organize, and direct membership promotion and retention programs and to evaluate results and recommend policies, procedures, and actions to achieve membership goals.
  • Plan, promote, and administer all official meetings of the Association.
  • Provide oversight for the COA Insurance Program and any other business-related activities of the Association.
  • Visit COA Branches when feasible and maintain personal contacts with the membership to the greatest degree possible.


  • Responsible for planning the annual USPHS Scientific and Training Symposium, a public health educational conference for approximately 1,000 attendees, utilizing an advisory committee in the development of the program and, if deemed necessary, other means of assistance (e.g. contractor). Exercise control of the meeting budget and all meeting arrangements to meet financial objectives.
  • In conjunction with the COF Development Committee, plan and implement a comprehensive development strategy that includes annual and planned giving, individual donors, corporate donors and sponsors, major gifts, legacy gifts, and major donor campaigns. Ensure appropriate acknowledgement of all gifts and maintain a detailed donor database and all records pertaining thereto.
  • Work with the COF Education Committee to plan and implement the Foundation’s education programs including scholarship, fellowship, and grant programs.
  • Provide oversight, leadership, and management of all COF program activities including: seeking new opportunities for Foundation growth; preparation and submission of grant applications and contract proposals for specific public health related activities; preparation and submission of invited or commissioned manuscripts for publication; and development of public health related research and education projects. Maintain meticulous records of all program activities. Requisite Qualifications, Characteristics, and Experience

Requisite Qualifications, Characteristics, and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is preferred.
  • Prior or current uniformed service experience, or first-hand knowledge of uniformed service policies and protocol is highly desired.  
  • Senior management experience in a professional association/foundation, ideally with experience in the areas of public health, educational programming and meetings, membership development, fundraising, public policy and advocacy, and/or board governance/support is required.
  • Must be a strategic leader with a proven ability to develop and execute successful plans that positively affect the association and foundations bottom line.
  • Must be able to build and foster positive, collaborative relationships with all stakeholders including volunteer leadership, association staff and external organizations.
  • Must be an effective oral and written communicator and able to give presentations to a diverse range of audiences.
  • Negotiation, conflict resolution, problem-solving and strategic thinking skills are essential, as are strong financial management and budgeting skills.


A competitive compensation package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.

To apply, please send a cover letter and current résumé (Microsoft Word® format preferred) to [email protected]. A well-written cover letter, outlining how your experience fits the requirements of the position, will be an important factor in considering your candidacy.

COA-COF is an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer committed to inclusion and cultural diversity in the workplace. Employment selection and related decisions are made without regard to sex, race, color, age, disability, religion, national origin, sexual preference, genetic information, or any other protected class.

For more information, contact:

Sterling Martin Associates
1025 Connecticut Avenue | Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036

David S. Martin | Managing Partner
[email protected]

Leigh Beal | VP of Executive Recruiting
[email protected]