John McLamb, health physicist in the NIEHS Health and Safety Branch (HSB), was promoted July 1 to the rank of commander in the Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps. McLamb specializes in radiation safety at the institute, as well as integrated pest management.
“It’s well-deserved,” said Captain Jeff Church, also in the corps and head of HSB. “I was confident he would be successful,” he added. “John is universally liked and appreciated, both within the branch and among the others he’s worked with.”
With just a handful of PHS officers working at NIEHS, it might seem surprising to have more than one in the same group. But the branch’s work, helping protect employees and neighbors of the institute, fits well with the PHS mission to protect public health.
Serving during emergencies
That mission, in fact, is what drew McLamb to the PHS Commissioned Corps. After seven years at NIEHS as a civil servant, he applied to the PHS, attracted to the opportunity to help out during emergencies.
“It makes you feel like you’ve done something tangible and immediate,” he said of his work during flooding in Kentucky and, more recently, traveling to Liberia to help with the Ebola response mission. “It’s a very gratifying group to work with. There’s a lot of very inspiring, very dedicated individuals.”
The PHS Commissioned Corps, established by Congress in 1889, is a uniformed service based in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The corps is made up of more than 6,700 well-trained, highly qualified public health professionals dedicated to delivering the nation's public health promotion and disease prevention programs, and advancing public health.