OSense O-Sense

Bruce R. Chelikowsky, R.S., M.P.H. Captain, United States Public Health Service Chief Sanitarian Officer

June 1989 – January 1994

Born in New York and raised mostly in Ohio, CAPT Chelikowsky began his career in public health as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sarawak, Malaysia in 1965. He worked in malaria control, sanitation, and communicable diseases. It was a sobering experience, one that shaped his career path and his aspirations in life. After this service, he accepted an assignment with the Agency for International Development as a technical advisor in environmental health to the nine provinces of southern Thailand. Now fluent in both Thai and Malay, he returned to Malaysia and trained three Peace Corps groups in the areas of health and development.

After Southeast Asia, CAPT Chelikowsky went back to the United States and earned a Master of Public Health degree from Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. In September 1972, he was commissioned in the U.S. Public Health Service. In his first assignment in Crownpoint, New Mexico, he managed an environmental health program and later served as Director of Community Health, directing public health nursing and other field programs. In October 1975, he transferred to Portland as the Tribal Utilities Consultant for the 29 Tribes in that Area and provided assistance for operation and maintenance of Tribal sanitation facilities.

In March 1978, CAPT Chelikowsky was detailed to the University of Hawaii and assigned to the Ministry of Health in Jakarta, Indonesia. As part of a three-person team, he developed a competency-based environmental health curriculum for technician and professio nal level staff. A train- the-trainers curriculum and a how-to-do field manual in Indonesian were also developed to help ensure that these skills and new information were disseminated as widely as possible in the country. Here he met his wife, Jouhra Sitti, and their wedding was attended by family members and friends from around the globe.

Upon completion of the project, CAPT Chelikowsky was assigned to Indian Health Service (IHS) headquarters in July 1980 in the new position of Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. He held this position until 2004. During his tenure, he developed a process for deploying IHS personnel and played a key role in the developme nt of the Federal Response Plan. He was also responsible for the deployment of IHS personnel of all disciplines to nearly every disaster that occurred over this period includ ing the Cuban/Haitian refugee camps, hurricanes Andrew and Iniki, Georgia flooding, contingency planning for the Gulf war, 9/11, and Katrina. In November 1984, CAPT Chelikowsky was selected as the Chief, Environme ntal Management Branch. He assumed the responsibility for training IHS and Tribal environmental health and engineering staff and taking the lead for reviews of each Area’s programs. Under his guidance, the number of training courses offered increased and continuing education units were awarded. He held this post concurrently until May 1999.

In July 1995, CAPT Chelikowsky was selected for his present position, Deputy Director, Office of Environmental Health and Engineering. He also was the acting Office Director for five ye ars. In this position, he manages a program that plans, designs, constructs, and maintains new health care facilities and staff quarters, plans and constructs sanitation facilities, operates clinical engineering and comprehensive environmental health programs, as well as real property. This position invo lves a great deal of exposure with the Department, the Congress, and Tribes. CAPT Chelikowsky has also been involved with the Self- Governance process since its inception. He participated in the Healthy People Objectives from 1990 to the present, represented the IHS on the Department’s International Health Representatives Group, and most recently served on the IHS Director’s Execut ive Council formed to advise the Director on policy issues.

CAPT Chelikowsky has also been active in Commissioned Corps activities. He served as the Executive Secretary of the Sanitarian Professional Advisory Committee from 1980 to 1987 and as Chair from 1988 to 1989. He was appointed by Surgeon General C. Everett Koop as the Chief Professional Office for the Sanitarian Category in June 1989 and held the post until January 1994. In this capacity, he served as a spokesperson for the Category, represented the Surgeon General and the PHS with public and professional groups and stressed recruitment, especially through the Commissioned Officer and Student Training Extern Program. In 1998, CAPT Chelikowsky was detailed ½ time to the Office of the Surgeon General for approximately 9 months to assist with the transition to a new Surgeon General. He assisted in the preparation of two Reports to Congress on the Commissioned Corps and the Inactive Reserves. With the proceedings from a meeting he planned and coordinated, he developed a five- year timeline to carry out the major recommendations to utilize the inactive reserves. Recently, he part icipated on Classifications and Positions Work Group, formed to address the Transformation of the Corps.

Actively involved in a number of professional associations, CAPT Chelikowsky served four terms on the Commissioned Officers Association Board of Directors over two decades, four terms as Regional Vice-President on the National Environmental Health Association’s (NEHA) Board of Directors, and three terms on the NSF International Council of Public Health Consultants, including one as Chairman. He also he ld offices in the American Academy of Sanitarians (AAS), the Uniformed Services Affiliate to NEHA, and the Environment Section of the American Public Health Association.

Because of his efforts on behalf of the IHS and PHS, CAPT Chelikowsky has been the recipient of several awards, including the PHS Distinguished Service Medal, Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medal and the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service. To recognize his contributions to the profession and to public health, AAS and NEHA also bestowed on him their highest accolades: the Davis Calvin Wagner Award and the Walter S. Mangold Award respectively.

CAPT Chelikowsky is married to Jouhra Sitti and they have a son, Adam. He was a certified scuba diver, is an avid runner, and enjoys golf.