Deputy Director for Medical Surge
Office of Emergency Management
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
|RADM Clare Helminiak was selected by Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson as the Chief Professional Officer for the Medical category effective 1 June 2009. As Chief Medical Officer, RADM Helminiak is responsible for providing leadership and coordination of Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service (Corps) medical professional affairs for the Office of the Surgeon General and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). RADM Helminiak will provide guidance and advice to the Surgeon General and the Physician's Professional Advisory Committee (PPAC) on matters such as recruitment, retention, career development, and readiness of Corps medical officers.
RADM Helminiak is the Deputy Director for Medical Surge in the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Operations (OPEO), a component of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).
She is responsible for directing and coordinating medical surge through the supervision of three programs: the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS); the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP); and the Emergency Care Coordination Center (ECCC). NDMS augments the Nation's medical response capability with specialized medical, veterinary, and mortuary team capabilities. HPP enhances the preparedness and response of hospitals and health care systems. ECCC improves the resiliency, efficiency, and capacity of daily hospital emergency medical care. All three programs support the leading role of ASPR in coordinating all-hazards preparedness and response activities between HHS, other Federal departments and agencies, and State, local, and Tribal officials.
RADM Helminiak received her MD degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1982, and completed a flexible internship at Michigan State University in 1983. She received her MPH from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1998, and is Board certified in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine.
She began her Corps career in 1983 as a General Medical Officer at Mescalero Indian Hospital in Mescalero, New Mexico. From 1984-88 she served at the Alaska Native Medical Center as a General Pediatric Medical Officer and then as Assistant Director of the Alaska Area Native Health Service Hepatitis B Program.
After serving as a member of the Inactive Reserve from 1988-1990 in Montana and Arizona, RADM Helminiak returned to active duty as a Senior Medical Officer and then Clinical Director at the Colorado River Service Unit in Parker, Arizona, from 1990-2006. During her tenure in Arizona, she served as the 2002-2003 Chair for the National Council of Clinical Directors of the Indian Health Service, and worked both domestically and on-site in Kabul, Afghanistan, on a Department of Defense/HHS maternal/child health care reconstruction project.
After joining ASPR in 2006, RADM Helminiak was responsible for the transfer of NDMS from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to HHS, and served as the Team Leader for Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) #5.
From 2007-2009 she was detailed to the Office of the Vice President as the Medical Advisor for Homeland Security Affairs. In that capacity she maintained a broad unclassified and classified portfolio including pandemic influenza, chemical, biological, radiologic, and nuclear threats, research, development, acquisition, and distribution of medical countermeasures, medical surge capacity and mass casualty care, and global health security. She provided a direct interface for the Office of the Vice President with the staff of the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council, and the senior leadership of the Interagency at the Assistant Secretary level.
RADM Helminiak maintains memberships in several professional organizations including the American Public Heath Association, the Commissioned Officers Association, the Military Officers Association of America, the Reserve Officers Association, the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, the American Association for the History of Medicine, and the History of Science Society.
RADM Helminiak is a Regular Corps officer and has received numerous awards including the PHS Distinguished Service Medal, PHS Meritorious Service Medal, Office of the Vice President Service Badge, Office of the Secretary Service Badge, PHS Achievement Medal, PHS Special Assignment Award, PHS Outstanding Unit Citation, four PHS Unit Commendations, two PHS Hazardous Duty Awards, and two PHS Isolated Hardship Awards. During her service in the Indian Health Service she also received an Exceptional Performance Group Award, two Exceptional Performance Awards, an Outstanding Clinical Leadership Award, three Area Director's Awards for Excellence, an Area Director's Award for an Heroic Act, and an Inter-Tribal Outstanding Service Award.