Dear ACOA Membership,
As the 2017-2018 Atlanta Commissioned Officers Association (ACOA) operational year draws to a close, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on some of the accomplishments of the Branch, which includes you, the ACOA member-volunteers.
• We held the first annual Officer Appreciation Picnic in September 2017 with over 65 officers and guests—ranging from RADMs to LTs—in attendance. This activity celebrated members who give their time and energy to ACOA’s many activities. We welcomed new Atlanta-area officers and inactive members, encouraging them to join ACOA by highlighting the benefits of membership. Look for an announcement about the 2018 Picnic soon!
• We donated over 1000 hours of community service to local organizations such as the USO, St Francis Table, the Veterans Empowerment Organization, Habitat for Humanity, and Project Open Hand.
• We held our first low-cost CPR course—taught by yours truly!—to support readiness for those officers with less agency access to BLS training.
• We had record attendance at our 10th Annual Anchor and Caduceus Dinner, held on January 27, 2018. With 140 attendees, we were able to donate $4,400 to the Commissioned Officers Foundation Dependent Scholarship Fund.
• Our newsletter team breathed new life into The Signal by creating new column ideas, including “Bagels with a Boss” and the celebration of member retirements and birth announcements.
Each of these accomplishments could not have been a success without member participation and leadership. I appreciate your continued to service to our USPHS community and the Atlanta area!
Our final activity of ACOA’s operational year will be the Atlanta Area Officer Promotion Ceremony. I’d like to extend a hearty congratulations to all of the promoted officers. I want to encourage those newly promoted to continue to be an example of excellence in service by committing your time to mentor and lead your fellow officers through ACOA. This year, ACOA weathered many storms, including long deployments due to back-to-back hurricanes, the passing of a fellow officer and leader in ACOA, and changes in policies that may impact our future as USPHS officers. By joining ACOA and becoming an active member, you have access to a national organization that rallies on our behalf to maintain our officer benefits and you have the ability to become a change-agent through your service.
Finally, I leave you in very capable hands! Your incoming President, LCDR Katrina Sloan, works in the Division of Issues Management Analysis and Coordination in CDC’s Office of the Chief of Staff. She is an Issues Manager for the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, a member of CDC’s Regulatory Team, and CDC’s Office of the Federal Register Liaison. She has served as a USPHS officer for nine years in the Health Services Officer category. She deployed in 2010 for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and in 2016 for the Louisiana Flood response.
Since commissioning, Katrina has been a member of ACOA, beginning as a USO volunteer. She has served as an ACOA Executive Committee member since 2016, working on the Community Service subcommittee and volunteering for the Anchor & Caduceus Dinner.
I will continue to serve ACOA in the capacity of Past President. After five years of continued leadership with the Branch, I look forward to serving as a senior advisor to the incoming Executive Committee and helping to promote active membership and commitment to service. Congratulations to the newly elected team members. Let’s make the 2018-2019 year even better than the last!
LCDR Erika C. Odom
ACOA President, 2017-2018