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Department of Health and Human Services (U.S.)

Last modified: 2015-01-24 by rick wyatt
Keywords: departmental | health and human services | united states |
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[Department of Health and Human Services] image by Sergio Horta, 12 February 2001



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Description of the flag

The Department of Health and Human Services was the successor of the previous Department of Health, Education, and Welfare after Education was given its own department under the Carter Administration (1977-81). The seal of the department is a stylized eagle with wings elevated in profile, made up of alternating blue and gold stripes forming the faces, also in profile, of a man, woman, and child. According to drawings prepared by the Army Institute of Heraldry on 13 November 1980, which I found in the Institute's files today (corroborating Jack Kowalski's information):

The departmental flag is ultramarine blue with the departmental seal in old gold. For indoor use (52 x 66 inch size), all flags have golden yellow fringe.
Joe McMillan, 14 December 2001


Secretary of Health and Human Services

[Department of Health and Human Services] image by Joe McMillan, 14 December 2001

Secretary of HHS has ultramarine blue with the departmental seal in old gold and an old gold star in each corner.
Joe McMillan, 14 December 2001


Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services

[Department of Health and Human Services] image by Joe McMillan, 14 December 2001

Deputy Secretary of HHS (originally Under Secretary) has a white flag with the departmental seal in old gold on a blue disk, and an old gold star in each corner.
Joe McMillan, 14 December 2001


Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services

[Assistan Secretary - Department of Health and Human Services] image by Joe McMillan, 14 December 2001

Assistant Secretaries of HHS have white flags with the departmental seal in ultramarine blue and an old gold star in each corner.
Joe McMillan, 14 December 2001

"The white flag, with the DHHS seal applied using blue embroidery stitching or appliqué, is the positional flag for the Assistant Secretary, DHHS flag. This flag is no longer used by the ASH when the appointee is also commissioned as a 4-star Admiral. The Assistant Secretary, DHHS flag is displayed when the ASH is a civilian appointee."
Dave Fowler, 24 September 2014


Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services - Admiral

[Admiral Assistant Secretary Department of Health and Human Services] image by Joe McMillan, 23 January 2015

This is the positional flag for the Assistant Secretary (of Health and Human Services) for Health, when the office-holder is a US Public Health Service commissioned officer with the rank of Admiral. It was adopted in approximately March 2008, and this far has only been used by one ASH, Dr. (Admiral) Joxel Garcia from 2008 to 2009. The last office-holder was a civilian, Dr. Howard Koh, from 2009-2014. As a civilian, he used the standard Assistant Secretary for Health flag. From The Office of the ASH:

"This flag was designed by Dr. (Admiral) John Agwunobi, the ASH from 2005-2007, but he did not authorize having it made during his tenure. The flag was manufactured for the commissioning ceremony of Dr. Garcia, and he is the only ASH for whom the flag has been displayed. This flag can only be displayed and/or used by the ASH when the official in the position is also commissioned as a 4 star Admiral in the USPHS Commissioned Corps. Distinguishing/positional flags can only be displayed when the official who has been appointed to occupy the position is present and/or actively participating in an event."
Dave Fowler, 16 January 2015


Surgeon General

[Surgeon General] image by Joe McMillan

The Surgeon General is the chief of the Public Health Service. By law, his rank is the equal to that of the Surgeon General of the Army (currently a lieutenant general), but he is accorded four-star rank when he is concurrently appointed as an assistant secretary of health and human services. The Surgeon General's flag is blue with the central device of the PHS seal in white. It comes in the same sizes as the PHS flag and displaces the service flag when the Surgeon General officially visits a PHS installation or vessel. For indoor and ceremonial use, the Surgeon General's flag has a white fringe, cord, and tassels.
Joe McMillan, 1 December 2002


Deputy Surgeon General

[Deputy Surgeon General] image by Joe McMillan

The Deputy Surgeon General and Assistant Surgeons General rank with rear admirals and rear admirals (lower half). They use the same flag as the Surgeon General--and according to the same procedures-- but with the colors reversed. The only difference between the Deputy SG and Assistant SG flags is that the fringe, cord, and tassels on ceremonial flags is intertwined blue and white cord for the Deputy and solid blue for the Assistants.
Joe McMillan, 1 December 2002


US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

According to a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control, there is no flag for that organisation. They simply use a logo (like the FDA).
Sean McKinniss, 25 March 2003