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USPHS Honor Awards. The Basics of Awards Write-ups. Objective. To provide officers tools an understanding of importance of PHS Honor Awards To provide officers tools on writing awards. Agenda. Overview of PHS Awards Awards Approval Processes Basics of Writing Awards

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USPHS Honor Awards

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usphs honor awards

USPHS Honor Awards

The Basics of Awards Write-ups

  • To provide officers tools an understanding of importance of PHS Honor Awards
  • To provide officers tools on writing awards
  • Overview of PHS Awards
  • Awards Approval Processes
  • Basics of Writing Awards
  • Awards and Career Planning
relevant documents
Relevant Documents
  • PHS Commissioned Corps Awards, CCPM Pamphlet No. 67 - April 1998
  • Commissioned Corps Instruction CC27.1.1
  • There are other relevant documents on the CCMIS website, but these are the most generally applicable
  • Sample Awards
agency nomination guidance
Agency Nomination Guidance
  • CDC Guidance on Writing Nominations
  • FDA Awards Nomination Process
  • NIH Awards Nomination Process
types of awards
Types of Awards
  • Honor Awards
    • Individual and Unit
    • General criteria, achievement/performance based
    • Officership achievements not usually included
  • Service Awards
    • Set criteria
    • Do not go through Agency awards boards
  • Campaign Medals
  • Training Awards
  • Regular Corps Ribbon
  • Special “addition”
    • With Valor
honor awards
Honor Awards
  • Individual Honor Awards
    • Six for which Corps officers may be nominated: DSM, MSM, OSM, CM, AM, CIT.
      • Agency may approve CIT, AM, CM, OSM
    • Two additional awards for which there is no nomination process: SGM and SGESM.
    • No order in which an officer must receive these awards.
  • Unit Honor Awards
    • Two (UC, OUC)
    • Agency may approve UC
  • Recognition by the United States of your work
  • Demonstrates leadership/ability
  • Awards are tied to the promotion process
    • O4 (AM and below)
    • O5 (CM and below)
    • O6 (OSM and below)
  • Unit awards important, but individual honor awards are specifically denoted in the Benchmarks
  • Awards are worth the time and effort
individual awards
Individual Awards
  • Requirements
    • PHS 6342-2
    • Two page narrative
  • General requirements
    • Vary by agency/awards board
      • # of copies
      • Signatures on the forms
      • Criteria for approval
    • Check with your liaison or your awards board coordinator to get details
  • Two general criteria
    • Level of achievement
    • Length of time
awards criteria
Awards Criteria
  • CIT
    • Single achievement
    • Shorttime frame (1 week to a few months is typical)
  • AM
    • sustained above-average accomplishment, superior performance
    • 1-2 years is typical
  • CM
    • high quality achievements
    • application of unique skill
    • noteworthy technical and professional contributions that are significant to a limited area
    • 2 years time frame is typical
    • Usually Agency/state level impact
awards criteria1
Awards Criteria
  • OSM
    • continuous outstanding leadership
    • National level impact
    • Time frame is typically 2-4 years
  • MSM
    • Meritorious achievement
    • Usually a career wrap award
    • Time frame is typically many years
  • DSM
    • exceedingly high level of achievement
    • Often multi-national impact
    • Time frame is typically several years but varies
the narrative
The Narrative
  • Most important part of the award
    • Describes what you’ve done and WHY IT MATTERS
    • The hardest to write
  • Your audience may be very diverse in background
    • Anyone who reads it should understand what you’ve done
    • Clear, concise writing is critical
  • Limited to two pages, 1” margins
  • Suggested font Times New Roman (10.5-11 font)
a good narrative
A Good Narrative
  • Citation
    • What you’ve been awarded for
    • Must match 6342 citation verbatim
  • Background
    • Short paragraph that provides the reader the setting of the award.
  • Body
    • 3-4 general sections describing broad achievements
    • General sections include accomplishments an impacts
  • Conclusion
    • VERY short section that reiterates that you are highly deserving of the award for what you’ve done
writing style
Writing Style
  • Concise, clear
    • Sentences should be 1-2 lines long
    • Longer sentences are hard to follow
  • Time Anchors
    • Tells the reader how long it took to do the job
    • Use intermittently throughout
  • Avoid
    • Jargon (collaboration, consensus)
    • Praise language (enthusiastically, energetically)
  • Quantify
    • Numbers help readers understand the scale of effort
  • Bullets vs paragraph format
    • Find out which your board prefers
  • These are things that were done
  • First person, active verb
    • Include your specific role
    • What did you actually do (or lead)
    • Quantify when possible
  • For prolonged or extensive efforts
    • Use the phrase “For example,….”
  • Must be more than just doing your normal duty
  • Must have an impact associated with it
  • 13-month window following the end of the accomplishments to submit the award.
  • No overlap with previous awards.
    • Why are your accomplishments award-worthy
  • Every sentence should read or have implied
    • “As a result”
    • “Therefore”
    • “Because of”
  • Use numbers
    • How much reduction in morbidity/mortality
    • How much money saved
    • How many people trained
    • How much improvement made
common problems
Common Problems
  • Accomplishments too vague
    • Not clear what you actually did
    • Praise language
  • Impacts not well described
    • Not clear why your work was important
  • Too technical
    • Awards boards usually have broad background
  • Mixed impacts/accomplishments
    • Obtaining funding, publishing is an accomplishment, is an accomplishment, not impact
  • Level of proposed award does not match accomplishments
    • May be downgraded (but sometimes is upgraded)
  • Overlap with previous awards (career wrap may be excepted)
  • The officer should always be involved in the write-up
    • You know what you did and why it was important
  • Listen to your awards board coordinator
    • They know what will pass and what will not
  • Plan on 2-3 full days and several iterations
  • Spell check/grammar check
the 6342
The 6342
  • Citation limited to 25 words
  • At least one supervisory signature
    • Check your agency’s procedures
  • Original signatures needed
    • Award may require secondary concurrence if work was under a different supervisor than your current one
  • Second page awards
    • No service/training awards
unit awards
Unit Awards
  • Same rules/principles apply
    • Same writing styles
    • Same do’s and don’ts
  • UC is agency level while OUC must be approved by CC Awards Board
  • Note that the form is 6342-1 (not 6342-2)
  • Separate 6342 page 2 for each officer on the team
    • Non PHS officers should be included
    • Listed on separate sheet
    • Coordinate with your Awards Board Liaison to determine your agency’s practices
awards and career planning
Awards and Career Planning
  • Know your benchmarks
    • Target the appropriate award level before you go up for promotion
    • Higher level awards require rolling together long periods of work
  • Know the importance of an award level relative to your career
    • A CM for an O-3 is great, but a CIT for an O-6 provides minimal bang for the buck
  • Continuity of awards
    • A Benchmark but does not mean you need a CIT, then AM, then CM
  • Unit Awards provide value as well
    • Get involved in team efforts
  • Honor Awards are important to your career
  • Approval process varies
    • Work with your awards board liaison
  • Writing style of narrative is very important
    • Takes time, effort, but worth it
  • Develop an awards “strategy” as part of your career planning