Health Leader of the Year

The COA Health Leader of the Year Award was established in 1987 to recognize individuals who have made notable contributions to the health of the Nation.  Contributions can be in research, administration, service delivery, or some other area of public health.

This award recognizes those who achieved prominence in public health.  Persons who have demonstrated leadership and excellence in making notable contributions to the health of the Nation may be nominated for this award.  Contributions can be in research, administration, service delivery or some other area of public health.

In general, persons considered will include those who have been in public health practice for more than 15 years.   Membership in COA is not a requirement for nomination; however, consideration will be given to the nominee’s knowledge and support of the USPHS Commissioned Corps.

Nominations for 2017 COA Health Leader of the YearNominations are due by December 31, 2016. Submit via email to CAPT Brian Lewis, chair, COA Awards Committee at and


CAPT Robert J. Tosatto, USPHS 

2016 COA Health Leader of the Year 

Captain Rob Tosatto serves as Director of the Medical Reserve Corps under the Partner Readiness and Emergency Programs Division and is the principal advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and the Director of the Office of Emergency Management on issues of civilian volunteers and their participation in public health initiatives and emergency preparedness/response activities. He is a strong advocate for reducing disaster risk, building community resilience, and engaging young members of our society in these efforts. He is directly responsible for overseeing the establishment, implementation, and coordination of MRC units in communities nationwide. 

CAPT Tosatto has been a U.S. Public Health Service officer since 1988, and has previously completed tours of duty with the Office of Global Health Affairs, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Indian Health Service, including assignments on the Navajo, Fort Hall, and Pine Ridge reservations. He has been deployed on numerous occasions, including response missions following the anthrax mailings in 2001, Hurricane Katrina, and several humanitarian and national special security events. 

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the USPHS Meritorious Service Medal and the Surgeon General’s Medallion. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy and master's degrees in public health and business administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. CAPT Tosatto is married, has four children, strives for balance in his life, and enjoys spending much of his free time being outside and active (rock climbing, kayaking, hiking, snowboarding, mountain biking, etc.). 

CAPT Tosatto embodies the Corps values of leadership, excellence, integrity, and service.  For his sustained initiative, inspiring performance and immeasurable impact as long-serving Director of the Medical Reserve Corps Program, CAPT Tosatto received the COA Health Leader of the Year Award.

Past recipients of the Health Leader of the Year Award include:




CAPT Robert J. Tosatto, USPHS, Director, Medical Reserve Corps Program


RADM Boris Lushniak, USPHS, Deputy Surgeon General


Thomas Frieden, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


RADM Thomas McGinnis, USPHS, Defense Health Agency


RADM William Foege, USPHS  (Ret.)


The Honorable Jeff Bingaman, U.S. Senate


The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. Senate


RADM Susan Blumenthal, USPHS (Ret.)


RADM Charles Grim, USPHS, Director, Indian Health Services


RADM Helene Gayle, USPHS, (Ret.) President and CEO of CARE USA


Richard H. Carmona, 17th U.S. Surgeon General


VADM James A. Zimble, (Ret.), 30th Surgeon General, U.S. Navy


Julie L. Gerberding, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


RADM Kenneth Moritsugu, Deputy Surgeon General


Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services


The Honorable John Warner and Tim Hutchinson, U.S. Senate


CAPT Brian Flynn, USPHS


RADM Barry Johnson, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry


The Honorable Bill Frist, U.S. Senate




Francis S. Collins, Director, National Center for Human Genome Research




John Lewin


Ada Sue Hinshaw, NINR, National Institutes of Health


VADM Antonia Novello, USPHS, 14th U.S. Surgeon General


William Roper, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Samuel Broder, NCI, National Institutes of Health


James O. Mason, 9th Assistant Secretary for Health


Anthony Fauci, NIAID, National Institutes of Health


C.Everett Koop, 13th U.S. Surgeon General