FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- U.S. Army Public Health Command Region-South held a change of command and redesignation ceremony July 21 at the Fort Sam Houston flagpole.

The USAPHC is formed from select missions of the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine and the U.S. Army Veterinary Command.

The integration is occurring in phases over a two-year period that began with the USACHPPM’s conversion to provisional status Oct. 1, 2009 and will end when USAPHC reaches full operational capabilities, targeted for Oct. 1 of this year.

The mission of the new organization is to promote health and prevent disease, injury and disability of Soldiers, retirees, family members and civilian employees and to ensure effective execution of full-spectrum veterinary services for the Army and Department of Defense.

“It’s been a busy summer, with all three CONUS regions changing commands and redesignating their colors to the Public Health Command colors,” said Brig. Gen. Timothy K. Adams, commander of USAPHC.

When fully operational, the USAPHC will include a headquarters and an Army Institute of Public Health at Aberdeen Proving Ground; five public health regional commands, three in the continental United States and two overseas and 14 public health districts.

“As we continue to finalize our transformation these ceremonies allow us to honor our Army traditions and capture a new history as a unified Public Health Command,” Adams said.

“Today we bid farewell to Lt. Col. Kelly Halverson, an outstanding officer and dedicated leader, and welcome Lt. Col. Deydre Teyhen, another officer of proven ability, who will carry forward the critical mission of the Public Health Command-South.”

Adams praised Halverson for his leadership during the transformation. “You have no doubt set the conditions that will enable continued success for the command.”

The general then addressed Teyhen, “Deydre when you accepted the guidon it placed Public Health Command-South in the hands of a competent and experienced leader. I have full confidence that you will take this outstanding team of public health professionals to new heights.”

Adams also thanked the members of the command saying, “You have all demonstrated exceptional poise and calm through massive change. It was no small undertaking, and it was only through a unified effort by many that we were able to get where we are today.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the work you all do every day for this Army, the Department of Defense and our great nation. It is my honor to be part of such a professional and dedicated team,” Adams concluded.

“When I arrived two years ago, the command was in the final stages of the BRAC move from Fort McPherson, Ga. to Fort Sam Houston, Texas,” Halverson said.

“From day one, I was impressed with the enthusiasm and the loyalty present in each individual of the command. Despite being in transition for over two years, the command maintained a steadfast mission focus.”

Halverson highlighted a few of the accomplishments of PHCR-South such as the expansion of a mosquito surveillance program; the establishment of a regional Industrial Hygiene manager to ensure standardization of occupational health data; and the increased number of water vulnerability assessments, hazardous waste assessments and sanitary surveys completed this year.

The field preventive medicine division developed a quick-reference guide for deploying preventive medicine in units. This guide is now the standard across the entire Public Health Command, Halverson said.

“Although the Public Health Command Region- South may have a new name the organization represents a long legacy of excellence,” Teyhen said.

Teyhen explained the Army Surgeon General’s vision to move from a sick-care paradigm to a paradigm of health.

“This means that we need to move from a health care system to a system of health,” she said.

“This mandate for change represents a very exciting opportunity for Public Health Command Region-South. There’s a lot of options we can do to help prevent the incidents and severity of disease and non-battle injuries,” Teyhen said.

“It is our charge to optimize health and promote wellness across the southern region. In order to achieve that goal, we need to ensure that we become the epicenter of health knowledge in our region by leveraging our resources, colleagues and partners in this new public health enterprise.”