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Babb Promoted to Rear Admiral

Kate Traynor

Pharmacist John T. Babb, M.P.A., was promoted May 1 to the rank of rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps.

Babb, who joined PHS in 1989, serves as director of the Commissioned Corps Readiness Force, part of the Health and Human Services Department's Office of Emergency Preparedness. Among his most recent accomplishments is the development of a program in which teams of private-sector pharmacists and nurses volunteer to assist federal vaccination and chemoprophylaxis efforts during public health emergencies (see related article). For this project, Babb works closely with the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners and the American Nursing Association, which sponsor the teams of volunteers.


In recent months, Babb directed the deployment of teams of PHS professionals that respond to natural and manmade disasters, such as Tropical Storm Allison, which struck the Houston area in 2001, and this year's Walker County, Georgia, crematorium incident. Babb also directed the deployment of medical teams to the scenes of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the anthrax mailings.

Babb served two years as chief of the Health Programs Branch at the Federal Bureau of Prisons; from 1993 to 2000 he was the director of pharmacy services for the bureau. In this latter role, Babb oversaw the 145 PHS and civil service pharmacists and pharmacy operations at nearly 100 federal prisons.

Babb received a bachelor's degree in pharmacy from the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy in 1968 and a master’s degree in public administration from Memphis State University in 1993. He has received numerous awards from PHS and travels often to describe and promote the work of the Commissioned Corps Readiness Force in responding to public health emergencies.