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The Basics of Awards Write-ups

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1 The Basics of Awards Write-ups
USPHS Honor Awards The Basics of Awards Write-ups

2 Objective To provide officers tools an understanding of importance of PHS Honor Awards To provide officers tools on writing awards

3 Agenda Overview of PHS Awards Awards Approval Processes
Basics of Writing Awards Awards and Career Planning

4 Relevant Documents PHS Commissioned Corps Awards, CCPM Pamphlet No April 1998 Commissioned Corps Instruction CC There are other relevant documents on the CCMIS website, but these are the most generally applicable Sample Awards

5 Agency Nomination Guidance
CDC Guidance on Writing Nominations FDA Awards Nomination Process NIH Awards Nomination Process

6 Types of Awards Honor Awards Service Awards Campaign Medals
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

7 Honor Awards Individual Honor Awards Unit 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

8 Importance 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

9 Individual Awards Requirements General requirements
PHS 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

10 Awards Criteria CIT AM CM Single achievement
Short time 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

11 Awards Criteria OSM MSM DSM 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

12 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 ( font)

13 A Good Narrative Citation Background Body Conclusion
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

14 Writing Style Concise, clear Time Anchors Avoid Quantify
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

15 Accomplishments 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

17 Common Problems Accomplishments too vague Impacts not well described
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)

18 Effort 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

19 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

20 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 (not ) 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

21 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

22 Summary 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

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