Distinguished Service Medal
This is the highest PHS Commissioned Corps award. Criteria includes outstanding contributions to the mission of the PHS. Such achievement may range from the management of a major health program, to an initiative resulting in a major impact on the heath of the Nation. Can also be conferred for a one-time heroic act resulting in great savings to life, health, or property.
Meritorious Service Medal
The MSM is presented in recognition of meritorious service of a single, particularly important achievement, a career notable for accomplishments in technical or professional fields, or unusually high-quality and initiative in leadership. The level of accomplishment meriting this award may include: a highly significant achievement in research program direction or program administration; a series of significant contributions; a continuing period of meritorious service; or exhibition of great courage in hazardous work in an emergency.
The CM is presented for a level of proficiency and dedication distinctly greater than that expected of the average officer. The CM recognizes: sustained high-quality work achievement in scientific, administrative, or other professional fields; application of unique skill or creative imagination to the approach or solution of problems; or noteworthy technical and professional contributions that are significant to a limited area.