After being empty for more than a year, the position of surgeon general was filled late Monday when the Senate approved President Obama’s nominee, Dr. Vivek Murthy.
“As ‘America’s Doctor,’ Vivek will hit the ground running to make sure every American has the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe. He’ll bring his lifetime of experience promoting public health to bear on priorities ranging from stopping new diseases to helping our kids grow up healthy and strong,” Obama said in a statement.
Murthy, 37, is a hospitalist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. He founded a group called Doctors for Obama, which supported Obama in the 2008 and 2012 elections. It has since morphed into Doctors for America. The group supported the president’s healthcare reform bill.
Murthy founded and led VISIONS Worldwide in the 1990s. The now-defunct nonprofit focused on HIV/AIDS education in India and the United States.
Murthy is the first Indian-American to become surgeon general.
called him “a highly respected physician with impressive credentials.”
In recent months, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has increased public pressure on Congress to fill the surgeon general slot.
So what does the surgeon general do? The surgeon general promotes national public health and provides the public with reliable scientific information.
Specific duties include overseeing the 6,700-member Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and chairing the National Prevention Council. The council is a cross-department effort to develop a strategy to prevent ill health. It was established through the Affordable Care Act.