The U.S. Senate has appointed Indian-American physician Dr. Vivek Murthy as U.S. Surgeon General. US Senate voted in favour of him by 51 votes to 43, after more than a year he was nominated by US President Barack Obama.
Dr.Murthy is the youngest person and first person of Indian-origin to hold this post. It should be noted that U.S. surgeon general does not set any government policy but is an advocate for the people’s health.
For this post, Murthy was endorsed by over 100 health organisations, including the American College of Physicians, the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. This post was vacant since 2013 and Boris Lushniak was the acting Surgeon General of US since then.
About Dr. Vivek Murthy:
Murthy was born on July 10, 1977 to a Kannada speaking family; his parents are originally from Karnataka, India. He was born in Huddersfield, England, but his family relocated to Miami, Florida when he was three years old. Murthy completed his early education in Miami, graduating as valedictorian from Miami Palmetto Senior High School in 1994. He then attended college at Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude in three years with a bachelors degree in Biochemical Sciences. Murthy received an MD from Yale School of Medicine and an MBA in Health Care Management from Yale School of Management in 2003, where he was a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine in 2006 from Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Dr. Vivek Murthy Education:
He had received a BA from Harvard University, an MBA from Yale School of Management, and an MD from Yale School of Medicine.
Dr. Vivek Murthy Career:
Before his appointment as US Surgeon General, Dr Murthy was physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a Hospitalist Attending Physician and Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
He co-founded VISIONS Worldwide in 1995, a non-profit organisation focused on HIV/AIDS education in India and the United States, where he served as president from 1995 to 2000 and Chairman of the Board from 2000 to 2003.
He is Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of TrialNetworks, formerly known as Epernicus, since 2007.
He is founder and president of Doctors for America, a group of 15,000 physicians and medical students supporting comprehensive health reform since 2009.
In 2011, President Barack Obama had appointed him on the U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Surgeon General of the United States
In November 2013, Murthy was nominated by President Obama for the post of United States Surgeon General. His nomination met some initial resistance in the Senate by both Democrats and Republicans. The most opposition came from the National Rifle Association regarding previous comments Dr. Murthy made citing gun violence as a threat to public health. However, Murthy said in his confirmation hearings he would not use the office of Surgeon General as a bully pulpit for gun control.
Murthy’s nomination received broad support from over 100 medical and public health organizations in the U.S., including the American College of Physicians, the American Public Health Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the American Diabetes Association. He also received the endorsements of two former Surgeons General, Dr. David Satcher and Dr. Regina Benjamin.
Murthy’s appointment as Surgeon General was approved on December 15, 2014, in a 51–43 vote. Following his confirmation, Murthy was automatically commissioned as a Vice Admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, of which the Surgeon General is the day to day head.