Indian-origin doc to be Surgeon General

Vivek Hallegere Murthy
Vivek Hallegere Murthy

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama has nominated a prominent 36-year-old Indian-origin doctor who heads a group that promotes his signature healthcare law to be the next Surgeon General.

Vivek Hallegere Murthy’s name has now been sent in Obama’s formal notification to the US Senate, and if confirmed, the doctor will be the youngest and the first-ever Indian-American in American history to assume the coveted medical post.

Obama had announced his intention to nominate Boston-based Murthy last week itself.

“Vivek Hallegere Murthy, of Massachusetts, to be Medical Director in the Regular Corps of the Public Health Service, subject to qualifications therefore as provided by law and regulations, and to be Surgeon General of the Public Health Service for a term of four years, vice, Regina M Benjamin, resigned,” the White House communication on nomination sent to the Senate, said.

Murthy will replace Regina Benjamin, who was appointed by Obama in 2009 and resigned in July.

Co-Founder and President of Doctors for America, Murthy is a Hospitalist Attending Physician and Instructor in Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School.

Doctors for America is a group of 15,000 physicians and medical students that has rallied behind ‘Obamacare’.

In 2011, Murthy was appointed as a member of the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health. He has been the co-founder and chairman of the board of TrialNetworks, formerly known as Epernicus, since 2007.

Murthy also co-founded Visions Worldwide in 1995, a non-profit organization focused on HIV/AIDS education in India and the US, where he served as president from 1995 to 2000 and chairman of the board from 2000 to 2003.

Congressman Joe Crowley, Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus and Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, described Obama’s nomination as “a historic moment” for Indian-Americans across the country.

“Indian-Americans have made many important contributions to American society, including in the medical field, and it is great to see another well-qualified leader rise in government,” Crowley said in a statement.

The surgeon general serves a four-year term and is the administration’s top official on public health issues. -PTI

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