President Obama has nominated a new Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy, who co-founded and is president of Doctors for America. The group of 16,000 physicians and medical students advocate for the Affordable Care Act and other legislation aimed at improving health. It was originally known as Doctors for Obama when it was founded in 2008.
The White House announced the nomination of Murthy on November 14. He has been an attending physician and instructor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School since 2006. Murthy would succeed the acting Surgeon General, Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak, who took over in July after Dr. Regina Benjamin completed her four-year term.
The Surgeon General, who must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, is the chief public health officer in the United States, and head of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, a group of 6,500 health professionals who are on 24-hour call in case of public health emergencies. The position can also serve as a bully pulpit for Surgeon Generals who wish to promote more healthy work and lifestyle habits among Americans, including bringing attention to the lack of oral health care in America, which has been done by a past Surgeon General.
Murthy also helped to found two technology companies related to medicine: Trial Networks, a cloud-based platform for pharmaceutical and biotechnology trials; and Epernicus, a networking site for research scientists, Reuters reports. In 2011, he was appointed to the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health, an advisory prevention group created under the ACA.
Murthy received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, an MBA from Yale School of Management and his medical degree from Yale School of Medicine.