|19th Surgeon General of the United States|
December 18, 2014 – April 21, 2017
|Preceded by||Regina Benjamin|
|Succeeded by||Jerome Adams|
Vivek Hallegere Murthy
July 10, 1977
Huddersfield, United Kingdom
Alice Chen (m. 2015)
|Education||Harvard University (BS)|
Yale University (MD, MBA)
|Branch/service||USPHS Commissioned Corps|
|Years of service||2014–2017|
Vivek Hallegere Murthy (born July 10, 1977) is an American physician and was a vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps who served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States. Murthy, who founded the nonprofit Doctors for America, succeeded Boris Lushniak, who had been Acting Surgeon General since 2013. Murthy was the first Surgeon General of Indian descent and, while serving in office, was the youngest active duty flag officer in federal uniformed service.
Early life and education
Murthy was born in July 10, 1977, in Huddersfield, England, to immigrants from Karnataka, India. When he was three years old, the family relocated to Miami, Florida, where Murthy was raised and completed his early education, 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 1997 with a bachelor's degree in Biochemical Sciences. In 2003, Murthy earned an MD from Yale School of Medicine and an MBA in Health Care Management from Yale School of Management, where he was a recipient of The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine in 2006 at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
While a Harvard freshman in 1995, Murthy co-founded VISIONS Worldwide, which he led for eight years. The nonprofit organization focused on HIV/AIDS education in the U.S. and India. In 1997, he co-founded Swasthya Community Health Partnership to train women as community health workers in rural India.
Murthy completed his Internal Medicine residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts where he also led and managed medical care teams as a faculty member.
He is also a founder and president of Doctors for America, a group of over 15,000 physicians and medical students supporting high quality affordable care for all. As part of this work, he developed and led national and local initiatives around coverage and prevention.
In 2011, Murthy was appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama to serve 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. The group advises the National Prevention Council on developing strategies and partnerships to advance the nation's health through prevention.
Murthy is also the co-founder and chairman of TrialNetworks, a cloud-based Clinical Trial Optimization System for pharmaceutical and biotechnology trials that improves the quality and efficiency of clinical trials to bring new drugs to market faster and more safely. He founded the company as Epernicus in 2008 to originally be a collaborative networking web platform for scientists to boost research productivity.
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 resistance in the Senate by some Democrats, Republicans and the National Rifle Association regarding previous comments Murthy made declaring gun violence as a threat to public health.
Murthy's nomination received broad support from over 100 medical and public health organizations in the U.S., including the American Heart Association, American College of Physicians, the American Public Health Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association. His nomination was also endorsed by numerous op-eds and editorial boards including the New England Journal of Medicine and The New York Times. He received the endorsements of two former Surgeons General: David Satcher and Regina Benjamin. Another former Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, opposed the appointment based on Murthy's age.
On December 15, 2014, Murthy's appointment as Surgeon General was approved in a 51–43 Senate vote.
As America’s Doctor, Murthy made it a point to travel extensively - from remote fishing villages in Alaska to American Indian reservations in Oklahoma, to schools, workplaces, homes of worship and community centers across the nation - to hear firsthand about people’s experiences, struggles, and hopes.
During his tenure, Murthy created initiatives to tackle our country’s most urgent public health issues. In releasing the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, Murthy worked with the nation's leading researchers to compile the latest scientific data on addiction and issued a call to action to the nation to recognize addiction as a chronic illness, not a moral failing. He worked with Republican and Democratic elected officials and hundreds of partner organizations to bring attention to this critical issue and to expand access to prevention and treatment. He also released a public service announcement with the cast of Mom that doubled the number of people who called into a substance use hotline to ask for help.
Additionally, he launched the TurnTheTide campaign and sent a personal letter to millions of health care professionals urging them to join a movement to tackle the opioid epidemic. The unprecedented letter sparked opioid-related initiatives in healthcare settings across the country. Responding to a growing chorus of questions from parents, teachers, and lawmakers, he also released the first Surgeon General’s Report on E-cigarettes Use Among Youth highlighting the health risks of e-cigarette use for youth.
From the beginning of his tenure, Murthy spoke about the importance of creating a culture of prevention in America, one that is grounded in physical activity, nutrition, and emotional well-being. As part of this effort, he issued Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities. For the one-year anniversary of the Call to Action, he led a two-week public- private partnership with Fitbit called the Step it Up Challenge that engaged over 600,000 people to increase their physical activity with an industry record-setting 60 billion steps. He also partnered with Elmo and Top Chef to inform the country about vaccines and healthy eating, respectively.
In 2017, Murthy focused his attention on chronic stress and emotional well-being as prevalent problems that have profound implications for health, productivity, and happiness. Partnering with the Veterans Health Administration, he led a convening that brought together leading thinkers, researchers, and practitioners to identify evidence-based approaches to cultivate emotional well-being thereby enhancing health, productivity, education and satisfaction.
In addition to his role as America’s Doctor, as the Vice Admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Murthy commanded a uniformed service of 6,600 public health officers, serving the most under served and vulnerable populations in over 800 locations domestically and abroad. He worked with thousands of Commissioned Corps officers to protect the nation from Ebola and Zika and to respond to the Flint water crisis, major hurricanes, and frequent health care shortages in rural communities. He met with Corps officers across the country and worked to strengthen the ability of the Commissioned Corps to carry out its central mission to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of the nation.
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- "Surgeon General Vivek Murthy Calls for Veg Twist on Southern Comfort Dishes on 'Top Chef'". January 5, 2017.
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