Friday, October 30, 2009

HHS Secretary Sebelius Announces Senate Confirmation of Dr. Regina Benjamin as U.S. Surgeon General

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Thursday that the United States Senate unanimously confirmed Dr. Regina Benjamin as the nation’s Surgeon General.

"Dr. Benjamin will quickly become America's doctor as our next Surgeon General. Her deep knowledge and strong medical skills, her commitment to her patients, and her ability to inspire the people she interacts with every day will serve her well as Surgeon General," said Secretary Sebelius. "She will be an integral part of our H1N1 response effort, and America can expect to see her very soon communicating important information about how to stay healthy and safe this flu season. I commend the Senate for their unanimous vote, and I look forward to working with Dr. Benjamin in the days ahead."

A brief biography of Dr. Benjamin is below:

Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, Surgeon General, Department of Health and Human Services
Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA, is Founder and CEO of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. She is the Immediate Past-Chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States, and previously served as Associate Dean for Rural Health at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. In 2002, she became President of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, making her the first African American woman to be president of a State Medical Society in the United States. Dr. Benjamin holds a BS in Chemistry from Xavier University, New Orleans. She was in the 2nd class at Morehouse School of Medicine and received her MD degree from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, as well as an MBA from Tulane University. She completed her residency in family medicine at the Medical Center of Central Georgia. Dr. Benjamin received the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights in 1998, and was elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees in 1995, making her the first physician under age 40 and the first African-American woman to be elected. Dr. Benjamin was previously named by Time Magazine as one of the "Nation's 50 Future Leaders Age 40 and Under.” She was also featured in a New York Times article, "Angel in a White Coat", as "Person of the Week" on ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, and as "Woman of the Year" by CBS This Morning. She received the 2000 National Caring Award which was inspired by Mother Teresa, as well as the papal honor Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice from Pope Benedict XVI. She is also a recent recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award.

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