Surgeon General Confirmed
Vivek Murthy was confirmed as surgeon general on Dec. 15 by a Senate vote of 51 to 43. Murthy was nominated more than a year and a half ago but his nomination stalled due to concerns about his experience and opposition from the gun lobby.
While politicians from both parties expressed concern over Murthy’s relatively young age, 37, and subsequent lack of experience, the most vocal opposition to his nomination came from the National Rifle Association (NRA). That opposition stems from a tweet Murthy sent in 2012 that criticized the relationship many politicians have with the NRA and said, in part, that “Guns are a health care issue.” Appearing before Congress earlier this year, Murthy said, if confirmed, he would not use the office of surgeon general as a platform for his views on gun control.
Murthy is a Harvard- and Yale-educated internist that had the support of former surgeons general as well as over 100 medical and public health organizations. In recent years, he has been practicing and teaching at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts and teaching at Harvard Medical School.
Murthy has signaled that tackling obesity will be one of his main objectives as surgeon general. In a statement released Monday, President Obama said that Murthy will “hit the ground running” and will “help us build on the progress we’ve made combatting Ebola, both in our country and at its source.”