WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 15, 2014) — The U.S. Senate on Monday Confirmed Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy as the next Surgeon General of the United States.
The Senate vote of 51 to 43, follows President Barack Obama’s nomination of Murthy in November 2013. Obama said he applaud the Senate for confirming Murth.
“As ‘America’s Doctor,’ Vivek will hit the ground running to make sure every American has the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe,” Obama stated. “He’ll bring his lifetime of experience promoting public health to bear on priorities ranging from stopping new diseases to helping our kids grow up healthy and strong.”
Vivek will also build on the progress we’ve made combatting Ebola, both in our country and at its source, Obama added.
“Combined with the crucial support for fighting Ebola included in the bill to fund our government next year, Vivek’s confirmation makes us better positioned to save lives around the world and protect the American people here at home.”
Since 2009, Dr. Murthy served as the President and Co-Founder of Doctors for America. He is also a Hospitalist Attending Physician and an Instructor in Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School. He received a B.A. from Harvard, an M.B.A. from Yale School of Management, and an M.D. from Yale School of Medicine.
Mee Moua, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, said she is thrilled that the Senate finally fulfilled its duty and appointed Murthy.
“Not only is Dr. Murthy exceptionally qualified, he is another first for the Asian American community, serving as the first Indian American U.S. surgeon general,” Moua said. “We look forward to Dr. Murthy raising awareness about the many health concerns impacting Asian Americans.”
Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO of Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) said Murthy brings the deep experience and commitment to improving our nation’s health that we need as a Surgeon General.
“Dr. Murthy has committed two decades to putting the health of those who are most vulnerable in our communities first, and we have no doubt he will do the same as Surgeon General,” said Ko Chin. “He has already committed to tackling tobacco-related deaths and disease, obesity and improving access to mental health care – all issues deeply impacting Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities.”
APIAHF strongly supported Dr. Murthy’s nomination and looks forward to working with him as Surgeon General. APIAHF thanks the many Senate champions who spearheaded his confirmation, including Sen. Mazie Hirono. Sen. Hirono has been a champion for health access for the underserved and a key ally in making sure our nation’s highest offices reflect the diversity of our nation, ensuring that the needs of AAs and NHPIs are at the forefront.
Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden, said that at a time when we face numerous public health challenges both at home and abroad, America needs a surgeon general who can guide the nation’s health responses and instill public confidence.
“Dr. Vivek Murthy is an extremely qualified and experienced professional who will provide invaluable leadership to improve and protect the nation’s health,” Tanden said. “As the first Indian American to be appointed surgeon general, Dr. Murthy’s distinguished career and confirmation serve as a momentous recognition of the Indian American community’s contributions to the field of medicine.”
Rajan Zed, Chairperson of Indo-American Leadership Confederation in Nevada, said he feels honored by the confirmation and called it a smart choice.
“We believe that he will continue with his dedication to improve the health and well being of all Americans, making a positive impact,” Zed said.
In October 2014, several CAPAC Members led a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, urging them to expedite the confirmation of Dr. Vivek Murthy.
U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair, said the confirmation comes at a critical time for our nation as we work to address various public health concerns, including the Ebola epidemic abroad.
“Dr. Murthy is the first Indian American to hold this position, which is a testament to both his own distinguished career and the great strides made by the Asian American and Pacific Islander community,” Chu said. “His experience, talent, and compassion evinces the very characteristics needed in a Surgeon General.”
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono (HI), said Murthy is highly qualified and she was particularly impressed by his work at a company he founded where he identified inefficiencies in clinical drug trials and then developed solutions to help treatments get to market more quickly.
“These are the kinds of innovative ideas that will keep Americans healthier, longer,” Hirono said. “We need a Surgeon General who will roll up his sleeves, survey the evidence, and take action. I am confident Dr. Murthy is that Surgeon General.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (CA-17), CAPAC Chair Emeritus, said the confirmation is great news for the nation and for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. It gives voice to overcoming AAPI health disparities and barriers to health care, including a lack of available culturally competent and linguistically accessible health care.
Murthy’s wealth of knowledge on public health issues will ensure his success in his new role of safeguarding the health of our nation, he said.
“His qualifications were never in question — the only delay was because one faction of the Republican Party chose to play politics with America’s health,” Honda said. “Dr. Murthy’s confirmation strengthens the AAPI community’s voice and presence, and marks a positive step toward addressing the need for greater diversity in all levels of government.
U.S. Rep. Ami Bera (CA-07), CAPAC Health Care Task Force Co-Chair, said that as a practicing physician and instructor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Murthy was a champion of innovation in medicine, and a leader in the medical community.
“Dr. Murthy is an excellent choice for this role and his appointment is historic for the Indian American community,” Bera said. “As a doctor myself, I also know that the American people will benefit from having a trusted physician leader to help them navigate the complex medical issues we face today.”
U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13), CAPAC Health Care Task Force Co-Chair, said that an eminently qualified physician has won the support of our nation’s preeminent health and physicians groups and shown strong public health leadership at home and abroad.
“He will make history as our nation’s youngest and first Asian American Surgeon General,” Lee said.
U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (NY-14), Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans Co-Chair, said Murthy is a dedicated fighter for public health, and will work tirelessly to improve the health of all Americans.
“I was proud to stand with him during his confirmation process, and I look forward to working with him in his new role,” Crowley said. “The confirmation of the first surgeon general of Indian descent is a victory for the entire Indian-American community, whose young children will grow up knowing that anything is within their reach. It’s a victory for our medical community, with a dynamic and skilled physician leading our public health policies as our nation’s top doctor. And, this is a victory for the American people and ensuring better health for all.”
U.S. Rep. Doris O. Matsui (CA-06), said Murthy has worked to improve public health through education, research, and by providing care for two decaded.
“I am confident that his education and experience will enable him to provide strong leadership as the nation’s doctor,” Matsui said.
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (NY-06), said the vote was long overdue and never should have taken this long but is happy that it finally occurred.
“I now look forward to him getting to work to address the important health needs of Americans. I am also excited to share this historic moment with the Indian-American community. Less than a week after the Senate approved Richard Verma as the first American of Indian descent to serve as Ambassador to India, Dr. Murthy was confirmed as the first Indian-American to be Surgeon General. These outstanding, back-to-back accomplishments illustrate the continued growth and influence of Indian-American community, and highlights the exceptional contributions that Indian-Americans make to our nation. I am proud to congratulate Dr. Murthy, and cannot wait to work with him to improve the lives of Americans.”