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The Nation's Doctor: Dr. Vivek Murthy Is Confirmed as Surgeon General

Here's a quick rundown of what you need to know about our next Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy.

The Surgeon General is America's doctor, responsible for providing Americans with the best scientific information on how to improve our collective well-being. Now, Dr. Vivek Murthy will be the next physician to don the lab coat of the Surgeon General after the Senate confirmed his nomination today. 

"I applaud the Senate for confirming Vivek Murthy to be our country’s next Surgeon General," the President said following the confirmation. "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. 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."

Here's a quick rundown of what you need to know about our next Surgeon General:

What does the Surgeon General do? 

The Surgeon General's chief responsibility is to protect, promote, and advance our nation's public health. He or she provides Americans with the best scientific information available on how to improve our health and reduce the risk of illness and injury.

On top of overseeing 6,700 members of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the Surgeon General is also the Chair of the National Prevention Council, a group of 20 federal departments and agencies that is committed to prevention and wellness for individuals, families, and communities. 

How is the Surgeon General chosen? 

The President nominates the Surgeon General, who must then be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The Surgeon General holds the office for a four-year term. 

What can you tell me about Dr. Vivek Murthy? 

Dr. Murthy is an experienced and passionate doctor who has dedicated most of his medical career to improving public health both here in America and across the world. He is the co-founder and president of Doctors of America, a nonprofit of thousands of physicians and medical students working together to improve the health of our nation by ensuring everyone has access to affordable, high-quality health care. 

He also co-founded VISIONS Worldwide in 1995, a nonprofit focused on HIV/AIDS education in India and the United States. 

He is still a practicing physician, serving as Hospitalist Attending Physician and Instructor in Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School. He will be the first Indian-American to serve as Surgeon General. 

What does he want to do as Surgeon General? 

Dr. Murthy is committed to tackling public health issues that pose challenges to many American communities, including obesity, mental health, smoking, and health care delivery. 

Who is he replacing? 

The first Surgeon General to serve under President Obama, Dr. Regina Benjamin, finished her term in 2013. As Dr. Murthy awaited confirmation, the position has been held by Rear Admiral Boris D. Lushniak as Acting Surgeon General. Dr. Murthy will succeed him.