Dr. Vivek Murthy will serve as the US Surgeon General under Biden-Harris administration, a role Murthy held under the Obama administration, President-Elect Jose Biden said here on Monday. As he’s set to return to the same position he held from 2014 to 2017, Murthy is expected to have an expanded portfolio, as the President-elect’s team crafts their plans to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
Murthy has been a key coronavirus adviser to Biden, regularly briefing him on the pandemic during his campaign and the transition. He was part of Biden’s public health advisory committee as the pandemic first took hold in the US and has been serving as a co-chair of the President-elect’s Covid-19 advisory board during the transition. If confirmed by the Senate, Murthy would play a key role in the administration’s response to a pandemic that has killed more than 282,000 Americans.
Biden said in a statement that he will nominate Xavier Becerra to lead the sprawling Health and Human Services Department. Becerra is California’s attorney general and has led prominent legal fights against President Trump’s efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Becerra would be the first Latino to lead HHS, the Biden transition team said in a statement.
Biden said he would nominate Dr. Rochelle Walensky as the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Walensky is chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and a Harvard Medical School professor. Association raised alarms about his support for an assault weapons ban.
The appointments help round out Biden’s team charged with addressing the pressing COVID-19 crisis. Last week, Biden announced that Dr. Anthony Fauci would continue his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases while also serving as his chief medical adviser on COVID-19.
Dr. Murthy’s commitment to medicine and health began early in life. The son of immigrants from India, he discovered the art of healing watching his parents – Hallegere and Myetriae Murthy – treat patients like family in his father’s medical clinic in Miami, Florida.
Murthy faced pushback when Obama nominated him for the job after the National Rifle Murthy, 43, who served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States during Obama Administration, said Americans need a leader who works with the people for the progress of the country. As surgeon general under Obama, Murthy helped lead the national response to the Ebola and Zika viruses and the opioid crisis, among other health challenges.
Indian American Doctors had lobbied earnestly to have Dr. Murthy confirmed as the US Surgeon General under Obama administration. “The feeling of de ja vu was pervasive, of a triumph over injustice with a hard fought battle by the Indian community during his confirmation, with AAPI playing a major role that secured the prize of the highest position occupied by an Indian American, and that too by one from our second generation,” said Dr. Jahagirdar, who had led a delegation of AAPI leaders to be at the historic oath taking ceremony of Dr. Vivek Murthy as the US Surgeon General at Fort Myer in Virginia across from Washington DC on Wednesday, April 22, 2015. “The oath ceremony, a proud moment for Indian Americans, was led by Joseph Biden, Vice President and currently President-Elect, held in a large hall like a school stadium, with flags in abundance rigged in from the ceiling and leaning in from the sidewalls,” recalls Dr. Suresh Reddy, the immediate past President of AAPI, who was present at the oath ceremony in the nation’s capital.
“I am proud of our community of Indian physicians for all the progress that we have made over the years, and I know that AAPI has been a critical force in making this process possible. The advice you shared and assistance you kindly offered were important pieces of this journey,” Dr. Vivek Murthy, stated in a letter to Dr. Jayesh B. Shah, a past president of AAPI, who along with AAPI’s Legislative Affairs Chair, Dr. Sampat Shivangi and several others had led several delegations to US Senators, lobbying for his confirmation.
“We welcome and congratulate Dr. Vivek Murthy on his appointment by President-Elect Joe Biden as the Surgeon General of the United States,” Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) said here today. While praising the appointment of Dr. Murthy to be America’s Doctor by the administration led by President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, Dr. Jonnalagadda described the choice of Dr. Murthy as “cementing the reputation physicians of Indian origin have across America.”