On Friday, Obama era Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, 39, was replaced by the Trump administration by Deputy Surgeon General Rear Adm. Sylvia Trent-Adams, at least until another suitable candidate can be found and nominated. A statement from the Department of Health and Human Services said that Vivek Murthy, who was an appointment by President Obama, was asked to resign. The statement continued, saying that Murthy was “relieved of his duties.”
The Washington Post reported that Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s replacement, Trent-Adams, has served for 24 years as an employee of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, was also the Public Health Service’s “former chief nurse officer.” Murthy was replaced on the evening before Saturday’s March for Science. According to CBS News, Trent-Adams will serve as the acting Surgeon General “until the Senate confirms a replacement.”
Outgoing Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, a native of Britain, was an advocate against gun violence, declaring it to be “a public-health issue.” His views on gun violence led to his nomination in the Senate as Surgeon General to be delayed for over a year.
In 2014, “the National Rifle Association tried to block his confirmation” but were unsuccessful. According to NBC News, the outgoing surgeon general “was the first Indian-American appointed to the nation’s top health post.”
Despite the fact that there were many people who disagreed with his views on gun violence, he never compromised his views and said in an interview with the Washington Post that he stood by his comments that gun violence is a public health issue “because they’re a fact.”
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s biggest accomplishment could be “a landmark report on drug and alcohol addiction,” which was published in November. The report concluded that drug and alcohol addiction represented major public health crises on the scale of AIDS and smoking.
Murthy’s office sought to combat the growing opioid crisis through, in part, sending out millions of letters to medical professionals requesting their aid in battling the crisis and ending it. Murthy strove to get the American puublic “to view addiction as a chronic illness and not a character flaw.”
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy was also a powerful advocate of having children vaccinated. He reached out to parents and expressed the importance of getting their children vaccinated to prevent them from getting diseases like measles.
The Trump administration now has a new Surgeon General, replacing Vivek Murthy, who was appointed by former President Obama. Murthy’s replacement, Trent-Adams, served as the U.S. Public Health Service’s chief nurse officer from 2013 to 2016. In her role there, Trent-Adams acted as an advisor in the recruitment of nurses in the corps, and in their “assignment, deployment, retention, and career development.” She also was employed “in the HIV/AIDS Bureau at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA),” in a senior position there. The official web page of the U.S. Surgeon General has already been updated, and shows a photo of Trent-Adams in her new role as the Trump administration’s surgeon general.
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy U.S. Surgeon General