Surgeon General Richard Carmona, 57, has stepped down and the job will be filled on an interim basis by Deputy Surgeon General Kenneth Moritsugu, 61, until the White House names a successor. Carmona's four-year term expired July 29. An HHS spokeswoman said he plans to return to civilian life. Prior to becoming surgeon general, Carmona was chairman of a regional emergency medical system in southern Arizona, a professor of surgery at University of Arizona and a deputy sheriff. Among other activities, the surgeon general oversees the 6,000-member U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which in 2005 saw its largest deployment ever after hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf Coast. During Carmona's term, the nation's focus on security and bioterrorism often overshadowed concerns about chronic disease, said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. -- by Jessica Zigmond
Surgeon general steps down after security-focused term
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