Physician Jeffrey Runge was confirmed by the Senate as the first assistant secretary for health affairs and chief medical officer at the Homeland Security Department.
Runge had been serving as the departments chief medical officer since 2005. His new position was authorized by statute last year.
In a written statement, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Runge has been key in coordinating federal efforts in the areas of biodefense and medical planning and preparedness. I have relied heavily on Jeffs experience and intellect for more than two years on the most pressing health and public safety issues facing the American public.
Trained in emergency medicine, Runge first joined the Bush administration in 2001 as the 12th administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The American College of Emergency Physicians applauded Runges appointment. Dr. Runge has served both his patients and his country throughout his career, first as an emergency physician, then as the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and now in the Department of Homeland Security, said Linda Lawrence, ACEPs president, in a written statement.
Emergency physicians do battle against suffering every day in emergency departments across the country, and Dr. Runge represents the best of our profession, Lawrence said. --by Jennifer Lubell