HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius commended the U.S. Senate for its voice-vote confirmation of Regina Benjamin as the next U.S. surgeon general and said Benjamin will be “an integral part” of the nation's H1N1 flu response effort.
The American Public Health Association also praised Benjamin's confirmation and said the group looks forward to working with her in raising awareness that public health and prevention provide a solid foundation for a healthier nation.
“With a wealth of experiences as a family physician and clinic director, as well as a stated commitment to fighting the preventable diseases that claim too many lives each year, Dr. Benjamin brings a unique perspective to the position,” Georges Benjamin, executive director of the APHA, said in a statement.
Regina Benjamin, who turned 53 on Monday, is a former recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant and was both the first physician under 40 and the first African-American woman to be elected to the American Medical Association's board of trustees, a position she attained in 1995. She is the founder and CEO of the Bayou La Batre (Ala.) Health Clinic. A graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans, Benjamin earned her medical degree at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and her master's degree in business administration from Tulane University, New Orleans.