Updated on April 24
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy was dismissed from his post Friday evening at the request of President Donald Trump.
The HHS said in a statement to media that Trump asked Murthy to step down "after assisting in a smooth transition into the new Trump Administration." Murthy was confirmed the 19th surgeon general in 2014. He will continue to serve on the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the agency said.
Murthy said on Facebook that he was humbled and honored to serve, and it had been the "privilege of a lifetime."
Murthy will be replaced on an interim basis by Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams, the current Deputy Surgeon General. Trent-Adams, a nurse who has served on the commissioned corps for more than 24 years, will be the first surgeon general who is not a doctor.
Trent-Adams' photo and name were already on the official surgeon general Twitter account Friday night, and Murthy's biography had been removed from the current officials section of the solicitor general's website.
Murthy was a vocal advocate of substance abuse treatment during his tenure and called the opioid epidemic one of the highest priorities of the Obama administration. He urged policymakers, healthcare providers and the public to treat opioid abuse the same as chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
Murthy claimed that government action or medical intervention alone will not solve the opioid epidemic. “We have to help people understand that addiction is not a character flaw. It's not a bad choice," he said. "It's a chronic illness of the brain, one that requires the same compassion, skill and urgency in treatment that diabetes or heart disease or cancer require."
The then-surgeon general also stressed the important role healthcare providers should play in promoting the value of addressing social determinants of health as a community good.
Murthy, a member of the Surgeon General's Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health since 2011, was the co-founder and president of Doctors for America, a national physician organization that advocates for affordable, high quality healthcare.
Prior to becoming surgeon general, Murthy worked as an attending physician and instructor at Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School. In 1995, Murthy co-founded Visions Worldwide, an organization focused on HIV/AIDS education in India and the U.S.
A graduate of Harvard University, Murthy received an MBA from the Yale School of Management and his medical degree from the Yale School of Medicine.
Trent-Adams received a bachelor's degree from Hampton University, as well as a master's in nursing and health policy and doctorate of philosophy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.