Trump nominates Indiana health commissioner to be U.S. surgeon general
The Trump administration nominated Dr. Jerome Adams, the health commissioner of Indiana since 2014, to serve as the 20th U.S. surgeon general. If confirmed by the Senate, he would serve a four-year term.
Adams, 42, replaces Dr. Vivek Murthy, who was appointed during the Obama administration and was unexpectedly dismissed in April before the end of his term.
Adams takes on the role, commonly referred to as the "nation's doctor," as the Republican Senate works to reform healthcare and the opioid epidemic continues to ravage the country.
As Indiana health commissioner, Adams garnered national attention for his handling of an HIV outbreak in Scott County, a rural community in the state. The outbreak was allegedly caused by people using used needles to inject the prescription painkiller Opana. Adams led the implementation of a needle exchange program to help curb the outbreak. He has since written about the lifesaving impacts of syringe exchanges to combat HIV and hepatitis C.
Adams has also publicly spoken out against opioid abuse and the use of prescription painkillers during his term. His brother has suffered from substance abuse.
Considering Adams' expertise and experience tackling the opioid epidemic, it's likely he will work to combat the issue as surgeon general if he is confirmed, said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of opioid policy research at Brandeis University.
"I'm hopeful we have a surgeon general who will give the opioid addiction epidemic the attention it needs and champion a forceful federal response to the problem," Kolodny said.
Kolodny and other experts were concerned that the abrupt dismissal of Murthy as surgeon general in April would stall handling of the opioid crisis. Murthy worked to combat the epidemic during his term by calling on doctors to reform prescription habits involving pain medications. Kolodny said the selection of Adams shows a positive step toward tackling the public health issue.
Adams was confirmed as Indiana health commissioner when Vice President Mike Pence was governor. He is a trained anesthesiologist and currently serves as assistant professor of clinical anesthesia at Indiana University School of Medicine.
If confirmed, Adams would be the second health official in the Trump administration with ties to Pence's home state of Indiana. CMS Administrator Seema Verma was previously a health consultant who helped Pence reform Indiana's Medicaid program.
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