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Senate Confirms Dr. Vivek Murthy as 21st U.S. Surgeon General by 57 to 43 Votes

Senate Confirms Dr. Vivek Murthy as 21st U.S. Surgeon General by 57 to 43 Votes

  • The 43-year-old Indian American reprises the role he held during President Obama’s second term.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Dr. Vivek Murthy to reprise the role he held during President Obama’s second term. Murthy, 43, was confirmed today, March 23, by 57 to 43 votes. The New York Times reports that today’s vote was “a much smoother ride” for the Indian American, than his first confirmation, in 2014, “when Republicans cast Dr. Murthy as a politically connected supporter of President Barack Obama’s who would use his position to push for stricter gun control.” At the time, Murthy was confirmed 51 to 43 votes, more than a year and half after being nominated.

The surgeon general serves a four-year term and is the top government official in public health issues. Also known as the “nation’s doctor,” the surgeon general typically serves as a prominent spokesperson on public health issues but has a limited role in policymaking, Biden has previously said that Murthy will have an expanded role in his administration. 

Biden announced Murthy’s nomination in December 2020. Prior to the nomination, Murthy was one of the co-chairs of the COVID-19 advisory board of the Biden-Harris transition team. Since then, he has been a close associate of Biden on coronavirus issues.

Co-founder and president of Doctors for America, Dr. Murthy was a hospitalist attending physician and instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School, a position he has held since 2006.

In 2011, he was appointed to serve as a Member of the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health. Murthy has been the co-founder and chairman of the Board of TrialNetworks, formerly known as Epernicus, since 2007. He also co-founded VISIONS Worldwide in 1995, a non-profit organization focused on HIV/AIDS education in India and the United States, where he served as president from 1995 to 2000 and Chairman of the Board from 2000 to 2003.

He was a Vice Admiral in the U.S .Public Health Service’s commissioned corps and is trained in internal medicine.

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Murthy attended Harvard University and graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts in biochemical sciences. He earned an MD degree from Yale School of Medicine and an MBA from Yale School of Management.  

Since leaving the government, he has written and spoken out about loneliness. Recently, he launched a book called “Together” (2020) which offers poignant lessons about relationships and a people-centered society and the healing powers of human connections.

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