U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy Tells Medical School Graduates to Respect the Value and Dignity of Every Life
- As the keynote speaker at the May 19 commencement of the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine, he reminded the future doctors of their responsibility to speak out and speak the truth about controversial issues that impact health.
This past week, graduates of the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine heard from U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy who is also the Vice-Admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service’s Commissioned Corps. As the keynote speaker at the May 19 commencement, Murthy encouraged the new doctors to respect the value and dignity of every life.
He reminded the graduates that they were beginning their careers during a time of profound healthcare challenges, including the pandemic, chronic illness, racial disparities in the delivery of care and gun violence. “Doctors have a responsibility to speak out and speak the truth about controversial issues that impact health,” he said.
Murthy was presented the Dean’s Distinguished Gold Medal by Dean E. Albert Reece for his public service and his extraordinary contributions to medicine and science.
As the Nation’s Doctor, Murthy aims to restore trust by relying on the best scientific information available, providing clear, consistent guidance and resources for the public, and ensuring that the country’s most vulnerable communities are reached. As Vice Admiral, he commands a uniformed service of 6,000 public health officers, serving the most underserved and vulnerable populations in over 800 locations domestically and abroad. He is regarded as one of the nation’s most trusted voices on public health matters.
His scientific research has focused on vaccine development and the participation of women and minorities in clinical studies. He has worked to shield the nation from Ebola and Zika and to respond to the Flint water crisis, major hurricanes, and frequent health care deficiencies in rural communities. He addresses many critical public health issues, including the growing proliferation of health misinformation, the ongoing youth mental health crisis, well-being and burnout in the health worker community, and social isolation and loneliness. Additionally, he serves as a key advisor to President Biden’s COVID-19 pandemic response operation. Previously, he served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States from Dec. 15, 2014 to April 21, 2017.
Before entering government service, Murthy co-founded several public service organizations including Visions, a global HIV/AIDS education program in India and the United States. He is co-founder of Swasthya Project, a rural health partnership that trained South Indian women to become community health workers and educators; TrialNetworks, a technology company dedicated to improving collaboration and efficiency in clinical trials; and Doctors for America, a nonprofit mobilizing physicians and medical students to improve access to affordable care.
Murthy earned his BA Degree from Harvard and his MD from the Yale School of Medicine. He also received an MBA Degree from the Yale School of Management. He completed his internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and later joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School.
He is a New York Times bestselling author for his 2020 publication titled, “Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World.” He resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Dr. Alice Chen, and their two children.