- If confirmed, the Indian American will continue to serve as the 21st Surgeon General of the United States.
President Joe Biden has nominated Dr. Vivek Murthy to serve as the representative of the United States on the executive board of the World Health Organization alongside his continued duties as the 21st Surgeon General of the United States, the White House announced on Oct. 4.
The Indian American was confirmed on March 23 by the U.S. Senate by 57 to 43 votes, to reprise the role he held during President Obama’s second term. The New York Times reported at the time that the 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 a half after being nominated.
“As the nation’s doctor, the surgeon general’s mission is to help lay the foundation for a healthier country, relying on the best scientific information available to provide clear, consistent, and equitable guidance and resources for the public,” the White House said. As surgeon general, the White House said “Murthy is focused on drawing attention to and working across government to address a number of 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.”
As the Vice Admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, he “commands a uniformed service of over 6,000 dedicated public health officers, serving the most underserved and vulnerable populations.”
Before he was nominated as surgeon general in December 2020, 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.
A co-founder and president of Doctors for America, he 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.
The Miami-raised 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. A renowned physician, research scientist, entrepreneur, and author, he lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Dr. Alice Chen, and their two children.