- The Washington Times - Monday, July 13, 2009


President Obama on Monday will name Alabama family physician Dr. Regina Benjamin as his choice to be U.S. surgeon general, the nation’s top public health post.

A White House aide confirmed that Dr. Benjamin, known for work she did after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, was the president’s pick and would be introduced during an 11:40 a.m. event in the Rose Garden.

Ms. Benjamin is a rural family physician whose practice is mainly on the Gulf Coast.

She is the founder and CEO of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in Bayou La Batre, Ala. In 1995, she became the first black woman to be elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees.

She has served as Associate Dean for Rural Health at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. She also was president of the state medical association, the first black woman to hold that post.

Dr. Benjamin, who also has an MBA, has been recognized with multiple awards, including the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights in 1998 and Time Magazine’s “Nation’s 50 Future Leaders Age 40 and Under.”

The surgeon general’s post a high-profile appointment that has been left unfilled for months, even as U.S. public health officials gear up to battle an expected resurgence of swine flu this fall. Mr. Obama initially considered CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta for the post.

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