October 30th, 2009
10:13 AM ET
4 years ago

Senate confirms Benjamin as surgeon general

Regina Benjamin was confirmed by the Senate Friday.
Regina Benjamin was confirmed by the Senate Friday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Senate has formally confirmed Dr. Regina Benjamin to be the U.S. surgeon general, making her only the third African American to hold the position as the nation's top doctor.

The Senate nod came by a voice vote Thursday night, an expression of unanimous consent of both parties.

The 53-year-old family practice doctor had spent most of her career tending to the needs of poor patients in a Gulf Coast clinic she founded two decades ago in Alabama.

She was the first African-American woman board member of the American Medical Association, and she just served a term as chairwoman of the group's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs.

Benjamin received a bachelor's degree in 1979 from Xavier University of Louisiana, attended Morehouse School of Medicine from 1980 to 1982, and received a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1984.

She completed her residency in family practice at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in 1987.

President Barack Obama called Benjamin "a relentless promoter" of programs to fight preventable illness when he nominated her in July.


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soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Obama fan...not!

    Some highlights from the house healthcare bill:
    "Cultural and linguistic retraining for providers"
    translation....learn Spanish to deal with the illegals that aren't supposed to be covered.

    A whole section devoted to usurping the power of indian tribes, forcing them into the public option.

    Death panels are back......p 129

    I only browsed the bill for 20 mins and found these:

    PLEASE AMERICA..........READ THE BILL!

    October 30, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. Three3

    So, she's the third. This is news? How high does the number have to get before it no longer matters?

    October 30, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. Fair is Fair

    A president who smokes and an obese surgeon general. The 2 biggest causes of chronic and expensive to treat disease. Now doesn't that set a wonderful example???

    Yup. The federal government is officially ready to take over the healthcare of this country.

    October 30, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. Trufax

    Wow, only the THIRD? Of 18? This country has some serious racial issues to get over, we have to constantly stop apologizing for our culture and history as if we're the only ones in the world with something to learn.

    October 30, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. kimberly

    another qualified and smart pick. WOW, its so nice to have this president that cares about America FINALLY and puts in real leaders and real smart people in these jobs...I just LOVE this president, well done!

    October 30, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. MEMBER OF THE PARTY OF NO MARXISM

    Finally an appointee that is qualified and makes sense.

    October 30, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Another first by the Obama administration. Congratulations Dr. Benjamin.

    Obama 2012

    October 30, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    great choice , she will do a wonderful job :)

    October 30, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  9. Eric-31m

    Turns out our surgeon general has a weight problem. Do a google search and you'll see. Thanks for pointing out the concerns by many that this individual's weight puts into question whether she's qualifed for the job.

    October 30, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  10. jrzshor

    i am gald to see that her being a black female doctor working with the poor had nothing to do with her selection. Just like the hispanic female judge who is a new top dog judge.

    in america one's qualification are the only measure of one's ability. ask anyone in dc government, or congress!

    October 30, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. frankie

    God bless America

    October 30, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. ~~ July ~~ ( Working HARD to make TX Blue )

    Congrads Dr. Regina Benjamin !

    October 30, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. ~~ July ~~ ( Working HARD to make TX Blue )

    OH! ... don't forget Fox Noise will try to destory you .... for sure they will say you are OVER study .. you went to school to much ... jajaa

    October 30, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. Doug, New Jersey

    OK, she sends the lib message but Micheal Moore is the poster child for Democrat health.

    October 30, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  15. File under "Sarcasm"

    I hope that this signifies the end of the constant harping on physical fitness or will it continue as another "do as I say, not as I do" administration policy.

    October 30, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. Stefan

    She's not quite the healthy inspiration that Americans might need... But I'm sure that McDonalds is happy, since she looks like the Big Mac poster child. It appears that her color and gender were correct for the job, and that trumped the lack of healthy lifestyle. I can't believe Michelle went for this one, since she is obviously dedicated to being healthy.

    October 30, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  17. Gerald

    Cup cakes and soda for every one.

    October 30, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. Liberal4Obama

    It's a very good thing, after 8 years of incompetence and deception by the Bush Administration, to actually have competent and qualified people on the job, zero cronyism is very refreshing.

    October 30, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. Independent and Senior Lilarose in Oregon

    Only the "third" African American to hold this job?

    That isn't a bad record. How many Surgeon Generals have their been? What is the percentage of white and black among them?

    Do your homework, CNN.

    October 30, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. Ken from missouri

    How can we have a surgeon general that her past job was with burger king and that look's like she was their taste tester to maybe she can be the poster child for what fast food does to you.

    October 30, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. kyle from ohio

    About time, stop dragging your feet Congress and Do the job for the people.

    October 30, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  22. Pepou

    Excellent choice.

    October 30, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  23. Jackie in Dallas

    Congradulations, Dr. Benjamin!

    This is a wonderful doctor who has devoted her life and career to helping the poor and advocating programs to fight preventable illnesses. She is a light in the abysmal dark of how far the medical field has slid away from practicing medicine as an advocation instead of viewing it as a profit stream!

    October 30, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. Dan, TX

    It is good we have bipartisan support for this well-qualified pro-choice appointee. It is good for America to rely on science and not dogma for medical advice.

    I look forward to the day when all American children learn about and understand biology, including the understanding that evolution is scientific fact and believe in God is an act of faith.

    October 30, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  25. Ken in NC

    It is a shame that Republicans are holding up appointments by President Obama but they are doing it on purpose to delay the complete filling of his administration. Here at a time when we have the H1N1 virus running rampart through our nation those fools are being obstructionist for the sake of saying that while they are not the majority, they can still cause havoc in the operation of the government. I have never in my life seen a worse bunch of elected officials. THeir only purpose in government is to have things their way or to destroy the government we have in place or at least to see it fail so they can say "I told you so". Well to all memners of the Senate and House both Republicans and Democrats, the people of this country today have gotten a lot smarter thanks to all of your screw-ups so be on notice that you may need to hold on to all the money given to all of you by big business because you will need it to live on after we vote you out of office.

    October 30, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
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