July 13th, 2009
10:44 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama taps surgeon general

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama has tapped Dr. Regina Benjamin to serve as surgeon general, according to a White House official. The president is expected to announce his decision Monday morning.

The rural family physician has long provided medical care on the Gulf Coast. In 1990, she founded Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in the fishing village of Bayou La Batre, Alabama.

The clinic was heavily damaged by Hurricanes Georges, in 1998, and Katrina, in 2005, but Benjamin rebuilt it each time and continued to offer medical care to the village's 2,500 residents.

Many of her family practice patients are uninsured, according to the MacArthur Foundation, which last year awarded her one of its $500,000 "genius" grants.

Her patient population includes immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, who make up a third of Bayou La Batre's population.

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

Benjamin completed her residency in family practice at the Medical Center of Central Georgia (1987) and has served as CEO of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic since its founding in 1990.

She earned a masters in business administration in 1991 from Tulane University.

Benjamin also served as the associate dean for rural health at the University of South Alabama's College of Medicine and as president of the State of Alabama Medical Association (2002-2003).

She is the first woman and first African-American president and the first person under the age of 40 to sit on the board of trustees of the American Medical Association (from 1995 through 1998).

The position of surgeon general, whose effectiveness is largely in its use as a bully pulpit, requires Senate confirmation.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Since Sanjay Gupta didn't take the job, Dr. Benjamin should work out just fine. M.B.A. from Morehouse. Can't be bad.

    July 13, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  2. RR

    Let me guess – she's going to want more power for her federal office. Obama is the most power-mad president since FDR.

    July 13, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  3. Economist

    Why "tapped"? Does that word make the author sound more clever than "chose" or "selected"? Does it bring any more meaning to the sentence? It's pretentious, and it implies that the person "tapped" is somehow a resource ripe for the picking... or a keg.

    July 13, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  4. Debbie

    Really RR? Have you not noticed all of the illegal activity and abuse of power evidence from the Bush administration? Cheney's illegal contamination is still spewing all over the Constitution.

    July 13, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. GI Joe

    Oh goodie – another opportunity to chalk up a bunch of NOs from the Republicans.

    July 13, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. JB - NYC

    I am sure its another "winner"

    what is that like 5 now?

    July 13, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  7. ANGIE

    Debbie July 13th, 2009 11:14 am ET
    don't waste you time on people like rr. you know they have a short attention span they elected bush to 2 terms as president. and he was the worse president ever.

    July 13, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. John Locke

    RR- You can correct me if I am wrong but wasn't it FDR who guided us out of the Great Depression. Was it not for his New Deal polices (and sad to say this WWII) that help us pull ourselves out of a critical time in this countries short history.It also created The Social Security Act, in which everyone will benifit from at some point in their lives. So before you start to spill about how power hungry you have to ask yourself one question, If not for our last President, who was power hungry and got whatever he wanted passed, would we be in such a bad ecomomy? Would it take such steps to fix this mess that yes it may seem terrible right now but if and when his plans succeed you will be praising President Brack Obama. Or would you just find something else to complain about? Get your facts straight before you make such allegations

    July 13, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. Stephanie

    Do you people actually read the article or do you just look at the picture? Dr Benjamin has extraordinary talents and accomplishments which this blog does not do complete justice to.

    All you have to do is a google search but if your primary goal is to get your idocy in print then there wouldn't be time for actually getting educated before respponding.

    July 13, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. Mike b

    An excellent choice.

    July 13, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  11. Mississippi Mike

    Maybe she'll finally take the job. After all, rebuilding crappy clinics can't be anyone's dream job.

    Has anyone noticed that Blacks are over-represented in Obama's appointments? Seems kind of racist if you ask me.

    July 13, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. Sniffit

    @ John Locke, who asked "You can correct me if I am wrong but wasn't it FDR who guided us out of the Great Depression."

    Careful bro...these wingnuts claim that it wasn't FDR's economic and domestic policies that helped pull us out of the GD, but rather the war. They thank Hitler for ending the GD. It's precisely this mindset that has GOPer POTUSes (POTII?) relying on a war economy, even when they have to start one, every time they get into office.

    July 13, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. Lucifer is a hard-core RepubliCON!

    RR is just another malcontent in the neocon party who is benefiting from having a hard-working, intelligent, articulate president–Obama. RR is sad because President Obama is not received overseas with chants to death to America and the burning effigies like his predecessor did! People actually line up to receive the leader of America with American flags, applause and cheers, unlike the past eight years when they line up to curse Bush and give him the bird while his motorcade drove by. Actually, in some countries they would close down roads to prevent people from attempting to hurt his sorry arse!

    July 13, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. w.l. jones

    Some people see through rock, while others can only walk on them. What a Democratic team we have in Washinton in the year of our Lord.

    July 13, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. Scott, Tucson

    Well she will have the job for the next 3 1/2 years and than she will be out of a job along with the Obama's.

    July 13, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  16. Fair is Fair

    @ John Locke –

    FDR was an absolutely horribe president. His economic actions caused the great depression to last longer than it should have.

    You are right – WWII got us out of the great depression. And it was FDR who turned a bind eye to the obvious which led to Pearl Harbor. FDR knew the only way out of the depression was WWII, and he allowed it to happen.

    FDR also, for all intents and purposes, GAVE the a-bomb to the Russians. The amount of soviet spying during the Manhattan project was no secret – and again, he allowed it. Quoting FDR on his opinion of Stalin – "I like Joe".

    Social security??? A ponzi scheme in every sense of the word. I'll believe it will be there when someone can tell me how they're going to come up with the TRILLIONS in unfunded liability. I for one am not holding my breath.

    July 13, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  17. Fair is Fair

    Sniffit said:

    "Careful bro…these wingnuts claim that it wasn't FDR's economic and domestic policies that helped pull us out of the GD, but rather the war."

    Sniffit – for someone who always talks about revisionist history, you do it a lot.

    July 13, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Los

    Fair is Fair, do you really expect to be taken seriously by mixing discredited Fox News talking points with some fringe stuff you picked up on freerepublic.com?

    July 13, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. Frank

    Wow, and why is this person qualified to be surgeoun general? Of course when a community organizer becomes President of the United States, sure then he might think this individual has all the necessary qualifications to become surgeon general!!!! Someone should brief President Obama on what skills and knowledge this job requires since it is not clear why he is tapping her for the job!!!! This country is getting itself deeper and deeper into trouble and we'll wake up 3 years from now and regret ever putting this administration to work!!!

    July 13, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. it's our turn

    Way to go Mr Pres. You folks just have to put up with him because we put up with those clowns for years. Ha Ha Ha.............

    July 13, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |