Tag Archives: surgeon general

Watch surgeon general’s speech at Health Journalism 2016 #AHCJ16

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

United States Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., (@Surgeon_General) spoke to attendees of Health Journalism 2016 and discussed how his administration will address the overuse of opioids in the United States.

A follow-up blog post will feature Murthy answering journalists’ questions after his prepared talk.

Murthy to release first surgeon general report on substance abuse, addiction and health #AHCJ16

Judith Graham

About Judith Graham

Judith Graham (@judith_graham), is a freelance journalist based in Denver and former topic leader on aging for AHCJ. She haswritten for the New York Times, Kaiser Health News, the Washington Post, the Journal of the American Medical Association, STAT News, the Chicago Tribune, and other publications.

Photo/Deborah Crowe/AHCJVivek Murthy, M.D., spoke at Health Journalism 2016

Photo: Deborah Crowe/AHCJVivek Murthy, M.D., spoke at Health Journalism 2016.

Everywhere he travels, Vivek Murthy, M.D., surgeon general of the United States, hears a similar plea from families.

Do something about the drugs ruining our communities and our families. Help us fight the opioid epidemic.

On Saturday, at the awards luncheon attended by hundreds of AHCJ members at Health Journalism 2016, Murthy promised to respond by mobilizing the medical community and issuing the first surgeon general’s report on substance abuse, addiction and health later this year. Continue reading

One-time surgeon general pick faces SEC case

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

In a tale of alleged fraud and political access, Dan Christensen of the Broward Bulldog in South Florida (and no relation to this blog post’s author), writes about cardiologist Zachariah P. Zachariah who has been accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of “using nonpublic information to make more than a half-million dollars in illegal profits from stock trades in 2005.”

George W. Bush was reportedly interested in appointing Zachariah to be U.S. surgeon general, until White House counsel learned he was under investigation by the SEC.

Zachariah would have replaced Richard Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., who testified to Congress in 2007 that the Bush administration had let politics supersede science and forbid him to speak publicly about some issues, including stem cell research, and watered down reports, including one about the dangers of second-hand smoke.

Benjamin: Leaving patients ‘bittersweet’

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A., to be surgeon general, the Department of Health and Human Services announced.

Benjamin, a doctor who has been practicing in rural Alabama, made news after Hurricane Katrina by rebuilding her rural clinic – and having to rebuild it again after it burned down.

As we noted when Benjamin was nominated, the Associated Press says Benjamin “was the first black woman to head a state medical society, received the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights and last fall received a MacArthur Foundation ‘genius grant.’” And “A decade ago, the New York Times called her ‘angel in a white coat,’ a country doctor who made house calls along the impoverished Gulf Coast, paid whatever her patients could scrounge.”

WKRG-Mobile/Pensacola has the news, comments from Sen. Jeff Sessions and reaction from Benjamin:


WKRG.com News

See President Obama’s announcement in July of Benjamin’s nomination:

Obama picks rural Ala. doctor for surgeon general

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

The Associated Press reports that Obama has chosen a family physician from Alabama to be the next surgeon general. The announcement will be made today in the Rose Garden.

According to the AP, Regina Benjamin “was the first black woman to head a state medical society, received the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights and last fall received a MacArthur Foundation ‘genius grant.'”

Following Hurricane Katrina, she made news by rebuilding her rural clinic – and having to rebuild it again after it burned down. And “A decade ago, the New York Times called her ‘angel in a white coat,’ a country doctor who made house calls along the impoverished Gulf Coast, paid whatever her patients could scrounge.”

ABC News’ Jake Tapper has more about Benjamin.

On the Patient Empowerment Blog, Trisha Torry discusses what the surgeon general’s role is.

Read more about Benjamin as developments unfold today.

Some have doubts about Gupta as surgeon general

To say that choosing CNN’s Sanjay Gupta for U.S. surgeon general caught most people by surprise is an understatement. Sure, he has credentials – Gupta is a neurosurgeon and is on the faculty at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. During the Clinton administration, he was a White House fellow and special adviser to former first lady Hillary Clinton. And as the CNN go-to guy for health stories, Gupta is seen as a trusted voice. (Not to mention that People magazine named him one of the sexiest men back in 2003).

But not everyone is convinced. The issue, to some, appears to be style over substance. “He’s a fine communicator and does a good job covering subjects for a consumer audience,” writes Val Jones on Getting Better with Dr. Val. “But I don’t think he has the gravitas or appropriate experience for the role of Surgeon General of the United States.”

Conversely, Robert Schlesinger on the Thomas Jefferson Blog writes that this may not be such a bad thing. “The job description for surgeon general is ‘America’s chief health educator.’ Say what you want about cable news and the irritating trend toward highlighting personalities over substance; and say what you want about Gupta specifically; but public education involves some of the same skills one develops working on television news.” And the WSJ Health Blog reader poll finds that two-thirds believe tapping Gupta is a good call.

Trudy Lieberman, on CJR’s Campaign Desk blog, concludes that Gupta has proven himself to be an adept communicator/health educator, as well as a pitchman. She also notes that last fall, she wrote that Gupta botched a description of John McCain’s health plan, giving CNN viewers a confusing and ultimately misleading explanation of both McCain’s proposal and the individual insurance market, where many uninsured people must turn for coverage.

Meanwhile, Merrill Goozner of GoozNews points out that Gupta has been one of the hosts of Accent Health, a TV network beamed into medical waiting rooms and sponsored, in part, by drug makers. As Gooz points out, if Gupta has ties to industry, he ought to disclose them right away so his qualifications can be fully vetted. Of course, if he doesn’t, his media colleagues may have more stories to pursue.

But what do you think? What exactly should the Obama camp consider when selecting a surgeon general?

Update: Politifact.com’s Truth-O-Meter is back and has an interesting explanation of what the surgeon general’s job is.