Regina Benjamin Closes Out Last Day as U.S. Surgeon General

Jul 16, 2013, 12:30 PM

Surgeon General Regina Benjamin Surgeon General Regina Benjamin

Today U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, leaves her post after four years of public health accomplishments. Dr. Benjamin will return to Alabama to volunteer at her clinic. Deputy Surgeon General Boris Lushniak will serve as acting surgeon general until a new surgeon general is appointed.

Dr. Benjamin’s many singular initiatives during her tenure include:

  • Serving as chair of the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council, which spearheaded the release of the National Prevention Strategy (NPS), a roadmap for working with partners at the local, national, and international level to help bridge the gaps in health disparities and ultimately increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life. The National Prevention Council is composed of cabinet-level heads of federal agencies, including the Departments of Transportation, Education, Defense, Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency. “The NPS illuminates and puts into action what we in Public Health have been saying for more than a hundred years,” says Dr. Benjamin. “Prevention is the foundation of public health and prevention is the foundation of an effective health care system.”
  • Releasing the National Prevention Council Annual Status Report, showing positive trends in some leading health indicators including decreases in youth ages 3 to 11 exposed to secondhand smoke; the number of adolescents who are current smokers; the rate of coronary heart disease deaths; stroke deaths; and overall cancer deaths.
  • Spearheading the National Suicide Prevention Strategy, an ambitious national strategy to reduce the number of deaths by suicide.
  • Releasing My Family Health Portrait, an Internet-based tool encouraging people to collect their family health history during the holidays when families gather together.

>>Bonus Links:

  • Read a commentary written by Dr. Benjamin for the Institute of Medicine on the successes of the National Prevention Council.
  • Read a NewPublicHealth interview series about the role of many of the different agencies that make up the Prevention Council in making the U.S. a healthier nation.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.