In his second stint as US Surgeon General, Indian American physician Vivek Murthy vows to end Covid pandemic.
Sworn in as ‘America’s Doctor,’ for the second time, Indian-American physician Vivek Murthy has vowed to end the coronavirus pandemic and build a world where good health is within everyone’s grasp.
“Ready to take on this position as the Nation’s Doctor to help end this pandemic, be a voice for science, & support our nation on its path to rebuilding and healing,” said Murthy, 43, after being sworn in Thursday as the 21st Surgeon General.
“I stand ready to work with you to end this pandemic & build a world where good health is within everyone’s grasp,” he said as he was administered the oath of office by Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra.“I owe this day to my family who has guided & supported me every step of the way,” said Murthy, who becomes the second highest ranking Indian American in the Biden administration after Vice President Kamala harris.
Murthy, who served as the first Indian American Surgeon General under President Barack Obama from 2014 to 2017, was confirmed by the Senate by 57-43 votes on Wednesday.
During his confirmation hearing in February, Murthy disclosed that coronavirus has claimed the lives seven members of his extended family in India and America.
Indian American House member Pramila Jayapal described Murthy as “an exceptionally talented, experienced, and compassionate leader who will continue guiding our country forward in our efforts to finally defeat this virus and tackle the many public health crises the country faces — from an epidemic of gun violence to environmental injustice.”
Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus chair Judy Chu said that it is significant that Dr Murthy will be one of the top Asian Americans in federal government at a moment when Asian American and Pacific Islanders communities are being disproportionately impacted by both the coronavirus as well as surging anti-Asian discrimination and violence.
“During this critical time, it is significant to have a Surgeon General who understands these differences between communities and the need to target help where it is most needed in culturally and linguistically competent ways.”
“I applaud President Biden for elevating such a qualified public health expert as Dr Murthy and for his commitment to building a diverse federal workforce that more closely resembles the country we serve,” she said.
Born in England to Indian immigrants, Murthy was raised in Miami after his parents moved to the US to establish their medical practice.
After earning his BA in biochemical sciences and graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1997, Murthy received his MD from Yale School of Medicine and his MBA from Yale School of Management.
As an 18-year old freshman at Harvard, Murthy co-founded VISIONS Worldwide, a non-profit organization aimed to raise HIV/AIDs education in the US and India, with his sister Rashmi.
During his previous tenure as 19th Surgeon General, Murthy helped lead the national response to a range of health challenges, including the Ebola and Zika viruses, the opioid crisis, and the growing threat of stress and loneliness to Americans’ physical and mental well-being.
His scientific research has focused on vaccine development and the participation of women and minorities in clinical trials.
Senate confirms Vivek Murthy for second stint as US Surgeon General (March 23, 2021)
As ‘America’s doctor,’ Vivek Murthy vows a war on Covid-19 (February 26, 2021)