Murthy had in the past asked for a ban on assault weapons, citing guns and bullets as a threat to public health
The new Surgeon General of the United States is of Indian origin, the first. Vivek Murthy, whose nomination was approved by the US Senate, is the 19th to hold that post.
British-born, Murthy is just 37 years old and will be the leading federal government spokesperson on matters of public health. Before this, he was a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School. He is credited with being the co-founder of ‘Doctors for America’, a group of 15,000 physicians and medical students who heavily supported Obamacare, the health insurance plan pushed by President Barack Obama.
Murthy was nominated by Obama in November 2013 but confirmation was held up in the Senate, primarily due to objections posed by the National Rifles Association. Murthy had in the past asked for a ban on assault weapons, citing guns and bullets as a threat to public health. The nomination was finally confirmed with a 51-43 vote in the US Senate on 15 December.
Murthy’s predecessors have often utilised the position to push important health related issues. Ronald Reagan’s Surgeon General C Everett Koop pushed for anti-smoking laws and directed attention to the then emerging AIDS epidemic. Murthy himself has pledged to focus on America’s obesity crisis.
Murthy was born in Huddresfield, England, and his family moved to Miami, Florida, when he was three years old. He continued to maintain connections with India, according to a Harvard magazine article in 2003, which also mentions how he aspired to make traditional and alternative medicine both available and affordable to everyone.