Vivek Hallegere Murthy (born July 10, 1977) is an American physician and was a vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps who served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States.[1] Murthy, who founded the nonprofit Doctors for America, succeeded Boris Lushniak, who had been Acting Surgeon General since 2013.[1] Murthy was the first Surgeon General of Indian descent and, while serving in office, was the youngest active duty flag officer in federal uniformed service.

Vivek Murthy
Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, USPHS.jpg
19th Surgeon General of the United States
In office
December 18, 2014 – April 21, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
Donald Trump
Preceded byRegina Benjamin
Succeeded byJerome Adams
Personal details
Vivek Hallegere Murthy

(1977-07-10) July 10, 1977 (age 42)
Huddersfield, United Kingdom
Political partyDemocratic
Alice Chen (m. 2015)
EducationHarvard University (AB)
Yale University (MD, MBA)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service USPHS Commissioned Corps
Years of service2014–2017
RankUS Navy O9 infobox.svg Vice Admiral

Early life and educationEdit

Murthy was born on July 10, 1977[2] in Huddersfield, England to immigrants from Karnataka, India. When he was three years old, the family relocated to Miami, Florida,[2] where Murthy was raised and completed his early education, graduating as valedictorian from Miami Palmetto Senior High School in 1994.[3] He then attended college at Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemical Sciences.[3] In 2003, Murthy earned an MD from Yale School of Medicine and an MBA from Yale School of Management, where he was a recipient of The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.[4][5]


While a Harvard freshman in 1995, Murthy co-founded VISIONS Worldwide, which he led for eight years. The nonprofit organization focused on HIV/AIDS education in the U.S. and India. In 1997, he co-founded the Swasthya Community Health Partnership to train women as community health workers in rural India.[5][6]

Medical careerEdit

Murthy completed his Internal Medicine residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts where he also led and managed medical care teams as a faculty member.[6]

He is also a founder and president of Doctors for America, a group of over 15,000 physicians and medical students supporting high quality affordable care for all.[7][8] As part of this work, he developed and led national and local initiatives around coverage and prevention.

In 2011, Murthy was appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama to serve on the U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.[9] The group advises the National Prevention Council on developing strategies and partnerships to advance the nation's health through prevention.[10]

Murthy is also the co-founder and chairman of TrialNetworks, a cloud-based Clinical Trial Optimization System for pharmaceutical and biotechnology trials that improves the quality and efficiency of clinical trials to bring new drugs to market faster and more safely.[11][12] He founded the company as Epernicus in 2008 to originally be a collaborative networking web platform for scientists to boost research productivity.[13]

Surgeon General of the United StatesEdit

Vivek Murthy with the NIH director Francis Collins in 2015

In November 2013, Murthy was nominated by President Obama for the post of United States Surgeon General.[13] His nomination met resistance in the Senate by some Democrats, Republicans and the National Rifle Association regarding previous comments Murthy made declaring gun violence as a threat to public health.[14][15][16]

Murthy's nomination received broad support from over 100 medical and public health organizations in the U.S., including the American Heart Association, American College of Physicians, the American Public Health Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association.[17] His nomination was also endorsed by numerous op-eds and editorial boards including the New England Journal of Medicine.[18] He received the endorsements of two former Surgeons General: David Satcher and Regina Benjamin. Another former Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, opposed the appointment based on Murthy's age.[19][20]

On December 15, 2014, Murthy's appointment as Surgeon General was approved in a 51–43 Senate vote.[21]

As America’s Doctor, Murthy made it a point to travel extensively - from remote fishing villages in Alaska to American Indian reservations in Oklahoma, to schools, workplaces, homes of worship and community centers across the nation - to hear firsthand about people’s experiences, struggles, and hopes.

During his tenure, Murthy created initiatives to tackle our country’s most urgent public health issues. In releasing the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health,[22] Murthy worked with the nation's leading researchers to compile the latest scientific data on addiction and issued a call to action to the nation to recognize addiction as a chronic illness, not a moral failing. He worked with Republican and Democratic elected officials and hundreds of partner organizations to bring attention to this critical issue and to expand access to prevention and treatment. He also released a public service announcement with the cast of Mom that doubled the number of people who called into a substance use hotline to ask for help.

Additionally, he launched the TurnTheTide campaign and sent a personal letter to millions of health care professionals urging them to join a movement to tackle the opioid epidemic.[23] The unprecedented letter sparked opioid-related initiatives in healthcare settings across the country. Responding to a growing chorus of questions from parents, teachers, and lawmakers, he also released the first Surgeon General’s Report on E-cigarettes Use Among Youth highlighting the health risks of e-cigarette use for youth.[24]

From the beginning of his tenure, Murthy spoke about the importance of creating a culture of prevention in America, one that is grounded in physical activity, nutrition, and emotional well-being. As part of this effort, he issued Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities.[25] For the one-year anniversary of the Call to Action, he led a two-week public- private partnership with Fitbit called the Step it Up Challenge that engaged over 600,000 people to increase their physical activity with an industry record-setting 60 billion steps. He also partnered with Elmo and Top Chef to inform the country about vaccines and healthy eating, respectively.[26][27]

Murthy has also worked on the effects of climate change on the country's health[28] and has spoken out against conversion therapy.[29][30]

In 2017, Murthy focused his attention on chronic stress and emotional well-being as prevalent problems that have profound implications for health, productivity, and happiness. Partnering with the Veterans Health Administration, he led a convening that brought together leading thinkers, researchers, and practitioners to identify evidence-based approaches to cultivate emotional well-being thereby enhancing health, productivity, education and satisfaction.

In addition to his role as America’s Doctor, as the Vice Admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Murthy commanded a uniformed service of 6,600 public health officers, serving the most under served and vulnerable populations in over 800 locations domestically and abroad. He worked with thousands of Commissioned Corps officers to protect the nation from Ebola and Zika and to respond to the Flint water crisis, major hurricanes, and frequent health care shortages in rural communities. He met with Corps officers across the country and worked to strengthen the ability of the Commissioned Corps to carry out its central mission to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of the nation.

On April 21, 2017, Murthy was relieved of his duties by the newly elected President Trump. His deputy Surgeon General Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams was named acting Surgeon General.[31]

Personal lifeEdit

Murthy is married to Dr. Alice Chen, an internal medicine physician who trained at Yale, Cornell, and UCLA and was the former executive director of Doctors for America.[32][33]


  Badge of the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services
  Public Health Service Outstanding Service Medal
  Public Health Service Presidential Unit Citation
  Public Health Service Global Response Service Award
  Public Health Service Regular Corps Ribbon
  Commissioned Corps Training Ribbon


  1. ^ a b Clark, Charles S. (December 23, 2014). "Health Service Marks Banner Year Without a Surgeon General". Government Executive. National Journal Group. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Straehley, Steve (December 25, 2014). "Surgeon General of the United States: Who Is Vivek Murthy?". Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Wen, Patricia; Bierman, Noah (November 16, 2013). "High praise at home for surgeon general nominee". Boston Globe. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  4. ^ Brown, Nell Porter (September–October 2003). "'Medicine changes you.' Vivek Murthy '98 — Internal Medicine Resident - Boston". Harvard Magazine: 36H. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Spring 1998 Fellows". Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. 1998. Archived from the original on July 25, 2015. Retrieved March 6, 2014.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  6. ^ a b "Biography of the Surgeon General Vice Admiral (VADM) Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A." U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. 2015. Archived from the original on January 17, 2015. Retrieved January 19, 2015.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  7. ^ Kenny, Steve (November 14, 2013). "Obama Selects Health Policy Advocate as Surgeon General". New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  8. ^ "Obama Picks Vivek Hallegere Murthy For Surgeon General". Huffington Post. Reuters. November 14, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  9. ^ Gil, Gideon (November 14, 2013). "Obama nominating Dr. Vivek Murthy of Harvard and Brigham and Women's as surgeon general". Boston Globe. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  10. ^ "Prevention Advisory Group". U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  11. ^ Larabee, John (October 22, 2013). "Needham's TrialNetworks rolls out platform to help drug developers with clinical trials". Boston Business Journal. American City Business Journals.
  12. ^ "TrialNetworks: Leadership". 2013. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  13. ^ a b "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". The White House. November 14, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  14. ^ Barnet, Shannon (December 16, 2014). "Dr. Vivek Murthy confirmed as surgeon general". Becker's Hospital Review. Becker's Healthcare.
  15. ^ O'Keefe, Ed; Dennis, Brady (December 15, 2014). "Surgeon general nominee Vivek Murthy, opposed by gun lobby, confirmed". Washington Post.
  16. ^ Eilperin, Juliet (March 26, 2014). "Chances for Obama nominees to be confirmed are falling, even with over two years to go". Washington Post.
  17. ^ "More Than 100 National Organizations Demonstrate Strong Support for Dr. Vivek Murthy as the next Surgeon General". Trust for America's Health (Press release). November 12, 2014.
  18. ^ Curfman, Gregory D; Morrissey, Stephen; Malina, Debra; Drazen, Jeffrey M. (May 8, 2014). "Vivek Murthy for Surgeon General". New England Journal of Medicine. 370: 1843–1844. doi:10.1056/NEJMe1403374.
  19. ^ Murphy, Caleb (2015). "The Vivek Murthy precedent". The New Physician. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  20. ^ Carmona, Richard (March 28, 2014). "Vivek Murthy shouldn't be confirmed as surgeon general". Washington Examiner. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  21. ^ Nolen, John (December 15, 2014). "Senate finally confirms Surgeon General nominee". CBS News. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  22. ^ Facing Addiction in America: Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health (PDF). U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (Report). 2016. Archived from the original on November 18, 2016.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  23. ^ Murthy, Vivek. "Surgeon General's Call to End the Opioid Crisis". TurnTheTideRx. Archived from the original on September 1, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2018.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  24. ^ E-cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults (PDF). U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (Report). Archived (PDF) from the original on August 8, 2019.
  25. ^ Assistant Secretary for Health. "Step It Up! The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities". Retrieved January 3, 2018.[dead link]
  26. ^ "Surgeon General and Elmo team up to talk vaccinations". YouTube.
  27. ^ "Surgeon General Vivek Murthy Calls for Veg Twist on Southern Comfort Dishes on 'Top Chef'". January 5, 2017.
  28. ^ [1][dead link]
  29. ^ Brydum, Sunnivie (May 10, 2015). "WATCH: U.S. Surgeon General Opposes Conversion Therapy". Advocate. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  30. ^ Goldenberg, Suzanne (April 4, 2016). "Climate change threat to public health worse than polio, White House warns". The Guardian. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  31. ^ Eversley, Melanie (April 21, 2017). "Surgeon general dismissed, replaced by Trump administration". USA TODAY. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  32. ^ "Doctors for America: Board of Directors". Doctors for America. 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  33. ^ "Indian-American Vivek Murthy takes over as U.S. Surgeon-General". The Hindu. April 24, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2015.

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
Boris Lushniak
Surgeon General of the United States
Succeeded by
Sylvia Trent-Adams