Vivek Murthy

Vivek Hallegere Murthy (born July 10, 1977) is an American physician and a vice admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps who has served as the 19th and 21st Surgeon General of the United States under President Obama and President Biden.[1] Murthy is the first surgeon general of Indian descent, and, during his first term as surgeon general, he was the youngest active duty flag officer in federal uniformed service.[2]

Vivek Murthy
Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, USPHS.jpg
Murthy in 2015
19th and 21st Surgeon General of the United States
Assumed office
March 25, 2021
PresidentJoe Biden
Preceded byJerome Adams
In office
December 18, 2014 – April 21, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
Donald Trump
DeputySylvia Trent-Adams
Preceded byRegina Benjamin
Succeeded byJerome Adams
Co-Chair of the COVID-19 Advisory Board
In office
November 9, 2020 – January 20, 2021
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Personal details
Born
Vivek Hallegere Murthy

(1977-07-10) July 10, 1977 (age 44)
Huddersfield, England, UK
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
(m. 2015)
Children2
EducationHarvard University (BA)
Yale University (MD, MBA)
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceUnited States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
Years of service2014–2017
2021–present
RankVice Admiral

Murthy co-chaired President-elect Joe Biden's COVID-19 Advisory Board from November 2020 to January 2021, alongside former Food and Drug Administration commissioner David A. Kessler and Yale public health professor Marcella Nunez-Smith.[3] On December 7, Biden announced Murthy would return to the role of U.S. Surgeon General.[4] The United States Senate confirmed Murthy to the role on March 23, 2021, by a vote of 57–43.[5]

Early life and educationEdit

Murthy was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire[6] to immigrants from Karnataka, India. He is the grandson of the late H C Narayana Murthy, the former director of Mysore Sugar Company, and son of Florida-based Dr H N Lakshminarasimha Murthy and Myetraie Murthy. In 1978, the family crossed the Atlantic to Newfoundland, where his father worked as a district medical officer. When he was three years old, the family relocated to Miami,[6] and his parents established their medical practice.[7]

Murthy was raised and completed his early education in Miami, graduating as valedictorian from Miami Palmetto Senior High School in 1994.[8] He then attended college at Harvard University and graduated magna cum laude in 1997 with a bachelor of arts in biochemical sciences.[8] In 2003, Murthy earned an MD from Yale School of Medicine and an MBA from Yale School of Management, where he received The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.[9][10] During his time at Yale, Murthy helped start "The Healer's Art" – a four-week long elective in which medical students discuss critical topics such as what it means to serve as a healer, how to cope with losing a patient, and how to prevent physician burnout.[11] This course – available at only Yale and UCSF at the time – is now offered by over 70 medical schools across the United States.[11]

CareerEdit

Undergraduate yearsEdit

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 and educators in rural India.[10][12]

Medical careerEdit

Murthy completed his internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. As an attending physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Murthy cared for thousands of patients while assisting in the education of hundreds of undergraduates, medical students, and residents.[1]

In 2008, Murthy founded and served as president of Doctors for America, a group of more than 15,000 physicians and medical students supporting high quality affordable care for all.[13][14]

In 2011, Murthy was appointed by Barack Obama to serve on the Presidential Advisory Council on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health within the Department of Health and Human Services.[15] The group advises the National Prevention Council on developing strategies and partnerships to advance the nation's health through prevention.[16] In 2012, Murthy worked as co-chair of Obama's health care advisory committee during his re-election campaign.

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.[17][18] He founded the company as Epernicus in 2008, originally, to be a collaborative networking web platform for scientists to boost research productivity.[19]

Surgeon General of the United StatesEdit

 
Murthy is sworn in as surgeon general of the United States by Vice President Joe Biden with his father Hallegere, fiancée Alice Chen and mother Myetriae looking on at Conmy Hall, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia, Apr. 22, 2015.

In November 2013, Murthy was nominated by President Obama for the post of United States surgeon general.[19] 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.[20][21][22]

Murthy's nomination received broad support from more than 100 medical and public health organizations in the U.S.[23] 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.[24][25]

On December 15, 2014, Murthy's appointment as surgeon general was approved in a 51–43 Senate vote.[26]

 
Vivek Murthy with NIH director Francis Collins in 2015.

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.[27] 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 more than 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.[28][29] Murthy's 2016 surgeon general report on e-cigarette use among youths emphasized the vulnerability of young people to the products and recommended that e-cigarettes be incorporated into existing smoke-free policies to prevent youth from accessing e-cigarettes. The report drew heated response from proponents of e-cigarettes, including R Street and other public policy groups.[30]

Murthy also led the United States through several major health crises – including the Ebola and Zika viruses, the Flint Michigan water crisis, and the currently ongoing opioid epidemic.[1] Murthy released the first ever Surgeon General's report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health – which revealed that approximately 21 million Americans suffer from some form of substance abuse disorder.[31] Furthermore, in 2016, Murthy issued a historic letter to 2.3 million fellow healthcare professionals, requesting a pledge to reform the prescription of opiate drugs and the perception of those struggling with addiction.[32] In this letter, Murthy argues that addiction is "a chronic illness, not a moral failing."[32] Additionally, Murthy has worked on the effects of climate change on the country's health.[33] In a 2016 interview, he stated "by the end of the century, we are looking at an increase of tens of thousands of illnesses and death episodes because of climate change."[34] Murthy has also spoken out against conversion therapy, stating that "conversion therapy is not sound medical practice... we all need to work together to build greater understanding and acceptance throughout our society."[35][36][37]

On April 21, 2017, Murthy was relieved of his duties as 19th Surgeon General by President Donald Trump. His deputy surgeon general, Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams, was named acting surgeon general.[38] In a parting address, Murthy stated "for the grandson of a poor farmer from India to be asked by the President to look out for the health of an entire nation was a humbling and unique American story. I will always be grateful to our country for welcoming my immigrant family nearly 40 years ago and giving me this opportunity to serve."[39]

On December 3, 2020, Politico reported that Murthy had been nominated by President-elect Joe Biden to return to the role of Surgeon General.[40] His nomination was sent to the Senate on January 20, 2021 and confirmed on March 23, 2021, by a vote of 57–43.[41][1][42] As surgeon general, Murthy leads a force of 6,700 public health officers, with the mission of delivering exceptional care to medically underserved populations both within the United States and abroad.[1]

Public engagementEdit

Since 2017, Murthy has appeared on various television and radio shows talking about the problem of loneliness, and he has written numerous articles on the subject. Murthy states he was shocked by how often he encountered people suffering from severe loneliness during his medical career, and argued that loneliness in America has become prevalent enough to count as an "epidemic". Murthy sees loneliness as a root cause that plays a substantial role in many other social problems. In April 2020 he published a book about what both society and ordinary people as individuals, can do to reduce loneliness in themselves and others, entitled Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World.[43][44][45][46]

Subsequent careerEdit

Murthy spoke during the 2020 Democratic National Convention.[47]

On September 5, 2020, Murthy joined the advisory council of the Biden-Harris Transition Team, which was planning the presidential transition of Joe Biden.[48][49] On November 9, Murthy was announced as one of the three co-chairs of then-President-Elect Biden's coronavirus advisory board,[50] alongside former FDA Commissioner David A. Kessler and Yale public health professor Marcella Nunez-Smith.[51][52] Days later, Murthy was named a candidate for United States Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Biden administration.[53]

Before his Senate confirmation, Murthy disclosed a total of 1.7 million dollars in consulting for Netflix ($547,500), Airbnb ($410,000), Carnival Cruise Line ($400,000), Estee Lauder ($292,500). He also disclosed hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from dozens of organizations, for example "$30,000 from Duke University Kenan Institute for Ethics for a speech I gave in January 2021."[54]

In July 2021, Murthy publicly stated there is "no value" in incarcerating people for cannabis use.[55]

Awards and decorationsEdit

Murthy's awards include:[56][better source needed]

  
   
  
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
Surgeon General Badge Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services Badge

Personal lifeEdit

Murthy is married to Alice Chen, an internist who trained at Yale, Cornell and UCLA, and was the executive director of Doctors for America.[57][58] They have two children.[56]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e General, Office of the Surgeon (March 25, 2021). "Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA". HHS.gov. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  2. ^ Express Web Desk (December 9, 2020). "Who is Vivek Murthy, the Indian-origin doctor appointed as Surgeon General by Joe Biden". The Indian Express. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  3. ^ "Biden-Harris Transition Announces COVID-19 Advisory Board". President-Elect Joe Biden. November 9, 2020. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  4. ^ Saenz, Arlette; Zeleny, Jeff; Sullivan, Kate (December 7, 2020). "Biden nominates Dr. Vivek Murthy to reprise role as US surgeon general". CNN. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  5. ^ Kelly, Caroline (March 23, 2021). "Senate confirms Dr. Vivek Murthy as US surgeon general". CNN. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Straehley, Steve (December 25, 2014). "Surgeon General of the United States: Who is Vivek Murthy?". AllGov.com. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  7. ^ Vivek Murthy (2020). Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World. Harper Wave. pp. 281–282. ISBN 978-0062913296.
  8. ^ a b Wen, Patricia; Bierman, Noah (November 16, 2013). "High praise at home for surgeon general nominee". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  9. ^ Brown, Nell Porter (September–October 2003). "'Medicine changes you.' Vivek Murthy '98 — Internal Medicine Resident – Boston". Harvard Magazine: 36H. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  10. ^ 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)
  11. ^ a b Curtis, John. "Alum's appointment as surgeon general a "home run"". medicine.yale.edu. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  12. ^ "Biography of the Surgeon General Vice Admiral (VADM) Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A." Office of the Surgeon General. SurgeonGeneral.gov. 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)
  13. ^ Kenny, Steve (November 14, 2013). "Obama Selects Health Policy Advocate as Surgeon General". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  14. ^ "Obama Picks Vivek Hallegere Murthy for Surgeon General". Huffington Post. Reuters. November 14, 2013. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "Prevention Advisory Group". SurgeonGeneral.gov. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. 2013. Archived from the original on November 23, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ "TrialNetworks: Leadership". 2013. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  19. ^ a b "President Obama announces more key administration posts". Press Office. whitehouse.gov. November 14, 2013. Archived from the original on November 8, 2020. Retrieved November 15, 2013 – via National Archives.
  20. ^ Barnet, Shannon (December 16, 2014). "Dr. Vivek Murthy confirmed as surgeon general". Becker's Hospital Review. Becker's Healthcare. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  21. ^ O'Keefe, Ed; Dennis, Brady (December 15, 2014). "Surgeon general nominee Vivek Murthy, opposed by gun lobby, confirmed". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  22. ^ Eilperin, Juliet (March 26, 2014). "Chances for Obama nominees to be confirmed are falling, even with over two years to go". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  23. ^ "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. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  24. ^ Murphy, Caleb (2015). "The Vivek Murthy precedent". The New Physician. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  25. ^ Carmona, Richard (March 28, 2014). "Vivek Murthy shouldn't be confirmed as surgeon general". Washington Examiner. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  26. ^ Nolen, John (December 15, 2014). "Senate finally confirms Surgeon General nominee". CBS News. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  27. ^ Assistant Secretary for Health. "Step It Up! The Surgeon General's call to action to promote walking and walkable communities". SurgeonGeneral.gov. Archived from the original on September 11, 2015. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  28. ^ Surgeon General and Elmo team up to talk vaccinations. YouTube (video).
  29. ^ "Surgeon General Vivek Murthy calls for veg twist on Southern comfort dishes on 'Top Chef'". India-West. January 5, 2017. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  30. ^ Clarke, Toni (December 8, 2016). "U.S. surgeon general e-cigarette report sparks controversy". Reuters. Archived from the original on December 12, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  31. ^ "Surgeon General Issues Landmark Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)". www.niaaa.nih.gov. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  32. ^ a b "The US Surgeon General Sends Historic Letter to 2.3 Million Health Care Providers". www.asam.org. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  33. ^ "Surgeon General Murthy on climate change". C-SPAN. August 2019.
  34. ^ "Climate change threat to public health worse than polio, White House warns". The Guardian. April 4, 2016. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  35. ^ Brydum, Sunnivie (May 10, 2015). "U.S. Surgeon General opposes conversion therapy". The Advocate. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  36. ^ Goldenberg, Suzanne (April 4, 2016). "Climate change threat to public health worse than polio, White House warns". The Guardian. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  37. ^ "WATCH: U.S. Surgeon General Opposes Conversion Therapy". www.advocate.com. April 10, 2015. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  38. ^ Eversley, Melanie (April 21, 2017). "Surgeon General dismissed, replaced by Trump administration". USA Today. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  39. ^ Curtis, John. "Vivek Murthy dismissed as U.S. Surgeon". medicine.yale.edu. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  40. ^ Ollstein, Alice Miranda; Pager, Tyler (December 3, 2020). "Zients, Murthy tapped to head up Biden's Covid-19 response". POLITICO. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  41. ^ "PN79-11 – Nomination of Vivek Hallegere Murthy for Public Health Service, 117th Congress (2021–2022)". www.congress.gov. January 20, 2021. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  42. ^ Diamond, Dan (March 23, 2021). "Senate confirms Vivek H. Murthy as surgeon general". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  43. ^ Murthy, Vivek (2020). Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World. Description Archived November 15, 2020, at the Wayback Machine & arrow-searchable and scrollable preview. Archived November 15, 2020, at the Wayback Machine Harper Wave. ISBN 978-0062913296. Retrieved May 26, 2020
  44. ^ Eric Klinenberg (February 9, 2018). "Is Loneliness a Health Epidemic?". New York Times. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved May 20, 2020. But is loneliness, as many political officials and pundits are warning, a growing 'health epidemic'?
  45. ^ United States Joint Economic Committee. "All the Lonely Americans? – All the Lonely Americans? – United States Joint Economic Committee". Senate.gov. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  46. ^ "Loneliness is a serious public-health problem". The Economist. September 1, 2018. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  47. ^ "Democrats Announce Highlights for Final Night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention". 2020 Democratic National Convention. August 20, 2020. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  48. ^ "Cindy McCain Joins Biden-Harris Transition Team's Advisory Board". President-Elect Joe Biden. September 28, 2020. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  49. ^ "Biden Transition Organization – Staff, Advisors". www.democracyinaction.us. November 9, 2017. Archived from the original on October 29, 2020. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  50. ^ Mucha, Sarah (November 9, 2020). "Biden transition team announces coronavirus advisers, including whistleblower Rick Bright". CNN. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  51. ^ Feuer, Will (November 7, 2020). "President-elect Joe Biden announces Covid task force". CNBC (article updated: 12:50 UCT 2020-11-09 ed.). Archived from the original on November 7, 2020. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  52. ^ Eric Levenson (November 9, 2020). "Here's who's on President-elect Biden's newly formed Transition Covid-19 Advisory Board". CNN. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  53. ^ The New York Times (November 11, 2020). "Who Will Fill Biden's Cabinet?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  54. ^ "Vivek H. Murthy's financial disclosure form". Washington Post.
  55. ^ Schnell, Mychael (July 18, 2021). "Surgeon general: No 'value' to locking people up over marijuana use". TheHill. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  56. ^ a b Ferriss, Tim (March 26, 2020). "Dr. Vivek Murthy — Former Surgeon General on Combating COVID-19, Loneliness, and More (#417)". The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  57. ^ "Board of Directors". Doctors for America. 2013. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  58. ^ "Indian-American Vivek Murthy takes over as U.S. Surgeon-General". The Hindu. April 24, 2015. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2015.

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
Surgeon General of the United States
2014–2017
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Surgeon General of the United States
2021–present
Incumbent