Regina Benjamin started her career as America’s surgeon general on October 2009, from a nomination by President Barack Obama. Last Wednesday, she announced her plan to step down from her position come July.
During her term as surgeon general, Benjamin served as chairperson of the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council. The government arm was created as part of the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — commonly known as Obamacare.
Benjamin is known for her advocacy for preventive treatment and overall wellness. She sent an e-mail to her staff, saying that her “goal was to create a grassroots movement, to change our health care system from one focused on sickness and disease to a system focused on wellness and prevention.”
Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius commended Benjamin for her contribution to America’s health. She expressed her gratitude for Benjamin’ service. “Regina has served as America’s doctor since 2009 and has impacted the health and lives of Americans across the country,” Sebelius mentioned via e-mail, as reported on CNN. She also recognized Benjamin’s focus on “wellness and prevention” rather than “sickness and disease”.
Prior to her assignment, Benjamin was founder and CEO of Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic. She is a native of Alabama, and is the first African-American woman on the American Medical Association’s board of directors.
Boris Lushniak, currently the Deputy Surgeon General, will replace Benjamin until a permanent successor is chosen.