The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Monday, July 13, 2009

Surgeon General Nominee Regina Benjamin

In a rose garden ceremony today President Obama nominated Bayou La Batre physician Regina Benjamin as Surgeon General.

Photo credit Paula Burch

Dr. Benjamin probably wouldn't know me from Adam's house cat but we served together on Governor Riley's Black Belt Action Commission, (she as technical advisor, me as commissioner)and in fact, probably more than any one person she would be responsible for my interest in rural medicine which led to my interest in Public Health.

For an informative story about her clinic and what happened following hurricane Katrina click here.

In this video she talks about Health Information Technology, or electronic records, and how the need was demonstrated after Katrina and again after the fire that destroyed her clinic.

These are just some of her accomplishments.

Dr. Benjamin is former Associate Dean for Rural Health at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in Mobile where she administered the Alabama-AHEC program and USA Telemedicine Program. In 1998 she was the United States recipient of the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights. In 1995, she was elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees, making her the first physician under age 40 and the first African-American woman to be elected. She also served as President of the American Medical Association Education and Research Foundation (AMA-ERF) and is a current member of the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. In 2002 she became President of the Medical Association State of Alabama, making her the first African American female president of a State Medical Society in the United States. Dr. Benjamin is also co-author of the book "How's Your Health? What You Can Do To Make Your Health and Health Care Better."

Her proposed solution for our health care problems include societal change: an overhaul of policies, broader insurance systems, and better distribution of physicians nationwide.

But of course, as Surgeon General, she will be promoting President Obama's ideas, but I'm sure hers are in line with his.

Update: I just listened to her remarks and yes, her policies reflect his.

She was described on CNN as a "rural, way rural" doctor. I like that. She described the way preventable health issues affected the lives of her family members, including a brother who died of HIV related illness. She also spoke of the effort she puts into serving a population with many uninsured people, and noted that it should not be that difficult.

She will help to bring the change that is needed to our health care system, and I predict that we will be proud of her.

Bayou Clinic is her clinic web site. Congratulations, Dr. Benjamin.

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