Washington, Dec 16: 37-year-old Indian-American physician Vivek Hallegere Murthy has been confirmed as the 19th Surgeon General of America by US Senate. He is youngest person and first person of Indian-origin to hold the post.
The upper house of US Congress confirmed Murthy's nomination by 51 votes to 43 more than year after President Barack Obama had nominated him to this top administration post on public health issues in November 2013 which saw a strong
opposition from the powerful pro-gun lobby National Rifle Association (NRA).
The final voting came on Monday soon after the Senate invoked cloture -- a procedural hurdle -- by same numbers (51 to 43 votes) Pitching strongly for Murthy's confirmation, Senator Dick Durbin praised Murthy for his dedication to fighting obesity, tobacco related diseases and other chronic diseases that account for seven out of the top 10 causes for death in America and make up for 84 per cent of America's health care costs.
"I believe Dr Murthy understands the importance of the national crises before him, and feel confident that his experiences, his training, and his tenacity have provided him the qualifications he needs to tackle these issues, and the
many more he's sure to face, head-on," Durbin said.
"Not only is Dr Murthy an outstanding doctor and public health expert, but he also remains closely connected to his community and family," he said. "There is no question about the qualification of Dr Murthy to do his job," said another Senator Chris Murphy, adding that Murthy has a really impressive history of commitment to international public health, building two international organisations, one that empowers hundreds of youths in the US and India to educate over 45,000 students on HIV prevention.
Senator Richard Blumenthal said Murthy has addressed some of the nation's most pressing health problems over the times. "Dr Murthy's credentials are without question. They are impeccable, unquestionable and indisputable".
Coming out in support of Murthy, Senator Daniel Markey said he has developed a skill set which is much needed for the 21st century and in an era where disease cross international boundaries. "It is an opportunity to put a real leader in this position," he said.
Senator Mazie Hirono said Murthy would make an effective surgeon general.
On the one hand, when several Senators have lauded Murthy's nomination there were others who continued to oppose his confirmation. "The American people deserve a Surgeon General who has proven, throughout his or her career that their main focus is a commitment to patients, not a commitment to politics.