Washington, Dec 16: On Tuesday, Vivek Murthy was confirmed as the Surgeon General of America by US Senate. Feeling proud in this victory is the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI).
The Senate confirmation of Vivek Murthy as Surgeon General is a "huge victory" for the Indian-American doctors as it reaffirmed that a man of impeccable credentials cannot be kept down for too long, community members and US lawmakers have said.
"It is a huge victory for the citizens of USA, physicians and as Indian Americans" an elated president of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) Ravi Jahagirdar said on Monday.
The upper house of US Congress confirmed 37-year-old 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).
He said for the past several months AAPI leadership had taken it as a challenge to seek justice denied for over a year to a doctor with impeccable credentials.
Jahagirdar said AAPI members got active from the grass roots level all the way to the top leadership. They not only called their local Senators, sent letters and emails, but the entire AAPI Executive Committee was on the Capitol Hill repeatedly in the past several months educating Senators of the need to appoint a "top doc" to lead the nation, and to confirm the nomination of Murthy, he said.
"Our role was educational and advocacy. During the Ebola crisis you could see that the health department had no direction and was a sorry spectacle." Jahagirdar said.
Even on Monday, the day of voting, AAPI ran television ads urging Indian Americans to call their Senators to support Murthy.
The appointment only reaffirmed the old American adage "you cannot keep a good man down"! he said.
Senator Dianne Feinstein said the Senate put public health over special interests by voting to confirm Vivek Murthy to be the next surgeon general.
"The United States faces serious public health challenges and we need a top doctor on the job to help address them," she said.