This week, a new Surgeon General of the United States was named. The man is Dr. Jerome Adams and was President Trump’s nominee for the role. His 4 year term presiding over the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, a subdivision within the US Department of Health and Human Services, was approved by Congress. He will also be a part of the National Prevention Council, a department that emphasizes our country’s growing involvement in public health and preventative care. This council primarily focuses on prevention, wellness, and health promotion by utilizing the coordinated efforts of multiple departments. He will take over this post from Rear Adm. Sylvia Trent-Adams who was the Acting Surgeon General after the controversial resignation of Dr.Vivek H. Murthy, who was appointed by the Obama administration.
Prior to taking this position, Dr. Adams served as the state health commissioner for Indiana. He has also worked as an anesthesiologist and assistant professor of Indiana University School of Medicine. Besides having a medical degree, Dr. Adams also has a masters in public health, an education that has helped advise his actions as the state health commissioner. Last year, he notable helped quell an HIV outbreak in Indiana by working with the CDC to establish a needle exchange program in the state. The results have been noted to be a great success but have not reached the root of the problem, which is drug addiction. It has been generally supported that Dr. Adams may have the knowledge and interest in public health necessary to make real, impactful changes in field during his 4 year term.
The new Surgeon General has announced that opioid epidemic, obesity, and issues regarding cost and access to healthcare are his top priorities upon taking the position. His particular focus on the opioid epidemic comes at a most appropriate time as the ongoing, worsening crisis has been urged by many to be declared a public health emergency. In fact, it was noted by the commission that “142 Americans die from drug overdoses every day,” and this figure is a monumental increase from the amounts seen at the start of the millennium. Stories of the impact of this epidemic can be seen littering newspapers and news sites across the country. Examples can be found here, here, and here, to name a few. The stories have even leaked into news centers across the globe, as can be seen in an article published by BBC, a British based news source.
Let us wish Dr.Adams best of luck and informed decision making in his endeavor to reign in the public health issues of our nation. He certainly has large shoes to fill as health care and public health continue to be hot topics of public interest, and the need for definite, firm leadership could not have come at a more opportune moment.