Appointed the 18th Surgeon General by President Obama in 2009, Benjamin spent her four-year term overseeing a global network of public health officers and shifting the national attitude about health from sickness and disease to wellness and prevention. She simultaneously served as the first chair of the National Prevention Council, a consortium of 17 cabinet-level federal agencies. Before that, she founded the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic, a family practice in an underserved Gulf Coast community, addressing the needs of the insured and uninsured and, when necessary, hopping in her pickup truck to reach patients in the most far-flung areas. The first physician under the age of 40 and the first Black woman elected to the board of the American Medical Association, she’s also an advocate helping others establish clinics in other remote areas so that high-poverty communities can still have access to high-quality care. 

After months of stalling, the Senate finally confirmed Dr. Benjamin to be the nation's top doctor.
Nov, 01, 2009

The Senate, by voice vote, unanimously confirmed Dr. Regina Benjamin as the nation's surgeon general on Thursday evening. Earlier in the day, the majority leader, Senator Harry Reid, complained that Republicans were holding up the nomination. President Obama gave her the nod in July. Dr. Benjamin, 53 years old, is the third African-American to hold the post.

Dr. Benjamin was a family practice doctor, and founder of health care clinic in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. The clinic was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and burned to the ground several years ago but Benjamin rebuilt it and continued to offer medical care to the village's 2,500 residents. She was the first African-American woman board member of the American Medical Association, and she just served a term as chairwoman of the group's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs.

Dr. Benjamin promised to use her post "to be America's doctor, America's family physician."

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