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.”