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President Nominates Regina Benjamin, MD to Serve as Surgeon General

Rural Family Physician Featured in NLM's "Changing the Face of Medicine" Exhibition

Dr. Regina Benjamin President Obama has nominated Alabama physician Dr. Regina Benjamin to be US Surgeon General.

Dr. Benjamin is one of the outstanding American women physicians profiled in NLM's 2003-2005 exhibition, "Changing the Face of Medicine." Her biography appears at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/physicians/biography_31.html.

With support from the American Library Association, "Changing the Face of Medicine" is traveling the nation through November 2010. You can view the itinerary at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/about/exhibition/travelingexhibitions/ctfom.html .

Dr. Benjamin, who has held leadership positions statewide and nationally, has long provided medical care on the Gulf Coast. In 1990, she founded Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in the fishing village of Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Her clinic was battered by Hurricane Georges in 1998 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but Benjamin rebuilt it each time and continued to offer medical care to the village's 2,500 residents.

Many of her family practice patients are uninsured, according to the MacArthur Foundation, which last year awarded her one of its prestigious $500,000 "genius" grants. Her patient population includes immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, who comprise a third of Bayou La Batre's population.

Benjamin received a bachelor's degree in 1979 from Xavier University of Louisiana, attended Morehouse School of Medicine from 1980 to 1982 and received a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1984. She completed her residency in family practice at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in 1987 and has served as CEO of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic since its founding in 1990. She earned a master's degree in business administration in 1991 from Tulane University.

Dr. Benjamin also served as the associate dean for rural health at the University of South Alabama's College of Medicine and as president of the State of Alabama Medical Association from 2002 to 2003.She is the first woman, first African American woman and first person under age 40 to sit on the board of trustees of the American Medical Association, serving from 1995 through 1998.

The U.S. Surgeon General serves as America's chief health educator by providing Americans the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce the risk of illness and injury. In carrying out all responsibilities, the Surgeon General reports to the Assistant Secretary for Health, who is the principal advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on public health and scientific issues. The US Surgeon General also serves on the NLM Board of Regents as an ex officio member.

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