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#TopJob: Karnataka farmer’s grandson becomes US Surgeon General

The Huddersfield-born grandson of a farmer from Karnataka has been officially sworn-in as the US Surgeon General – the man responsible for advising the US government on issues of public health.

Harvard-educated Vice Admiral Vivek Hallegere Murthy assumed his post following an official ceremony in Fort Myer, Virginia on Wednesday.

“By any reasonable measure, I shouldn’t be standing here.  My father is the son of a farmer in rural India.  He was supposed to have been a farmer, as was I,” he told a crowd of supporters that included Vice President Joe Biden.

“But for my grandfather’s insistence that his son get an education – even if that meant going into debt.  We might have never left that village to go out in the world and – as my grandfather also insisted – start fixing what needed fixing.”

“Everyone in this arena is part of the story we write next.  Each of us has a part to play in building a stronger and healthier America.”

Born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, Murthy’s family moved to Miami, Florida when he was three years old. 

After graduating from high school, Murthy studied Biochemical Sciences at Harvard before obtaining his MD from Yale School of Medicine. 

Over a distinguished career spanning two decades, Murthy has founded a run a string of public health organizations in India and the United States – including an HIV/Aids education program; a women’s health initiative and, most notably, Doctors for America, an organization made up of more than 15,000 doctors and medical students who campaign for health reform in the US.

In 2011, Murthy was appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama to serve on the U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health within the U.S. Department of Health.

As the American Surgeon General, Murthy will head operations of the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, one of the seven uniformed services of the United States and which is charged with providing healthcare services to underserved and rural communities in the US as well as prevention and control of diseases, among other things.



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