AAPI Welcomes nomination of Indian-American doctor to top medical post
Dr. Vivek Murthy will serve as the US Surgeon General under Biden-Harris administration, a role Murthy held under the Obama administration, President-Elect Joe Biden said here on Monday, December 7th. As he’s set to return to the same position, he held from 2014 to 2017, Murthy is expected to have an expanded portfolio, as the President-elect’s team crafts their plans to tackle the pandemic.
“We congratulate Dr. Vivek Murthy on his appointment as the Surgeon General of the United States,” Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) said here on Thursday. He praised the appointment of Dr. Murthy to be America’s top doctor by the administration led by President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, and “offered fullest support” to Dr. Murthy, while describing the choice of Dr. Murthy as “cementing the reputation of physicians of Indian origin have across America.”
In addition to Dr. Murthy, Joe Biden nominated Xavier Becerra to lead the sprawling Health and Human Services Department, and Dr. Rochelle Walensky as the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The appointments Mr. Biden announced on Monday, including other senior officials to the US Health Department, will help round out Biden’s team charged with addressing the pressing COVID-19 crisis, that has taken over 280,000 American lives,” Dr. Sajani Shah, Chair of AAPI BOT said.
Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President-Elect of AAPI, that represents over 100,000 physicians of Indian origin in the United States, said, “We are proud of Dr. Vivek Murthy and his many accomplishments and look forward to supporting him throughout the process confirmation to be the US Surgeon General, as the nation and the entire world seeks to find best possible solutions to tackle the pandemic that has taken the lives of millions of people around the world.”
Lauding Dr. Murthy “who has been a key coronavirus adviser to President-Elect Biden, regularly briefing him on the pandemic during his campaign and the transition,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, Vice President of AAPI said, “Dr. Murthy was part of Biden’s public health advisory committee as the pandemic first took hold in the US and has been serving as a co-chair of the President-elect’s Covid-19 advisory board during the transition. His ethics, quiet leadership style and impeccable credentials make him the smart choice for this leadership role.”
“Dr. Vivek Murthy represents the next generation of Indian American physicians,” Dr. Amit Chakrabarty, Secretary of AAPI said. “Dr. Murthy was America’s youngest-ever top doctor, and he was also the first surgeon general of Indian-American descent, when appointed by President Barack Obama in 2014. If confirmed by the Senate, Dr. Murthy would play a key role in the administration’s response to many daunting healthcare issuers, including the pandemic that has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.”
“Having a wide range of experiences and passion for science-based approach, Dr. Vivek Murthy will bring in new perspectives to the many healthcare issues that require immediate attention and concrete action plan,” said Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Treasurer of AAPI. Offering fullest cooperation from the Indian American Physician community, he said, “We at AAPI, look forward to working closely with Dr. Murthy and his team to end this deadly pandemic.”
Dr. Murthy 43, has said Americans need a leader who works with the people for the progress of the country. As surgeon general under Obama, Murthy helped lead the national response to the Ebola and Zika viruses and the opioid crisis, among other health challenges.
Dr. Murthy’s commitment to medicine and health began early in life. The son of immigrants from India, he discovered the art of healing watching his parents – Hallegere and Myetriae Murthy – treat patients like family in his father’s medical clinic in Miami, Florida.
During his prior nomination, Indian American Doctors had lobbied earnestly to have Dr. Murthy confirmed as the US Surgeon General under Obama administration. “The feeling of de ja vu was pervasive, of a triumph over injustice with a hard fought battle by the Indian community during his confirmation, with AAPI playing a major role that secured the prize of the highest position occupied by an Indian American, and that too by one from our second generation,” said Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar, who had led a delegation of AAPI leaders to be at the historic oath taking ceremony of Dr. Vivek Murthy as the US Surgeon General at Fort Myer in Virginia across from Washington DC on Wednesday, April 22, 2015.
“The oath ceremony, a proud moment for Indian Americans, was led by Joseph Biden, Vice President and currently President-Elect, held in a large hall like a school stadium, with flags in abundance rigged in from the ceiling and leaning in from the sidewalls,” recalls Dr. Suresh Reddy, the immediate past President of AAPI, who was present at the oath ceremony in the nation’s capital.
“I am proud of our community of Indian physicians for all the progress that we have made over the years, and I know that AAPI has been a critical force in making this process possible. The advice you shared and assistance you kindly offered were important pieces of this journey,” Dr. Vivek Murthy, stated in a letter to Dr. Jayesh B. Shah, a past president of AAPI, who along with AAPI’s Legislative Affairs Chair, Dr. Sampat Shivangi and several others had led several delegations to US Senators, lobbying for his confirmation.