IMAGE SOURCE/ Dr. Regina Benjamin / ABC News Web site
Her name is Regina Benjamin, a family physician from Alabama who has been named by President Obama as the new surgeon general.
Dr. Benjamin helped rebuild a Bayou La Batre, Alabama, health clinic that serves 4,400 after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Georges in 1998. She remortgaged her house maxed out her credit cards to rebuild the clinic in the small shrimping town.
She has won the Nelson Mandela Award for health and Human Rights and a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant”. President Obama picked her because of her understanding of the needs of the poor and uninsured.
Benjamin pledged to be “America’s doctor” and her position is seen as important to help guide the nation through the health care reforms approved by Congress and the White House.
"Public health issues are very personal to me," she said, recounting how her father died of diabetes and hypertension, her mother from smoking-related lung cancer and her brother and only sibling from HIV-related complications. In each case, she said, her family members died from preventable diseases, reports USA Today.
The president insists that despite disagreements and delays there will be a $1 trillion overhaul of the health care system this year.
Dr. Benjamin must be confirmed by the Senate. Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN, a neurosurgeon, withdrew his name in March, citing personal reasons. #