U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin will step down from her position in July, a spokeswoman for HHS confirmed late Wednesday.
“The surgeon general announced today that she will be stepping down next month,” Dori Salcido of HHS said in an e-mail. “She has served as America’s doctor since 2009 and has impacted the health and lives of Americans across the country. We are grateful for her leadership and service.”
“She forged the way as leader of the National Prevention Council, created under the Affordable Care Act, to help transform our nation’s health system from one that focuses on treating disease to one that focuses on prevention and staying well,” Dr. Georges Benjamin said in his statement.
A graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana, Regina Benjamin later earned her medical degree at the University of Alabama in Birmingham after having spent two years at the Morehouse School of Medicine. When President Barack Obama appointed her nearly four years ago, he praised Benjamin’s work at the Bayou La Batre (Ala.) Rural Health Clinic, which she opened in the late 1980s to serve the impoverished patient population in the rural village of about 2,500 residents.
Benjamin’s last day will be July 16, according to Salcido, who added that the 56-year-old Benjamin will return to Alabama to volunteer at her clinic. “When Dr. Benjamin departs in July, Deputy Surgeon General Boris Lushniak will serve as acting surgeon general while a search is underway for a new surgeon general,” Salcido said in an email.