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Obama Nominates Rural Health Specialist as Surgeon General

The White House has nominated an African American doctor from Alabama as Surgeon General of the United States. Regina Benjamin is the founder and CEO of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in Alabama, and has served as associate dean for rural health at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. If approved, Benjamin will fill a position that has been vacant since 2007 when former President George W. Bush's nominee for the job, James Holsinger, failed to win confirmation from Congress because of his controversial views on homesexuality.

"Health care reform is about every family’s health and the health of our economy. And if there's anyone who understands the urgency of meeting this challenge in a personal and powerful way, it's [Benjamin] ... ” President Barack Obama said in a statement today announcing Benjamin's nomination. A recipient of the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights and a MacArthur fellow, Benajamin will be expected to play a key role in realizing the Administration's promise of reducing racial and socioeconomic disparities in health care.