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Indiana Health Official Nominated For Surgeon General

by Countable | 7.5.17

President Donald Trump nominated Indiana health official Jerome Adams to the post of Surgeon General. The Senate will likely take up his confirmation before the August recess.

But who is Jerome Adams?

Jerome Adams is currently the Indiana State Health Commissioner. He is a board-certified anesthesiologist, as well as carrying a degree in public health.

Adams grew up in Mechanicsville, MD and received a BS in Biochemistry and a BA in biopsychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. He went on to attend medical school at Indiana University. He also completed a Masters in Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley, with a focus on chronic disease prevention.

Adams is also an assistant professor of anesthesiology at Indiana University Health, and cares for patients at Eskenazi Health, Indianapolis’s publicly funded hospital.

Adams was appointed to the position of Indiana State Health Commissioner in October of 2014 by then-Governor Mike Pence. He is credited with combatting a serious H.I.V. outbreak in a rural part of the state that was experiencing a rash of injection drug use shortly after taking up his post. Adams advocated for and instituted a needle exchange program to stem the outbreak.

Adams is a staunch supporter of "harm reduction" techniques, like needle exchanges, as a gateway to health services and treatment. He told the New York Times:

"It’s only going to work if it allows us to connect people to the resources they need to get clean, to get off drugs and get their infectious diseases appropriately diagnosed and treated."

If confirmed, Adams is expected to be a strong advocate in the fight against the opioid epidemic. Both Republicans and Democrats see him as an excellent choice, similar to former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, who held the position through much of the 1980’s. Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, who worked at the Food and Drug Administration under the Obama administration and now teaches public health at Johns Hopkins University, speaks of Adams highly:

"From everything I’ve seen, Dr. Adams is a very serious and capable physician and public health official. This is an opportunity to speak to the problems as they are and not as they are viewed through an ideological prism."

Who is the Surgeon General?

The Surgeon General of the United States is the lead spokesperson for the federal government’s public health efforts. The Surgeon General is the operational head of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the federal uniformed service of the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS). The mission of the PHS is "protecting, promoting, and advancing the health and safety of the Nation."

The Surgeon General holds the position of Vice Admiral in the Corps and answers directly to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

What do you think of the nomination of Jerome Adams? Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

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