Trump Goes Outside Public Health Service to Name Surgeon General

Dr. Jerome Adams is currently the Indiana State Health Commissioner. Dr. Jerome Adams is currently the Indiana State Health Commissioner. Darron Cummings / AP file photo

Two months after he fired Obama-appointed Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, President Trump on Thursday nominated an Indiana anesthesiologist as Murthy’s successor, irking a public health association that advocates selecting candidates only from within the Public Health Service.

Dr. Jerome Adams, currently the Indiana State Health Commissioner, was named to the four-year post to be the nation’s 20th Surgeon General and Medical Director in the Regular Corps of the 6,500-officer Public Health Service. He formerly was staff anesthesiologist and assistant professor of anesthesia at the Indiana University School of Medicine, where he earned his M.D. and did his residency. He holds a B.S. in biochemistry, a B.A. in biopsychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and a master’s in public health from the University of California at Berkeley.

In 2016, then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, now the vice president, awarded Adams the state’s highest civilian honor, the Sagamore of the Wabash Award.

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Until Adams’ confirmation vote in the Senate, the position continues to be occupied by acting Surgeon General Rear Adm. Sylvia Trent-Adams.

"The Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service wishes that President Trump had abided by the spirit of the law that has been in effect since 1944 and nominated a surgeon general from the ranks of the officers in the U.S. Public Health Service,” the Landover, Md.-based group’s executive director, Col. James T. Currie, said in a statement to Government Executive. “That said, Dr. Adams is a well-respected public health professional, and we look forward to working very closely with him once he is confirmed by the United States Senate.”

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