Tuesday, November 3, 2009

31. New Surgeon General

Dear Followers,

Today's blog is about 53 year old Dr. Regina Benjamin, who was unanimously approved by the Senate and is the third African American as well as the third woman to hold the position of Surgeon General of the United States. For over two decades, Dr. Benjamin has been one of the few doctors working in the shrimping village of Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Her rural health clinic there serves 4,400 patients.

When her clinic was destroyed - first by hurricanes and then by a fire one day before it was scheduled to reopen - she used the "Genius Award" money from her John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellows Program Grant to rebuild.

The woman who has promised "to act as America's doctor" still makes house calls in a muddy Toyota pickup, and has been known to accept shrimp "payments" from patients unable to pay in cash.

Benjamin's father died of hypertension, her older brother died at 44 of HIV related illness, and her mother died of lung cancer. In her words, "...I can't change my family's past [but] I can be a voice in the movement to improve our nation's health care and our nation's health for the future."

Benjamin's honors and awards would take an additional page to list, but click here for more information about our latest Self-Empowered Woman.

Hope you've had a chance to check out the YouTube link. Looking forward to your comments...

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