“Striving for a world where we all can all thrive, and not just survive…”
Fighting for equitable access, better prevention, and opportunities for all to be healthy!
I was born in rural Southern Maryland, surrounded by tobacco farms and crab fisherman. As a child with severe asthma who lived almost 2 hours from the nearest pediatric hospital, I experienced our country’s problems with healthcare access and equity first hand. I went on to obtain degrees in Biochemistry and Psychology from UMBC, and then a Medical Degree from Indiana University, and a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley.
After medical school I spent several years as a private practice anesthesiologist before being recruited back to Indiana University, where I spent 9 years teaching medical students and residents as an Associate Professor. In 2017, I was asked to run the Indiana State Department of Health, and during my tenure I helped address the State’s infant mortality, opioid epidemic, Ebola and Zika crises. With the help of many partners, I oversaw the State’s legalization of syringe service programs to respond to Hepatitis and HIV infections related to injection drug misuse.
In 2017 I was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the 20th United States Surgeon General. During my tenure I issued advisories urging Americans to carry Naloxone, and warning children and pregnant women about the dangers of vaping and marijuana use. My office published historic Surgeon General’s reports on Smoking Cessation, and on the links between Community Health and Economic Prosperity- the latter detailing ways businesses can built healthier communities and a healthier bottom line. I also served on the White House Coronavirus task force, urging Americans to take precautions to protect themselves from the virus, and to get vaccinated!