White House taps Indiana health commissioner for US surgeon general

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams makes a comment on March 25, 2015, in Scottsburg, Ind., during a meeting that Gov. Mike Pence held with local officials in Scott County to discuss an HIV outbreak in the area. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — He describes himself as a dad, anesthesiologist, public health advocate and Indiana’s state health commissioner.

Dr. Jerome M. Adams is nominated to become the nation’s surgeon general, the White House announced Thursday. If the U.S. Senate approves the nomination, he would oversee the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, a group of more than 6,700 public health professionals in the federal government. Adams also would become a leading spokesperson for the government on public health.

The nomination would be for a four-year term. He would be the nation’s 20th surgeon general.

Adams expressed his gratitude in a tweet.

Adams was was first appointed state health commissioner by Gov. Mike Pence on Oct. 22, 2014, according to his biography on the state health department’s website. Adams is an assistant professor of clinical anesthesia at Indiana University School of Medicine and a staff anesthesiologist at Eskenazi Health. He has a B.S. in biochemistry and a B.A. in biopsychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  He has a Medical Doctorate from the Indiana University School of Medicine, and a Masters of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley.

The nation’s 19th surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, left office April 17. In the meantime, Rear Adm. Sylvia Trent-Adams is serving as acting surgeon general.

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat from Indiana, released this statement:

I have worked closely with Dr. Adams for several years on efforts to respond to the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemics across Indiana. He has been a willing partner, and I look forward to talking with him about his priorities for the Surgeon General position.”

U.S. Rep. Susan W. Brooks, a Republican serving Indiana, issued this statement:

Dr. Jerome Adams has served Hoosiers with distinction and great care for his fellow man. His work to address substance abuse and addiction in Indiana and his unwavering commitment to improving the health of Hoosiers make him an excellent choice to be our nation’s doctor. I know that he will bring the same compassion, empathy and spirit of service to the role of Surgeon General that he has shown as Indiana State Health Commissioner.”

Brian Tabor, president of the Indiana Hospital Association, gave this statement:

Dr. Jerome Adams has served with distinction and has been a tireless champion of patients and public health during his tenure as Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health. I have witnessed his steady hand through crisis, from Ebola preparedness to expert management of the HIV outbreak in southern Indiana. Dr. Adams also demonstrated bold leadership in our state’s response to the opioid abuse crisis by developing and advocating for a comprehensive plan of prevention, education, and treatment. We know that his passion and vision for a healthier Indiana will benefit all Americans in this new role.”

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