Dr. Vivek H. Murthy served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States from December 15, 2014 to April 21, 2017.
As America’s Doctor, Dr. Murthy created initiatives to tackle our country’s most urgent public health issues. He chose areas of focus that were raised by people across America during his inaugural listening tour. Highlights included:
Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health - the nation’s first Surgeon General’s Report presenting the latest scientific data on addiction and issuing a call to action to the nation to recognize addiction as a chronic illness and not a moral failing.
- TurnTheTideRx: The Surgeon General’s Call to End the Opioid Crisis - In 2016, Dr. Murthy sent a letter to 2.3 million health care professionals urging them join a movement to tackle the opioid epidemic. This was first time in the history of the office that a Surgeon General had issued a letter calling the medical profession to action.
- Surgeon General’s Report on E-cigarette Use Among Youth - First federal report on e-cigarettes, highlighting the health risks of e-cigarette use for youth
- Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities - Launched efforts to increase physical activity in communities across the country, including a two-week public-private partnership with Fitbit that engaged over 600,000 people to take an industry record-setting 60 billion steps.
- Get Vaccinated with the Surgeon General and Elmo: Partnered with Elmo in a popular video that demystifies vaccines for parents and children
In 2017, Dr. Murthy focused his attention on chronic stress and isolation as prevalent problems that have profound implications for health, productivity, and happiness. Partnering with the Veterans Health Administration, he led a convening that brought together leading thinkers, researchers, and practitioners to identify scientifically proven ways we can cultivate emotional well-being and fitness to help us thrive among the most challenging circumstances.
In addition to his role as America’s Doctor, as the Vice Admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Dr. Murthy commanded a uniformed service of 6,600 public health officers, serving the most underserved and vulnerable populations in over 800 locations domestically and abroad. He worked with thousands of Commissioned Corps officers to strengthen the Corps and protect the nation from Ebola and Zika and to respond to the Flint water crisis, major hurricanes, and frequent health care shortages in rural communities.
Dr. Murthy’s commitment to medicine and health began early in life. The son of immigrants from India, he discovered the art of healing watching his parents - Hallegere and Myetriae Murthy - treat patients like family in his father’s medical clinic in Miami, Florida. Prior to becoming Surgeon General, his accomplishments included:
- VISIONS: Co-founded with his sister, Rashmi, a peer-to-peer HIV/AIDS education program in India and the United States that reached tens of thousands of students.
- Swasthya Project: Co-founded a community health partnership that trained women to defy the odds in their patriarchal villages and become health care providers and educators.
- TrialNetworks: Co-founded a software technology company that improves research collaboration in clinical trials and is powering research studies around the world.
- Doctors for America: Co-founded a nonprofit with more than 18,000 physician and medical student members from all 50 states dedicated to creating a high quality, affordable health care system for all.
- Medical care and education: Cared for thousands of patients and trained hundreds of medical students and residents.
- Research: Conducted basic science research on vaccines and health care services research focused on the participation of women and minorities in clinical trials. His research and perspectives have been published in the nation’s top medical journals.
Dr. Murthy received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard and his M.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Yale. He completed his internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and later joined Harvard Medical School as faculty in internal medicine.
Dr. Murthy resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Dr. Alice Chen, and their young son.