From the Dept. of Good News For a Change: Obama's Surgeon General Pick Totally Rocks

President Obama has chosen to serve as surgeon general Dr. Regina Benjamin, a rural, Gulf Coast family physician, MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipient, a Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights recipient, the first black woman to head a state medical society, and the first woman, first African-American woman, and first person younger than 40 to sit on the board of trustees of the American Medical Association.


Basically, what I'm telling you is that she rocks.

Her 2008 MacArthur Fellows bio reads like a Bizarro World version of a Bush-era appointee bio, i.e. that of a qualified, competent, and profoundly admirable person:

Regina Benjamin is a rural family physician forging an inspiring model of compassionate and effective medical care in one of the most underserved regions of the United States. In 1990, she founded the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic to serve the Gulf Coast fishing community of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, a village of approximately 2,500 residents devastated twice in the past decade by Hurricanes Georges, in 1998, and Katrina, in 2005.

Despite scarce resources, Benjamin has painstakingly rebuilt her clinic after each disaster and set up networks to maintain contact with patients scattered across multiple evacuation sites. She has established a family practice that allows her to treat all incoming patients, many of whom are uninsured, and frequently travels by pickup truck to care for the most isolated and immobile in her region.

Benjamin is skilled, as well, in translating research on preventive health measures into accessible, community-based interventions to decrease the disease burdens of her diverse patient base, which includes immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, who comprise a third of Bayou La Batre's population. A committed local physician, she also plays key roles statewide and nationally, helping others establish clinics in remote areas of the country and serving in leadership positions in such health-related organizations as the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians. With a deep, firsthand knowledge of the pressing needs and health disparities afflicting rural, high-poverty communities, Benjamin is ensuring that the most vulnerable among us have access to high-quality care.

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