|ATS and Other Health Organizations Support Dr. Vivek Murthy's Nomination As US Surgeon General|
As national, state and local organizations dedicated to protecting and improving the health of all Americans, we write to voice our strong support for Dr. Vivek Murthy’s nomination as surgeon general of the United States. Dr. Murthy is a well-qualified, forward thinking and innovative leader with a strong commitment to public health. We are confident that he will play an important and leading role in improving the health of the American public, and we urge you to support his nomination.
The surgeon general serves as the nation’s doctor, and provides Americans with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce the risk of illness and injury. The surgeon general also leads the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, directing resources to America’s most critical health problems, and serves as the chair of the National Prevention Council.
Past surgeons general have focused on critical public health issues such as tobacco use and the HIV/AIDS epidemic, successfully using the bully pulpit to educate Americans about these health risks. For example, during his tenure, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop released groundbreaking reports on the addictiveness of tobacco and the health consequences of smoking, which helped lead to a significant decline in smoking rates in the United States, from 38 percent down to 27 percent.
During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, Dr. Murthy stated that educating the public about the obesity epidemic would be one of his top priorities as surgeon general. Thirteen states now have adult obesity rates above 30 percent, 41 states have rates of at least 25 percent, and every state is above 20 percent. Addressing the obesity epidemic is essential to improve health and reduce the growing rates of chronic disease, which now make up 75 percent of America’s health costs. National leadership from the surgeon general can help to build the cross-sector partnerships in communities which are essential to reversing this epidemic.
Dr. Murthy would also focus on reducing tobacco-related disease, reducing the stigma associated with mental illness, and improving vaccination rates. He plans to work through the office of the surgeon general to make prevention and health promotion the backbone of our communities. These are all essential activities if we want to improve health outcomes.
The confirmation of the surgeon general should be made based on protecting and improving public health, not politics. Dr. Murthy's nomination has received broad support from the medical and public health communities, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the New England Journal of Medicine, the American Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and more than 50 other organizations.
Dr. Murthy will bring strong leadership to the office of the surgeon general and a powerful vision for improving the health of Americans. The public health community looks forward to working with him to build a healthier America, with prevention as the driving force in our health care system. We strongly urge you to support his confirmation.
Thank you for your consideration.
AIDS Action Coalition (AL)
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