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*Regina Benjamin was born on this date in 1956. She is a Black Vice Admiral, physician, and former Surgeon General of the United States.
From Mobile, Alabama, Regina Marcia Benjamin attended Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, where she was initiated into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is also a member of the second class of the Morehouse School of Medicine. She received her M.D. degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and completed her residency in family practice at the Medical Center of Central Georgia.
After entering solo practice in Bayou La Batre, Benjamin worked for several years in emergency rooms and nursing homes to keep her practice open. After receiving an MBA from the Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, she converted her office into a rural health clinic. Benjamin is the former associate dean for rural health at the University of South Alabama's College of Medicine in Mobile. She administers the Alabama AHEC program and previously directed its Telemedicine Program. She serves as the current president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. In 1995, she was elected to the American Medical Association's board of trustees, making her the first physician under age 40 and the first Black woman to be elected.
She also served on the Florida A & M University Board of Trustees. From 2008-2009, she served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Federation of State Medical Boards, a national non-profit organization representing the 70 medical boards of the United States and its territories. Benjamin is a diplomate of the American Board of Family Practice and a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. She was a Kellogg National Fellow and also a Rockefeller Next Generation Leader.
She has served on a variety of boards and committees, including the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Catholic Health East, Medical Association of the State of Alabama, Alabama Board of Medical Examiners, Alabama State Committee of Public Health, Mobile County Medical Society, Alabama Rural Health Association, Leadership Alabama, Mobile Area Red Cross, Mercy Medical, Mobile Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Mobile, Physicians for Human Rights and Deep South Girl Scout Council.
She was appointed to the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act Committee and the Council of Graduate Medical Education, and she is also a member of the "Step 3 Committee." In Alabama, she formerly served as vice president of the Governor's Commission on Aging and as a member of the Governor's Health Care Reform Task Force and the Governor's Task Force on Children's Health.
Benjamin's clinic was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina and in 2006 by a fire on New Year's Day, one day before the scheduled reopening. Benjamin is the founder and CEO of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Bayou La Batre is a small shrimping village along the gulf coast.
On July 13, 2009, President Barack Obama announced the choice of Benjamin for the position of Surgeon General of the United States and as a Medical Director in the regular corps of the Public Health Service. Benjamin accepted the President's nomination and made clear her dissatisfaction with the current healthcare system in terms of both accessibility, as well as cost. Also, in accepting her nomination, Benjamin described the hardships faced by disease and illness in her own family. She noted her brother, who died of HIV; her father, who died of high blood pressure and diabetes; and her mother, who died of lung cancer.
All of which, she implied, were "preventable diseases. The United States Senate unanimously confirmed Benjamin. In September 2012, Benjamin issued "The 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, a report from the U.S. Surgeon General and the Action Alliance". This report discussed 13 goals and 60 objectives for reducing suicides over the next ten years. In 2002, Surgeon General David Satcher launched the first National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. Benjamin resigned from the position of U.S. Surgeon General on July 16, 2013.