President Barack Obama named Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) Trustee Dr. Regina Benjamin as U.S. Surgeon General. Benjamin’s nomination marks the second MSM trustee to hold a high-profile position with the Obama administration. Eric Holder, then-vice chairman of MSM’s board of trustees, was confirmed as U.S. Attorney General in February.”Regina Benjamin has been a key member of our board leadership at Morehouse School of Medicine, and we are proud, though not surprised, to see her named Surgeon General,” said MSM President Dr. John E. Maupin Jr. “Her work on our board has demonstrated a real commitment to improving the health of our communities and reducing healthcare disparities, and I have no doubt her public service as Surgeon General will be a benefit to all Americans.”
Prior to her nomination, Benjamin founded Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, and served as the clinic’s chief executive officer. She was named a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellow in 2008, which awarded her a $500,000 fellowship grant to continue providing quality medical care to underserved communities.
She served as associate dean for rural health at the University of South Alabama’s College of Medicine, where she administered the Alabama-AHEC and USA Telemedicine Programs. She also served as president of the State of Alabama Medical Association.
Her commitment and self-sacrifice have been recognized by the American Medical Association board of trustees, where she became the first African-American woman and first person under 40 to be elected to its board. Her other accolades include being named by Time magazine as one of the “Nation’s 50 Future Leaders Age 40 and Under,” and “Woman of the Year,” by People magazine.
Benjamin earned a bachelor’s degree from Xavier University of Louisiana and was a member of the second graduating class of MSM, in 1982. She completed her doctor of medicine from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and her residency in family practice at the Medical Center of Central Georgia. Benjamin also holds an M.B. A. from Tulane University.