Trump administration dismisses Vivek Murthy as US Surgeon General
- Dr. Vivek Murthy was dismissed as U.S. Surgeon General by the Trump administration late last Friday, NBC reported.
- Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams has been promoted to acting surgeon general from deputy surgeon general. Trent-Adams previously was a nurse and has been a public health servant since 1992, The Root reported.
- In a statement on Facebook, Murthy wrote he had "hoped to do more to help our nation tackle its biggest health challenges" but was thankful for the "privilege of a lifetime."
Murthy served as the nation's "top doctor" for about two years. The surgeon general is the one of the nation's leading voices on public health, but has little formal role in setting policy.
While neither the Trump administration nor Murthy have publicly gone into the fine details of the decision, the dismissal comes as the current administration has cleared out holdover appointees from the Obama administration.
During his time as Surgeon General, Murthy notably called gun violence a "public health issue." Murthy was also a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, which the Trump administration has tried — so far, unsuccessfully — to repeal and replace.
In a statement announcing his departure, Murthy highlighted his work on the opioid epidemic as well as working with his colleagues to address addiction in the country. Last November, Murthy issued a landmark report on drug and alcohol misuse in the U.S. Addiction is "one of America's most pressing public health concerns," Murthy said at the time of the release. Approximately 21 million people in the U.S. are suffering from substance misuse disorders, but only one in 10 receive treatment, according to the report.
Multiple public health threats, including Ebola, Zika and the Flint water crisis, occurred during Murthy's tenure. "I am exceedingly proud of what our team and our officers have done to bring help and hope to people all across America," Murthy wrote on Friday.
At this time, it's unclear what the future of the Surgeon General Office will look like under the new administration as Trump's administration has given little indication of its opinion on the matter. The administration was quick, however, to update the agency's website last Friday with the new leadership.
Follow Jeff Byers on Twitter