Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., MBA is the 18th surgeon general of the United States. She oversaw the operational command of 6,500 uniformed public health officers who serve in locations around the world and served as chair of the National Prevention Council -- a group of 17 cabinet-level Federal agencies developing the National Prevention Strategy.
From her early days as the founder of a rural health clinic in Alabama -- amid damage and destruction inflicted by Hurricanes Georges in 1998 and Katrina in 2005 and a devastating fire in 2006 -- to her leadership role in preventive health care, Dr. Benjamin has forged a career that has been recognized by a broad spectrum of organizations and publications.
Dr. Benjamin has a B.S. in chemistry from Xavier University, New Orleans, an M.D. degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an MBA from Tulane University. She attended Morehouse School of Medicine and completed her family medicine residency in Macon, Ga. Dr. Benjamin is the recipient of 22 honorary degrees.
Dr. Benjamin is former associate dean for Rural Health at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in Mobile, Ala. and past chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States. In 1995, she was the first physician under age 40 and the first African-American woman to be elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees. She served as president of the American Medical Association Education and Research Foundation and chair of the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. In 2002, she became the first African-American female president of a state medical society in the United States when she assumed leadership of the Medical Association State of Alabama.
Dr. Benjamin is a member of the Institute of Medicine. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. She was chosen as a Kellogg National Fellow and a Rockefeller Next Generation Leader. In 1998, Dr. Benjamin was the United States recipient of the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights. She received the 2000 National Caring Award and was recognized with the Papal honor Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice from Pope Benedict XVI. In 2008, she was honored with a MacArthur Genius Award Fellowship. In 2011, Dr. Benjamin became the recipient of the Chairman’s Award during the worldwide broadcast of the 42nd NAACP Image Awards.
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