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U.S Surgeon General Regina Benjamin Steps Down

Update Date: Jun 14, 2013 10:40 AM EDT
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America's doctor has announced that she will step down from her post. After four years as U.S. Surgeon General, Regina Benjamin will retire from her position next month. Benjamin, who has always been focused on wellness and preventative treatment, will be missed.

"Regina has served as America's doctor since 2009 and has impacted the health and lives of Americans across the country. I am deeply grateful for her leadership and service," U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius wrote in response to Benjamin's email to her staff that revealed her decision to step down according to CNN. "The Surgeon General's road to prevention has touched the lives of millions of Americans and has had a positive impact on the health of this Nation."

In the email, Benjamin had written, "My goal was to create a grassroots movement, to change our health care system form one focused on sickness and disease to a system focused on wellness and prevention. With your help, that movement has begun."

Ever since she started as the Surgeon General in 2009, Benjamin had chaired the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council. This council was formed under the Affordable Care Act and its goal is to help find ways of improving access to care. Benjamin also become the first ever African-American women to be a board member of the American Medical Association, in which she also served one term as chairwomen of the association's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. Before becoming America's doctor Benjamin was the CEO of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic located in Alabama. She had founded this clinic in 1990.

According to NPR, Benjamin told WKRG-TV in Mobile, Ala., "The thing I'm going to do right now is take a couple of weeks and rest and enjoy the summer a little bit and come home for Fourth of July and then kind of look at whatever challenges are out there and really make a difference."

In the meantime, Deputy Surgeon General Boris D. Lushniak will serve as the interim Surgeon General. 

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