Murthy, 37, is a British-born Indian-American who was educated at Harvard and Yale and has both medical and business degrees. He completed his residency in 2006 at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, where he is an attending physician. He will be the first Indian-American to serve in the role. Murthy's nomination comes from his political advocacy during the election campaign for President Obama, although his past statements on gun control slowed his nomination. In 2008, he co-founded Doctors for Obama, a group of doctors and medical students who supported the Obama campaign. The group transitioned to Doctors for America after President Obama won. Normally, Dr. Murthy would enter the Corps as a LCDR but with this nomination and confirmation, he is an Acting Vice Admiral.
Murthy is the latest in a string of executive nominations that were only able to pass the Senate after Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pushed through a rules change last year to lower the threshold from 60 to 51 votes to advance certain presidential nominations. Republicans have not said whether they will keep the rules change in place in the next Congress. Murthy replaces Acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak, who has been serving since former Surgeon General and Acting VADM Regina Benjamin resigned in July 2013. RADM Lushniak has resumed his role as Deputy Surgeon General.
RADM Lushniak was simply the best Acting Surgeon General the career Corps could have hoped for; moving up the rank and experience ladder since joining the Corps in 1988, he led the Corps like no other ASG. His experience in CDC's EIS Program, at NIOSH and FDA made him an ideal Surgeon General with the breadth of experience necessary for the job. RADM Lushniak is highly experienced in the field, having completed service with the Indian Health Service in Winslow, Arizona and most importantly, serving with NIOSH in the field where he conducted epidemiological investigations of workplace hazards. RADM Lushniak is well established as a first responder and member of the Command cadre, having served on special assignments and disaster response activities in Bangladesh, St. Croix, Russia, and Kosovo, as part of the CDC/NIOSH team at Ground Zero (World Trade Center) and the CDC team investigating the anthrax attacks in Washington, DC. He served as the Chief Medical Officer of the Office of Counterterrorism at the FDA, and in 2005 was appointed FDA Assistant Commissioner, Counterterrorism Policy and Director of the Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats within the Office of the Commissioner.
RADM Lushniak was born in Chicago to post-World War II immigrants from Ukraine. He is an inspiration to many inside and outside the ranks of the Corps and will likely go down in Corps history as one of finest examples of the unfairness of the current nomination system that minimizes the career officers of the Corps as only able to attain Acting or Deputy roles in the service of our nation, despite being far, far, more qualified for the Surgeon General position than any civilian nominee.