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Non-Profit Doc To Be Surgeon General

From a smitten Associated Press:

Obama chooses Ala doctor as next surgeon general

By Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama turned to the Deep South for the next surgeon general, a rural Alabama family physician who made headlines with fierce determination to rebuild her nonprofit medical clinic in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

An administration official said Obama will announce the nomination of Dr. Regina Benjamin later Monday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to upstage the official announcement.

The surgeon general is the people’s health advocate, a bully pulpit position that can be tremendously effective with a forceful personality.

Benjamin has that reputation.

A decade ago, the New York Times called her "angel in a white coat," a country doctor who made house calls along the impoverished Gulf Coast, paid whatever her patients could scrounge.

From those early days she has emerged as a national leader in the call to improve health disparities, pushed by the need in her own fishing community of Bayou La Batre, Ala., and its diverse patient mix — where immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos make up a growing part of the population.

Her nonprofit clinic was rebuilt by volunteers after being destroyed by Katrina, only to burn down months later. Benjamin later told of her patients’ desperation that she rebuild again, recalling one woman who handed her an envelope with a $7 donation to help.

"If she can find $7, I can figure out the rest," Benjamin said last fall as she received a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation "genius grant," money she dedicated to finishing that job.

Benjamin became the first black woman and the youngest doctor elected to the American Medical Association’s board. She also received the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights in 1998, and Pope Benedict XVI awarded her the distinguished service medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.

Her nomination for surgeon general requires Senate confirmation.

A quick glance at Wikipedia helps further explain Mr. Obama’s decision:

Regina Benjamin

Regina Benjamin (born in 1956 in Mobile, Alabama) is an American physician, who runs a nonprofit medical clinic in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, in the United States…

Consistent with her strong social conscience, Dr. Benjamin has spent time doing missionary work in Honduras and is on the Board of Physicians for Human Rights. Her interests include environmental issues and eco and adventure travel.

Dr. Benjamin’s clinic was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina and in 2006 by a fire on New Year’s Day, one day before the scheduled reopening. She made headlines when she rebuilt the clinic a second time.

Ms. Benjamin is black, a victim of Katrina – and an environmentalist!

And of course she doesn’t believe doctors should make a profit.

What more could anyone possibly want?

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, July 13th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

28 Responses to “Non-Profit Doc To Be Surgeon General”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    Sound to me like Barry has a two-fer here……….EPA & Surgeon General Czar.

  2. tranquil.night says:

    With such a vital clinic and a beloved icon for so many of her patients, it’s a wonder why she would want to even leave such a calling to be Surgeon General.

    The surgeon general is the people’s health advocate, a bully pulpit position that can be tremendously effective with a forceful personality.

    Oh. More of that ‘cult of personality’ hope and change stuff. Another victim recieving the blessed justice of Nerobama and obtaining that coveted equality.

  3. proreason says:

    Doctor’s didn’t make a profit in the USSR.

    In 1991, just after communism fell, average lifespan in Russia was 68, about 10 years less than in the US now. (Remember hearing all the time about the wonderful blessing of Soviet medicine? There were several articles every year in Time, Newsweek, etc., extolling the virtuals of the altruistic Soviet medical system.)

    But when this happens in the US, it will be a good thing.

    People living 10+ years shorter lifespans is GREAT for the planet.

    Less Co2, you know.

    And who wouldn’t give up a decade or more of life to help save the planet?

    • jobeth says:

      Don’t forget how it will play into the cost of medicine to the old…once they are no longer here. With this ‘wise” choice he could get lower health care costs plus lower Social Security costs. As it is starting this year you have to be 66 to collect fully on your manditory SS insurance. So if 69 becomes the average…then we are only going to have to deal with the oldies for about 4 years!

      BTW…at 65, if I don’t get a chance to say goodby…it’s been great knowing you all! (kidding!…I’m planning on being here till I’m 100…just so I can be a thorn in Obalmy’s side! LOL)

  4. katmeredith says:

    Okay, I hate to be on the positive side of a negative S&L argument, but there is nothing in this article that says to me that she’s a typical Obama nominee. Okay, she likes the environment, it doesn’t say she’s a Gore follower. I’m sure alot of people who were affected by Katrina are interested in the environment. While I do believe that doctors should make money, pro bono work is a wonderful thing and would be part of the proper, non-government solution to high healthcare costs for the poor. I believe that alot of doctors work with thier poorer patients to make payments or lessen costs, but the current system makes it more difficult for them to do that. Perhaps, since she does pro bono work, she’ll have an understanding of how to help with that part of the problem. I need more information before I’m going to start condemning her.

    • bronzeprofessor says:

      Kat, forgive me but I’m ready to make a judgment already — this is a luster hire! Totally political, ideologically driven, and she’s probably a fake. Those do-gooders who seem too good to be true always are fakes.

    • proreason says:

      Probono means work that is done for free by a business that works for a profit.

      This lady setup a non-profit clinic. Nothing wrong with that all by itself, but by picking her, it sends a clear signal that the Moron is reinforcing his commencement addresses where he and Thunderbutt urged graduates to forsake businesses that make a profit and go into government or non-profit lines of work.

      If everybody did that, the country would be totally socialist and the Moron would be happy as a clam.

      And standards of living around the world that would never have advanced without capitalism will revert to the 1800’s, medical advances will stop on a dime, and the commisars will rule contently from their thrones. Luckily there have been a few dictators who didn’t murder millions of their citizens. Maybe 5.

      That’s why it’s wrong.

  5. bronzeprofessor says:

    I love the way they throw in the bit about Laotian and Vietnamese refugees, just to let us know she’s uber-multicultural. Why do liberals always have to supersize their political correctness? They should have just gotten to the main point right out of the gate: She’s black and socialist, and the Democrats want to use her as a puppet to voice their pre-existing healthcare and affirmative action agenda. End of story.

  6. Rusty Shackleford says:

    I want to know
    1) Where did she got to medical school?
    2) Where did she do her residency?
    3) What did her fellow interns/residents think about her?
    4)What recommendations and or ciriticisms did she recieve from her superiors?
    5)Why did she decide (the real reason) to do “pro-bono” work and how does she survive?
    6)In other words, is she even a real doctor or just someone who is loving the limelight being a fraud? It has happened before..and we happen to have one for president.

    • jobeth says:

      Exactly Rusty. Having an MD behind your name can mean wonderful things or it can me nothing. Just look at the so called doctors surrounding Michael Jackson.

      Working in hospitals my whole career, I have seen some so called doctors…including Attending physicians in teaching hospitals that I wouldn’t send my dog to. We used to cringe when one heart surgeon would continually need to send his patients back to surgery because of bleeding. And yet he passed himself off as a “great” doctor.
      He would sweet talk his patients and their family but would treat the staff like we were his boot lickers and always blamed the nurses or respiratory therapist for the patients condition. It was always the ventilator or therapist fault he couldn’t ventilate the patient when it was ALWAYS caused by a bleed out due to his surgical techniques! Urrrggg!

      No…an MD behind ones name may not mean a thing. She could be working with the poor…because she couldn’t cut the mustard with her peers. I knew a few of those myself. You rarely see a really talented doctor while away their talents for no monetary compensation. The cost of med school alone would keep that kind of altruism at a minimum.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:


      In my own case, due to my diabetes and thyroid, I have to see an endocrinologist every so many weeks. I was going to one “doctor” who billed himself as an endocrinologist but was an internist. I did contact the AMA…but so far as I know, no action has taken place. I found another doc, who is outstanding. And…she’s right across the parking lot and knows all about “the other guy”. She even asked me what would I do if I was a doctor to correct the problem. I simply said, well, in aviation, we are the most regulated entity in the country, but the AMA is largely self-regulating so…if he bribes the right people, he can keep right on doing what he’s doing. The only other suggestion I had was contacting “Channel 3 on your side” that does investigavgtive reporting and destroys people’s lives. In this case, so much the better, I would say.

      So, yes…her “charitable work” may simply be a case of her being able to “play doctor” as she dispenses her beads and rattles. And, she’s in an area not known for it’s high intellectual persuits thus the locals are grateful to have a “doctor” at all. But if she tells them to collect moss for treatment of a wart, they’ll probably do it.

      Hopefully, as now her name and whereabouts are known…it will all backfore on Blammo and this “doctor” will be exposed and shoved back into the woodwork from whence she came.

    • Howard Roark says:

      But if she tells them to collect moss for treatment of a wart, they’ll probably do it.


  7. TwilightZoned says:

    “…and the youngest doctor elected to the American Medical Association’s board.”

    What a joke! Like that’s supposed to carry weight. Approximately two thirds of U.S. doctors do NOT belong to the AMA. Most doctors understand this organization is nothing more than a political machine often used to spread medical propaganda from the powers that be of what they want us to believe.

    I agree that she may not have the ability to obtain a real job (more than likely was accepted into a medical school based on quotas) and/or she is an idealist who believes in “free health care for all.” What ever the reason, Obamy sees her as a viable tool in advancing his national health care propaganda.

  8. take_no_prisoners says:

    You are all way off base. While I don’t know this lady I do know of her. I think she was born and raised in the Bayou LaBatre area and chose to go back and take care of her home town folks. She has been active in the Medical Association of the State of Alabama for 20 years, more or less. She is well thought of by physicians across the state. After she initially set up her practice in Bayou LaBatre, she decided that she needed more business education and she commuted back and forth to New Orleans in the evenings to get her M.B.A. while she was still actively taking care of her patients. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine and specializes in Family Practice. She is exactly what everyone says they want in a physician. She is caring, smart and willing to practice in the poorest area of a poor state.

    • jobeth says:

      Alright..lets say she is everything you say she is.

      You also said ” She is exactly what everyone says they want in a physician”

      My question still is…is she exactly what we want to see in a Surgeon General? Remember she will be pushing Obalmy’s socialist agendas during her time in office.

      While giving help and health care to the poor may be a great thing to aspire to, is mandatory socialized health care what the country as a whole needs to have?

      The poor, for what ever reason, lack of education, lack of “get up and go” or any other reason will NEVER get the care that someone who has worked and paid for health care insurance will get. Never.

      The state (read…taxpayers) cannot afford that quality of health care to everyone. So every-one’s health care will be trimmed down and/or rationed.

      If you don’t mind that in your future, I suppose its just great that we may get Nationalized health care.

      As for me…I want the best. I’ve worked hard all my life for it. I prepared for it and resent like h*** anyone telling me that I shouldn’t have it because someone else did NOT work for it and prepare for it.

      She will be in a really out front position for Obalmys socialized medicine plans. She will be a mouth piece for him.

      So the bottom line question is.. Is THAT what you want for yourself?

      Not me!

    • take_no_prisoners says:

      Don’t get me wrong. I would prefer a cash on the barrel head model of medicine. I don’t know what her politics are but I suspect anyone that Obama would nominate would tow his line. She is a physician who has been in primary care practice and got a business degree during that time to boot. She is not an academic who is all theory and no practice.

    • Howard Roark says:

      tnp, you can’t blame us for throwing up speculations about the qualifications of this political appointment of Barry’s. He has shown us that he doesn’t appoint people for their skills, but for what they represent:

      Sotomayor for the SCOTUS seat [racist who admits her credentials don’t match up for the jobs/schools she was given through affirmative action];
      Holder for AG [racist tool who challenges the notion of Justice with a blindfold];
      Geitner for Treasury Secy [tax expert who used Turbo Tax incorrectly to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars unpaid in taxes he owed];
      Hilary for Secy of State [ridiculous appointee if you value America’s exceptionalism and sovereignty, which we need to uphold and project when sending a representative around the world];
      Sebelius for HHS [radical proponent of late-term abortions, she can’t be expected to craft policy for the health of the nation’s unborn infants];
      Napolitano for Homeland Security [issues nationwide watch alert against white veterans while preaching against racial profiling]

      Why should we expect that this appointee will be any different? Honestly, it looks to be yet another episode of Man From Hope Redux: Regina Benjamin is a deep south, African American doctor with an agenda a’la Jocelyn Elders. Does Barry have an original thought in his Harvard-educated noggin?

    • Howard Roark says:

      You also said ” She is exactly what everyone says they want in a physician” My question still is…is she exactly what we want to see in a Surgeon General?

      Great point, jobeth!

      And tnp: I don’t know what her politics are but I suspect anyone that Obama would nominate would tow his line. That should be the aspect of this appointment that scares you enough. Who gives a damn that her family practice in rural Ala. pleases desperate people if she’s nothing more than an agent of UHC for an entire nation?

    • Liberals Demise says:

      She is his favorite color.
      (white coat, black interior)

    • proreason says:

      Every conservative is immune from criticism for questioning the appointees of any Democrat, no matter the most partisan and radical politician of all time.

      2 words.



      And just as a wild-ass guess, knowing almost nothing about this lady’s qualifications and backgroud, I’m guessing she a marxist, anti-business, filled with resentment at her country, and adament about government-provided health care. Just got a feeling, donchaknow.

  9. CIV says:

    From her photo, she appears to be a tad over her ideal BMI. I’ve got some questions for her:

    Will she work out like Michele and slim down like BHO, to “lead by example” the nation toward a healthy lifestyle? Or is she going to love her body as it is, for good mental health?

    Will she ban soft drinks and non-healthy foods in schools? Does she partake in them herself?

    Does she tell her patients they have to take better care of themselves or does she just treat their obesity, diabetes, cancer, etc?

    Will she help Obama quit cigarettes for real?

    • bronzeprofessor says:

      lol!!! Yes, I noticed the magically vanishing chin on the lady’s pic.

    • jobeth says:

      “Will she ban soft drinks and non-healthy foods in schools? ”

      I think we are safe there, thank goodness. I don’t think she has any authority to do anything.

      If I have my info correct, she has no authority at all. She is just a rah! rah! mouth piece for the administration. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so.

      Found something interesting on her that may not jive with Obalmy’s “lets kill the unborn” stance.

      She’s a high member of Catholic Health East. She’s on the Board of Directors.


  10. canary says:

    Obama’s first pick might shed light on what he’s looking for. Benjamin is the 2nd media star Obama picked. Stuggled in private practice. Obama’s first ‘dreams’ taking theater at LA Occidental Liberal Arts College.
    The “uh duh” problem may have interfered, and may have kept him from being a successful lawyer, and led ad-libing teaching while a Professor.

    I would like to know Benjamin’s take on chopping full-term baby’s necks and sucking out the brain, and Obama’s wish to mandate Doctor’s to perform it. Maybe Pope acted too soon in honoring her.
    Okay, she’s not a general surgeon, but she’s willing to work in a sewer.

    1st pick of Obama’s may be telling. According to informal wiki-pedia Sanjay Gupta was chose but declined. He is a liberal media star, Time columnest, documentary maker, aside one of People’s sexiest men 2003. There was a potential conflicty of interest due to involvement with drug companies. The site says he believes in a one pay medical pay system to the likings of what Michael Moore promoted in his “Sicko” documentary. I never saw any of his sicko films, so not sure what he promoted. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanjay_Gupta

  11. CGardner says:

    I wouldn’t give any worry to Dr. Benjamin or her politics. The Surgeon General is like a “clown” position in the government.

    She may head the Public Health Service, but what do they do besides helping state departments of health in emergencies? Federal Health money flows to HHS or to the CDC, and the Surgeon General is out of the loop on all the goodies.

    Basically, the Surgeon General is a PR spokesperson for WH initiatives.

    Sad that this woman would leave her 4400-strong practice to preach the evils of sugary soda.

    • jobeth says:

      Or worse…the benefits of making it mandatory to perform abortions by ALL medical staff, regardless of their religious beliefs.

      That one thing bothers me the most. As I said earlier in this thread she is only a mouth piece for Obalmy and has no authority, however as that mouth piece she must support his policies on the forcing of medical staff performing abortions…like it or not…or they can lose their careers.

      If she takes the position she MUST compromise her beliefs. I lose all respect for anyone who will compromise their beliefs for the sake of a cushy job.
      And as you already asked…what about all her patients she claims to care about? Again, where’s the moral standards there?

      Wonder if she’s given a thought how the church will look on this. Will she be able to take communion? Will she lose her own position as a doctor if she should ever be requested to perform and abortion? Questions she needs to ask herself before she takes a job like this with her Catholic beliefs.

  12. canary says:

    She is probably the least educated, inexperienced, and unqualified General Surgeon in U.S. History. The most complicated thing she has probably done is deliver a baby.
    It would be appropiate to have an experienced Surgeon, considering we have soldiers with major injuries. Someone with more advanced medical skills and knowledge.
    But, that’s okay, she is a nice person, and Obama can afford his own Doctor’s.

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