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News & Press: General

Senate Confirms Surgeon General, Other HHS Picks

Friday, September 8, 2017  
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The US Senate has approved Jerome Adams, MD, to be the next surgeon general.

Dr Adams, along with four other nominees for positions in the Department of Health and Human Services, were confirmed today without a full floor vote but with the Senate's full consent. The legislators were finishing up as much business as possible before leaving for an already-delayed summer recess.

The senators also approved Elinore McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, as the assistant secretary for mental health and substance use, a new position that has been called the mental health "czar"; Lance Robertson as assistant secretary for aging; Brett Giroir, MD, as assistant secretary for health; and  Robert Kadlec, MD, as assistant secretary for preparedness and response.

The full Senate's backing was not unexpected, as all the nominees made it through a Senate confirmation hearing relatively unscathed on August 2.

Dr Adams, currently Indiana's state health commissioner, also serves as an assistant professor of clinical anesthesia at the Indiana University School of Medicine and as a staff anesthesiologist at Eskenazi Health, both in Indianapolis. He told members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that, if confirmed, one of his first priorities would be to address the opioid epidemic. As surgeon general, Dr Adams will oversee the 6600 uniformed health professionals in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

Dr McCance-Katz currently serves as the chief medical officer of Rhode Island's Department of Behavioral Health Care, Disabilities, and Hospitals and was the chief medical officer of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration from 2013 to 2015. She will be the first to hold the position of assistant secretary for mental health and substance use, a position created by the 2016 Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.

Dr McCance-Katz, a psychiatrist, was endorsed for the new position by the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine and other prominent medical associations.

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