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America's youngest Surgeon General speaks Kannada at home

America's youngest Surgeon General speaks Kannada at home

President Barack Obama had nominated Murthy's name for the prestigious post of Surgeon General.

New Delhi: A year after a Telugu speaker from Andhra Pradesh Sathya Nadella has taken over as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft, a Kannada speaker from neighbouring Karnataka has been named as the new Surgeon General of America. The healthy competition between two southern states has seen one more interesting development.

According to 'Washington Post' the US Senators voted 51 to 43 to confirm Vivek Murthy, a Harvard and Yale-educated doctor at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, whose nomination had been in limbo amid concerns about his experience, and opposition from the gun lobby.

As Surgeon General, Murthy, 37, will serve as the nation's top spokesperson on public health issues. Boris Lushniak has served as acting Surgeon General since July 2013. The most powerful American gun lobby's stiff opposition had made Vivek Murthy's appointment a tough task for the President Barack Obama.

Senators in both parties had questioned whether he was too inexperienced for the job, or whether his efforts to get Obama elected and support the President's health-care law made him too polarizing a figure.

Dr Vivek Hallegere Murthy or Dr Vivek H Murthy is the youngest Surgeon General in the history of United States of America. President Barack Obama had nominated Murthy's name for the prestigious post of Surgeon General. The post focuses heavily on public health issues and the Surgeon General would advice the people of America on various health issues.

"I am confident that these outstanding individuals will greatly serve the American people in their new roles and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come," Obama said while announcing Murthy's appointment along with three other key posts. The Surgeon General serves a four-year term.

Dr Murthy is originally from Hallegere village in Maddur Taluk of Mandya district. Vivek is the grandson of HT Narayan Shetty, a backward class leader and close associate of former Karnataka chief minister D Devaraj Urs. The people of Hallegere are delighted. According to a report in the New Indian Express, Vasanth, Dr Vivek's cousin, said they plan to felicitate his family members who will visit their native village. "We are delighted to know that he has been offered the top position in the Obama government," he said.

Dr Vivek Murthy has not forgotten his roots. He visits Hallegere every year and has donated millions to promote education in his ancestral place.

Dr Vivek is the son of Dr HN Lakshmi Narasimha Murthy, alumni of Mysore Medical College who served in various capacities in the UK. Dr Vivek's sister Rashmi is also a physician in Florida. With his roots in Hallagere, Dr Vivek makes annual trips and conducts free camps under his family-funded Scope Foundation. A team of doctors, along with his family members, have conducted free eye camps and operated on 60 people in the past.

They also presented 100 computers to government schools in and around Maddur Taluk. Although Vivek and his family had plans to donate computers to all schools in Mandya district, they decided to go slow as many of the systems were not being put to use due to the lack of power supply.

However, the Scope Foundation has decided to provide solar kits so that computers can be used in schools. He had also expressed his desire to give suggestions to the Central and state governments on the execution of free health cover and ways to improve services.

Dr Murthy was born in London and brought up in the USA. Murthy did BA from Harvard University, an MBA from Yale School of Management, and an MD from Yale School of Medicine.

Murthy is a hospitalist at the Brigham and is co-founder and president of Doctors for America, a Washington, DC-based group of 16,000 physicians and medical students that advocates for access to affordable, high quality health care. If confirmed by the Senate, Murthy will replace Regina Benjamin, who was appointed by Obama in 2009 and left her post last summer. His group, Doctors for America, was originally called Doctors for Obama and helped to campaign for Obama's election.

According to the US media reports, the announcement came shortly after Obama acknowledging that his administration "fumbled" in the troubled rollout of his healthcare law offered a fix that would allow insurers to keep for another year people on plans that were to be cancelled for not meeting minimum standards under the new law.

In 2011, Murthy was appointed as a member of the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health. He has been the co-founder and chairman of the board of Trial Networks, formerly known as Epernicus, since 2007.

first published:December 16, 2014, 12:00 IST