Obama Chooses Ala Doctor As Next Surgeon General

Lauran Neergaard, AP, July 13, 2009

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

Dr. Regina Benjamin is known along Alabama’s impoverished Gulf Coast as a country doctor who makes house calls and doesn’t turn away patients who can’t pay–even as she’s had to find the money to rebuild a clinic repeatedly destroyed by hurricanes and once even fire.

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Benjamin made headlines in the wake of Katrina, as photographs showed her laying patient charts out to bake in the sun and lamenting the lack of pricey but more hurricane-resistant electronic records. Her nonprofit clinic was rebuilt by volunteers only to burn down just as it was about to reopen. {snip}

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Regina Benjamin, center; Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, applauds the nomination.

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