Monday, April 7, 2014

The Impeccable Doctor Murthy & Why He Deserves Your Help

Why the hoopla over your Surgeon General To Be? 

Recently, the NYT wrote about my dear friend and colleague Vivek Murthy, MD MBA - the US Surgeon General nominee whose Senate confirmation vote is being delayed in part because of intense efforts from the National Rifle Association. The NRA claims that Dr. Murthy is a rabid gun activist who is out of touch with the people and doesn't belong in office. To my knowledge, the NRA hasn't even met with Dr. Murthy. Their policy is clear - anyone who mentions the word 'gun' in anything but favorable terms is their Enemy #1.  Their agenda is singular, and it certainly has nothing to do with improving America's health.

As you might guess, I'm not a proud member of the NRA, but that is beside the point. Their efforts are a distraction and a disservice to this nation. Dr Murthy is the perfect candidate for the Surgeon General post, in a time of emerging technology, endemic obesity and disturbing health disparities. This is why he has been endorsed by a phenomenal array of medical groups and individuals.

A few personal words, about the good Dr.

In all of our lives, some people just stand out. I've lived in 3 countries, trained at 5 institutions and worked in 4 distinct sectors. I've been extremely fortunate to cross paths with thousands of truly phenomenal people over the past several decades. Vivek stands out amongst them. Why?

It could be that he possesses a very rare combination of traits. Vivek is as humble, down-to-earth and mild mannered as people come. He's earnest, self-sacrificing, works tirelessly and selflessly for the good of others. His accomplishments range from admission to the world's top academic institutions, to starting several grassroots non-profit organizations, to launching successful businesses. But this might not be noteworthy if he also weren't such an amazing human being. His ability to truly listen and to connect and understand others is stunning. There's a presence about Vivek that is other worldly.

I first met Vivek at Yale School of Medicine 15 years ago, where he was a year ahead of me. I followed in his foot steps to train at Harvard's Primary Care and Population Medicine residency program. I've seen him in many a trying situations, from comforting ailing patients to the ER-like-drama of "coding" a patient to bring them back to life. Above all, Vivek consistently brings his intense focus, his immense compassion, his calm level-headedness and far-beyond-his-years wisdom to everything he does.

In case it's not clear, this man is not only a brilliant physician and entrepreneur, he's a phenomenal human being who will energize the national conversation around nutrition, exercise and obesity.

What you can do NOW & how you can help. 

Do we really want the NRA to pick the nation's Surgeon General? They've outright said that they will be counting Senators' votes on the matter - which is about as close to [legal] political blackmail as it comes. Even if you support gun ownership, do you think the NRA is qualified to determine who should be Surgeon General?

One small thing you can do right now:

Go to and add your name to the Million plus people who support Vivek for Surgeon General.

Then help us spread the word. Join us on Team Vivek. 

Then reward yourself with this little Daily Show clip on the matter.