Nurse named as acting US surgeon general

Registered nurse and Rear Admiral Susan Orsega will serve as surgeon general pending the appointment of Dr. Vivek H. Murthy.

Ian Snug
4 February 2021
Susan Orsega

The role of the Surgeon General is provide American’s with guidence on health.

Registered nurse and Rear Admiral Susan Orsega will serve as acting US Surgeon General after being appointed by President Joe Biden on 27 January 2020.

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The role of the U.S. Surgeon General is to provide Americans with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce the risk of illness and injury.

They also oversees the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, an elite group of over 6,000 uniformed officers who are public health professionals.

Orsega is a nurse practitioner who has worked at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health before being named chief nurse officer of the USPHS in 2016.

She has extensive public health emergency and disaster care experience, having served on 15 national and international disaster U.S. government missions. She was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing in 2016.

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Orsega will serve as surgeon general pending the appointment of Dr. Vivek H. Murthy.

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) said they welcome the news that a nurse has been appointed to the prestigious role.

ICN President Annette Kennedy said, “This pandemic has taught us the critical importance of having more nurses in leadership positions.

“We are delighted that President Biden has recognised this and we congratulate Admiral Orsega on her nomination to this powerful position.”

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American Association of Nurse Practitioners president Sophia L. Thomas added that Orsega’s “experience and training as a [nurse practitioner], combined with her unrivaled expertise in both public health and disaster response, are exactly what our nation needs to navigate our country’s current health care challenges”.

“We are honored that an AANP Fellow will serve in this capacity and look forward to working with her as we combat COVID-19 and meet the health care needs of all Americans,” she added.

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