Surgeon General Planning Three Reports on Youth Issues

United States Surgeon General Regina Benjamin is planning to focus on a number of a youth-related issues during President Barack Obama’s second term, according to her spokesperson, Gayle Converse.

“Dr. Benjamin is currently working on several documents for future release on topics,” Converse said. She said the future releases will include reports on:

  • Prescription drug abuse among youth
  • Underage drinking
  • Youth violence

A Surgeon General has never issued a report on prescription drug abuse before. Acting SG Kenneth Moritsugu in 2007 published a Call to Action on underage drinking.

David Satcher, who served as Surgeon General for Bill Clinton and briefly for George W. Bush, issued an official report on youth violence in 2001. Long before that, in 1972, SG Jesse Steinfeld produced a report on the impact of televised violence.

Benjamin released a report on tobacco use by youth and young adults in 2012, and in 2010 published a Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation, which she promoted alongside First Lady Michelle Obama, who has made curbing childhood obesity a focal point of her time in the White House.

Benjamin was confirmed in 2009. She founded the Rural Health Clinic in Bayou La Batre, Ala., a nonprofit that provides everything from primary care services to lab work and minor surgery in an area where some patients need to make payments in oysters and shrimp.

Her work in Bayou La Batre garnered her a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship – popularly known as a “genius award” – in 2008. The distinction comes with $500,000 over five years to be spent at the recipient’s discretion.

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John Kelly
About John Kelly 1162 Articles
John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change.