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United States Surgeon General

The United States Surgeon General of the Public Health Service is a presidentially appointed position in the government of the United States.

The Surgeon General is the head of the 6,000-member Commissioned Corps[?] of the United States Public Health Service, a troop of emergency health professionals who are on call 24 hours a day, and can be dispatched by the Surgeon General in the event of a public health emergency.

The Surgeon General also has many informal duties, such as educating the American public about health issues, and advocating healthy lifestyle choices.

The office also periodically issues health warnings. Perhaps the best known example of this is the "Surgeon General's Warning" labels that can be found on all packages of American cigarettes.

Past American Surgeon Generals have often been characterized by their outspoken personalities and often controversial proposals on how to reform the US health system. Because the office is not a paticularly powerful one, and has little direct impact on policy-making, Surgeon Generals are often vocal advocates of unconventional, unusual, or even unpopular health policies. General C. Everett Koop and Joycelyn Elders were two paticularly colorful former Surgeons General who were well-known for their controversial ideas.

The Office of the Surgeon General was an independent government agency until 1953 at which point it was intergrated into the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and later into the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

United States Surgeons General

Name Term of Office Appointed by
John Maynard Woodworth[?] March 29, 1871 - March 14, 1879 Ulysses S. Grant
John B. Hamilton[?] April 3, 1879 - June 1, 1891 Rutherford B. Hayes
Walter Wyman[?] June 1, 1891 - November 21, 1911 Benjamin Harrison
Rupert Blue[?] January 13, 1912 - March 3, 1920 William Taft
Hugh Cumming[?] March 3, 1920 - April 6, 1936 Warren Harding
Thomas Parran[?] April 6, 1936 - April 6, 1948 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Leonard A. Scheele[?] April 6, 1948 - August 8, 1956 Harry S. Truman
LeRoy Edgar Burney[?] August 1, 1956 - January 29, 1961 Dwight Eisenhower
Luther Leonidas Terry[?] March 2, 1961 - October 1, 1965 John F. Kennedy
William H. Stewart[?] October 1, 1965 - August 1, 1969 Lyndon Johnson
Jesse Leonard Steinfeld[?] December 18, 1969 - June 30, 1973 Richard Nixon
Paul Ehrlich, Jr[?] July 1, 1973 - July 13, 1977 Richard Nixon
Julius B. Richmond[?] July 13, 1977 - May 14, 1981 Jimmy Carter
Edward Brandt, Jr.[?] May 14, 1981 - January 21, 1982 Jimmy Carter
C. Everett Koop January 21, 1982 - October 1, 1989 Ronald Reagan
James O. Mason[?] October 1, 1989 - March 9, 1990 George H. W. Bush
Antonia Coello Novello[?] March 9, 1990 - June 30, 1993 George H. W. Bush
Robert A. Whitney[?] July 1, 1993 - September 8, 1993 Bill Clinton
Joycelyn Elders September 8, 1993 - December 31, 1994 Bill Clinton
Audrey F. Manley[?] January 1, 1995 - July 1, 1997 Bill Clinton
David Satcher[?] February 13, 1998 - August 5, 2002 Bill Clinton
Richard Carmona[?] August 5, 2002- George W. Bush

External Links:

Official website of the US Surgeon General (http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/sgoffice.htm)

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