Dr. Regina Benjamin
President Obama has nominated a Catholic health care leader to serve as Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin. She is a graduate of Xavier University in Louisiana, founded by St. Katharine Drexel.
Whispers in the Loggia writes about her:
Founder of a rural Alabama health clinic for the poor that was devastated three times (twice by hurricanes, once by fire) since its founding in 1990, Dr Regina Benjamin was reelected to a second term on the board of the US' Catholic Health Association at its yearly assembly last month in New Orleans. Even more notably, though, Benjamin's work both at home and nationally were recognized in 2006 when Pope Benedict awarded her the papal cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice ("For the Church and the Pontiff") -- the Roman accolade reserved for laity, religious and permanent deacons who've given distinguished service to the church.
The first African-American woman to lead a state medical association, the 53 year-old nominee -- whose grandmother helped found a Black Catholic parish, its first Masses offered in her living room -- must be confirmed by the Senate before she can become the nation's "top doc."
In the meantime, CHA President Sr Carol Keehan "rejoice[d] for the nation" in a statement released just after this morning's announcement:
In Dr. Benjamin, we have a brilliant physician who understands health care, nationally and internationally; but even more important, she knows the health care needs of the people of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, who she meets on a daily basis.Dr. Benjamin will enrich the nation because she brings competence and integrity to this very important role. This is coupled with the daily experience of trying to meet the health care needs of a very vulnerable community. Our nation will greatly benefit from her leadership and her background in national and international efforts to deliver quality health care.CHA congratulates Dr. Benjamin and looks forward to working with her to improve the health of our great country.