Report: Obama picks Regina Benjamin for surgeon general

After a long search, the president has reportedly decided to nominate a rural family physician

Published July 13, 2009 2:30PM (EDT)

As one of his most prominent nominees faces the Senate Judiciary Committee, President Obama has reportedly settled on another one. At 11:40 a.m. EDT, he's expected to name Regina Benjamin, a rural family physician from Alabama, as his nominee to be surgeon general.

Benjamin is known for running a clinic in Bayou la Batre, Ala., a small shrimping town on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. She's had to rebuild it twice, once after Hurricane Georges, in 1998, and once after Hurricane Katrina. She was the first African American woman to head a state medical association. In 2008, Benjamin was named a MacArthur Fellow, receiving what's commonly known as the MacArthur genius award -- a $500,000 grant, without any strings or requirements, that's intended for future work.

Earlier this year, Obama had reportedly decided to name CNN's Sanjay Gupta to the post, but Gupta declined the offer.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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