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Surgeon General of the
United States
Flag of the United States Surgeon General v1.svg
Flag of the United States Surgeon General
United States Public Health Service (seal).svg
Seal of the United States Public Health Service, 1798
Rear Admiral Susan M. Orsega.jpg
Incumbent
Rear Admiral Susan Orsega
U.S. Public Health Service
Commissioned Corps
Reports to Assistant Secretary for Health
Seat Hubert H. Humphrey Building, United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Washington, D.C.
Appointer President of the United States
with United States Senate advice and consent
Term length 4 years
Constituting instrument 42 U.S.C. § 205 and
42 U.S.C. § 207
Formation March 29, 1871
First holder John M. Woodworth (as Supervising Surgeon)

The Surgeon General of the United States is in charge of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC). They are the main spokesperson about things dealing with public health in the federal government. The Surgeon General's office and staff are known as the Office of the Surgeon General (OSG).

Selection and current office-holder

The Surgeon General is chosen by the U.S. President and confirmed by the Senate. The Surgeon General serves for a four-year period of time. The Surgeon General is either the highest ranking or second highest ranking uniformed officer of the PHSCC. This depends on if the current Assistant Secretary for Health is a PHSCC commissioned officer or not. The position has the grade of a three-star vice admiral .

List of surgeons general of the United States

No. Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Appointed by
(term)
Ref.
Took office Left office Time in office
1 John M. Woodworth.jpg John M. Woodworth
(1837–1879)
March 29, 1871 March 14, 1879 7 years, 350 days Ulysses S. Grant
(1869–1877)
2 Surgeon General John B. Hamilton.jpg Rear Admiral
John B. Hamilton
(1847–1898)
April 3, 1879 June 1, 1891 12 years, 59 days Rutherford B. Hayes
(1877–1881)
3 Walter Wyman, ca. 1898 (B026910).jpg Rear Admiral
Walter Wyman
(1848–1911)
June 1, 1891 November 21, 1911 20 years, 173 days Benjamin Harrison
(1889–1893)
4 Rupert Blue 3.jpg Rear Admiral
Rupert Blue
(1868–1948)
January 13, 1912 March 3, 1920 8 years, 50 days William Howard Taft
(1909–1913)
5 Hugh S. Cumming.jpg Rear Admiral
Hugh S. Cumming
(1869–1948)
March 3, 1920 January 31, 1936 15 years, 334 days Woodrow Wilson
(1913–1921)
6 Thomas Parran, Jr., photo portrait as surgeon general.jpg Rear Admiral
Thomas Parran Jr.
(1892–1968)
April 6, 1936 April 6, 1948 12 years, 0 days Franklin D. Roosevelt
(1933–1945)
7 Rear Admiral Leonard Scheele.jpg Rear Admiral
Leonard A. Scheele
(1907–1993)
April 6, 1948 August 8, 1956 8 years, 124 days Harry S. Truman
(1945–1953)
8 Leroy Edgar Burney, photo portrait as surgeon general.jpg Rear Admiral
Leroy E. Burney
(1906–1998)
August 8, 1956 January 29, 1961 4 years, 174 days Dwight D. Eisenhower
(1953–1961)
9 Luther Terry photo portrait as surgeon general.jpg Luther Terry
(1911–1985)
March 2, 1961 October 1, 1965 4 years, 213 days John F. Kennedy
(1961–1963)
10 William H. Stewart, photo portrait as surgeon general.jpg William H. Stewart
(1921–2008)
October 1, 1965 August 1, 1969 3 years, 304 days Lyndon B. Johnson
(1963–1969)
Portrait gray.png Rear Admiral
Richard A. Prindle
(c. 1926–2001)
Acting
August 1, 1969 December 18, 1969 139 days Richard Nixon
(1969–1974)
11 Jesse Leonard Steinfeld, photo portrait as surgeon general.jpg Jesse L. Steinfeld
(1927–2014)
December 18, 1969 January 30, 1973 3 years, 43 days
Rear Admiral S. Paul Ehrlich, Jr.jpg Rear Admiral
S. Paul Ehrlich Jr.
(1932–2005)
Acting
January 31, 1973 July 13, 1977 4 years, 163 days
12 Julius Richmond, Surgeon General official photo.jpg Vice Admiral
Julius B. Richmond
(1916–2008)
July 13, 1977 January 20, 1981 3 years, 191 days Jimmy Carter
(1977–1981)
1980 John C Greene in Official United States Rear Admiral Uniform.jpg Rear Admiral
John C. Greene
(1936–2016)
Acting
January 21, 1981 May 14, 1981 113 days Ronald Reagan
(1981–1989)
Portrait gray.png Edward Brandt Jr.
(1933–2007)
Acting
May 14, 1981 January 21, 1982 252 days
13 C. Everett Koop, 1980s.jpg Vice Admiral
C. Everett Koop
(1916–2013)
January 21, 1982 October 1, 1989 7 years, 253 days
James O. Mason USPHS.jpg Admiral
James O. Mason
(1930–2019)
Acting
October 1, 1989 March 9, 1990 159 days George H. W. Bush
(1989–1993)
14 VADM Antonia Novello.jpg Vice Admiral
Antonia Novello
(born 1944)
March 9, 1990 June 30, 1993 3 years, 113 days
RADM Robert A Whitney Jr.jpg Rear Admiral
Robert A. Whitney
(born 1935)
Acting
July 1, 1993 September 8, 1993 69 days Bill Clinton
(1993–2001)
15 Joycelyn Elders official photo portrait.jpg Vice Admiral
Joycelyn Elders
(born 1933)
September 8, 1993 December 31, 1994 1 year, 114 days
Audrey Manley, DHHS official bw photo.jpg Rear Admiral
Audrey F. Manley
(born 1934)
Acting
January 1, 1995 July 1, 1997 2 years, 181 days
16 David Satcher official photo portrait.jpg Admiral
David Satcher
(born 1941)
February 13, 1998 February 12, 2002 3 years, 364 days
RADM Kenneth P. Moritsugu, USPHSCC.jpg Rear Admiral
Kenneth P. Moritsugu
(born 1945)
Acting
February 13, 2002 August 4, 2002 172 days George W. Bush
(2001–2009)
17 Richard carmona.jpg Vice Admiral
Richard Carmona
(born 1949)
August 5, 2002 July 31, 2006 3 years, 360 days
RADM Kenneth P. Moritsugu, USPHSCC.jpg Rear Admiral
Kenneth P. Moritsugu
(born 1945)
Acting
August 1, 2006 September 30, 2007 1 year, 60 days
Steven K Galson.jpg Rear Admiral
Steven K. Galson
(born 1956)
Acting
October 1, 2007 October 1, 2009 2 years, 0 days
Donald L. Weaver official portrait.jpg Rear Admiral
Donald L. Weaver
Acting
October 1, 2009 November 3, 2009 33 days Barack Obama
(2009–2017)
18 Regina Benjamin official portrait.jpg Vice Admiral
Regina Benjamin
(born 1956)
November 3, 2009 July 16, 2013 3 years, 255 days
RADM Boris Lushniak acting Surgeon General.jpg Rear Admiral
Boris Lushniak
Acting
July 17, 2013 December 18, 2014 1 year, 154 days
19 Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, USPHS.jpg Vice Admiral
Vivek Murthy
(born 1977)
December 18, 2014 April 21, 2017 2 years, 124 days
Sylvia Trent-Adams Official Portrait.jpg Rear Admiral
Sylvia Trent-Adams
Acting
April 21, 2017 September 5, 2017 137 days Donald Trump
(2017–2021)
20 Jerome Adams 2019.jpg Vice Admiral
Jerome Adams
(born 1974)
September 5, 2017 January 20, 2021 3 years, 137 days
Rear Admiral Susan M. Orsega.jpg Rear Admiral
Susan Orsega
Acting
January 26, 2021 Incumbent 1 day Joe Biden
(2021–present)
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