The Next Surgeon General

What should  the US Surgeon General be like?

As Donald Trump prepares to assume the presidency, media outlets are aflutter with his nominees for Cabinet positions, and office seekers are glued to telephones calling for Executive Branch jobs. Amidst the tumult, President-elect Trump should soon consider another job that must be filled. It is less powerful than many cabinet positions, but often high profile. It deals not with bombs or buildings but with health and humanity. With Ebola just behind us, and who-knows-what disease disaster just ahead of us, this job is crucial. Donald Trump must select the next Surgeon General (SG) of the United States.

C. Everett Koop (1916-2013, SG 1982-1989) had recently retired as the Surgeon General when I graduated from the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in 1991. He was our commencement speaker, and his words shaped my thoughts as a young doctor. This article will review the job of Surgeon General, and consider some attributes that have made recent Surgeons General successful. Many have served as acting Surgeon General since the post tends to be low on Presidential appointment priority lists, but we will only consider the appointed office holders here.

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Public Health

A compendium of articles in outside sources written by Dr. Harris and looking at Public Health. 

In 2009 I wrote an article detailing the three most important factors in ensuring the health and security of a people: societal stability, public health, and primary care. The article studied the Black Death, the Great Influenza, and other key events in history to determine how these three factors, or lack thereof, impacted people’s lives.

In 2016 this has not changed. Large outbreaks like Ebola and Zika, and smaller ones like Influenza and Salmonella, impact the world every day. Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, and injuries of all sorts, remain major threats to health. New hazards arise, whether from pollution or exposure to untested industrial chemicals. And as always, unhealthy lifestyle choices cause more early disease and death than anything else.

Meanwhile, as nations and individuals sink further into debt, public health funding declines. Greater need and fewer resources in public health mean that professionals in that field need to work smarter. Articles below are intended to help these public health and other medical professionals meet their mission.

American Family Physician

High Altitude Medicine

Bioterrorism

Military Medicine

Hearing threshold comparisons between 2001-02 NHANES and 2003-05 Fort Bliss U.S. Army Service components

Modeling hospital response to mild and severe influenza pandemic scenarios under normal and expanded capacities

Comparison of nondeployable hearing profiles by Army component (Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve) and by gender

Preventive medicine in Task Force 1st Armored Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom

Medical reference databases used by Army primary care physicians in field environments

Other

Infectious Disease in Athletes 

Laser eye injuries in military occupations

Societal stability, public health and primary care as three pillars of defence in biosecurity

Vaccinating health care workers against smallpox in an isolated primary care facility

 

Attachments

Outbreak Investigation