Jerome Adams one step closer to surgeon general post; 4 more HHS appointees set to go before full Senate

Several Health and Human Services appointments will now go before the full Senate for final approval.
Jerome Adams
Jerome Adams, M.D.

A Senate committee has confirmed Jerome Adams, M.D., as surgeon general, alongside several others tapped for positions in the Department of Health and Human Services.

With approval from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Adams and the four other nominees will now go before the full Senate for confirmation.

Committee Chair Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., urged the entire chamber to move quickly on the nominations so they can be sent “on their missions—including responding to opioid epidemic, preparing for threats like Zika or Ebola and helping Americans struggling with mental illness.”

In addition to approving Adams, the HELP committee confirmed:

  • Lance Allen Robertson as assistant secretary for aging
  • Brett Giroir, M.D., as assistant secretary for health
  • Elinore F. McCance-Katz, M.D., as assistant secretary for mental health and substance abuse, a new position
  • Robert Kadlec, M.D., as assistant secretary for preparedness and response

Prior to the executive session where the committee confirmed the nominees, Alexander said that all five nominees had “impressive qualifications,” and their final approval will fill all remaining assistant secretary positions at HHS.

The HELP committee also confirmed two nominees who would address workplace safety as members of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission: Heather MacDougall and James Sullivan.

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Adams, if confirmed by the full Senate, will replace Vivek Murthy, who was dismissed by the Trump administration in April. Murthy’s views on vaccines clashed with those of President Donald Trump, who has suggested that vaccinations can cause autism.

Committee members questioned Adams about his own views on science during his hearing before the HELP committee, and he said that he would put science ahead of politics if he was named to the Surgeon General post.

“I promise you that I will continue my strong and well-documented track record of reaching out to everyone, regardless of their politics, beliefs, culture or geography,” Adams, who is Indiana’s state health commissioner, said.

Previously, Adams was a staff anesthesiologist and assistant professor of anesthesia at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He holds a master’s degree in public health.