President Donald Trump has nominated Indiana State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., to be the next surgeon general.
If confirmed, Adams will be the second top health official with Indiana roots and a connection to Vice President Mike Pence to be appointed by Trump. An anesthesiologist, Adams, 42, was appointed as the head of Indiana’s health services by then-governor Pence in October 2014.
Adams helped take the lead in the state’s efforts to deal with the opioid epidemic. Faced with an outbreak of cases of HIV fueled by intravenous drug use in one area of the state, Adams took a controversial stand in support of syringe exchanges, which he said saved lives.
The White House announced Thursday that Trump would nominate Adams to serve a four-year term as Surgeon General. He will replace Vivek Murthy, M.D., who was fired by the Trump administration in April.
Adams’ nomination must be confirmed by the Senate. In a tweet Thursday, Adams said he was honored by the nomination and that he was “looking forward to working to improve health” in the country.
Prior to taking the health commissioner’s appointment, Adams was a staff anesthesiologist and assistant professor of anesthesia at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb praised Adams as “a dedicated champion for overall health and wellness” who “genuinely cares about citizens in every corner of our state," according to the Indianapolis Business Journal. As health commissioner, Adams focused on curbing the state’s opioid epidemic, high infant mortality rate, high rate of smoking, obesity and HIV epidemic, the Journal said. Trump earlier appointed Seema Verma, who had worked closely with Pence as a health consultant to reform Medicaid programs in Indiana, as head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
In April, Trump dismissed Murthy in the middle of his four-year term. The action came after Murthy, who has been vocal in his support of the value of childhood vaccines, refused to resign. Like Adams, Murthy also focused on the opioid epidemic, releasing a landmark report last November in which he said the country’s addiction crisis is a bigger health problem than cancer.