Dr. Regina Benjamin
Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA served as the 18th Surgeon General of the United States. As America’s doctor, she provided the public with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and the health of the nation. She also oversaw the operational command of 6,500 uniformed public health officers around the world who promote and protect the health of the American people. She likewise served as chair of the National Prevention Council.
From her early days as the founder of a rural health clinic in Alabama, which she kept in operation despite the destruction of Hurricanes Georges and Katrina, to her leadership in the worldwide advancement of preventive healthcare, Dr. Benjamin has forged a career that has been recognized around the world.
Dr. Benjamin holds a BS in chemistry from Xavier University, an MD from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an MBA from Tulane University. She completed her family medicine residency in Macon, GA. Dr. Benjamin is the recipient of 22 honorary degrees.
She is the former associate dean for rural health at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and past chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States. In 1995, she became the first physician under age 40 and the first African American woman elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees. She served as president of the American Medical Association Education and Research Foundation and chair of the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. In 2002, she became the first African American female president of a state medical society in the United States when she assumed leadership of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. Dr. Benjamin is a member of the Institute of Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. She was chosen as a Kellogg National Fellow and a Rockefeller Next Generation Leader. Past board memberships include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Catholic Health Association and the Morehouse School of Medicine.
TIME magazine named Dr. Benjamin one of the “Nation’s 50 Future Leaders Age 40 and Under” and she was featured in the 1995 New York Times article, “Angel in a White Coat.” She was on the December 1999 cover of Clarity magazine, featured in the 2002 People magazine article, “Always on Call,” and featured on the January 2003 cover of Reader’s Digest as one of the national publication’s “Everyday Heroes.” ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings named Dr. Benjamin “Person of the Week” and CBS This Morning named her “Woman of the Year.”
In 1998, Dr. Benjamin was the U.S. recipient of the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights. She received the 2000 National Caring Award (inspired by Mother Teresa) and was recognized with the Papal Honor Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice from Pope Benedict XVI. In 2008, she was honored with a MacArthur Genius Award fellowship. In 2011, Dr. Benjamin became the recipient of the Chairman’s Award during the international broadcast of the 42nd NAACP Image Awards. In May 2013, Reader’s Digest ranked her No. 22 out of the “100 Most Trusted People in America.”