HAF Applauds Confirmation of Hindu American Physician as U.S. Surgeon General

Washington, D.C. (December 15, 2014) - The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) celebrated the U.S. Senate's confirmation of Dr. Vivek Murthy to be the U.S. Surgeon General, in a vote that concluded minutes ago. HAF leaders joined a broad coalition in demanding that the U.S. Senate call for a vote to confirm Murthy, who will now be the first Indian and Hindu American to serve as Surgeon General.

"Today is a proud day for Hindu Americans and a great day for all Americans who will be served by an accomplished doctor whose career is defined by service," noted Dr. Aseem Shukla, a pediatric urologist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and a member of HAF's Board of Directors. "The Senate's historic vote means that Americans can benefit from the leadership of a healthcare visionary."

Murthy's nomination was confirmed by a vote of 51-43, after months of uncertainty. Despite confirmation hearings marked by Murthy's elaborate discussion of his policy focus on mental health, obesity, and vaccinations, the nomination was endangered by a sustained attack by the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA sought to torpedo Murthy based on tweets he had sent calling for background checks on gun owners in the wake of the Connecticut school shootings that left 26 dead. HAF, along with a broad coalition of health advocates and community leaders, worked to organize supporters, call Senate offices, and build momentum behind the nomination.

HAF mobilized its network of supporters to call Senators, meet with their staff, and write letters on Murthy's behalf. HAF staff personally connected with every Senate office to discuss the nomination, and Dr. Shukla wrote a widely cited editorial in Dr. Murthy's support.

"Today's vote is a culmination of months of hard work and perseverance," noted Harsh Voruganti, HAF's Associate Director of Public Policy. "We are excited that the Senate chose to stand with America's doctors and families by confirming Dr. Murthy and rejecting the cynical NRA campaign against him."

Beyond his focus on stated health priorities, Murthy will additionally be charged with assisting in the response to the Ebola outbreak and other health crises.

Like Murthy, HAF found itself in opposition to the NRA in the wake of the same massacre in Connecticut when it wrote a letter to President Obama urging strong legislation to strengthen background checks and ban high capacity assault rifles.

"The NRA reflexively opposed Dr. Murthy's nomination for views that very much reflect our own--we were proud to stand with Dr. Murthy in this good fight," added Shukla.