Regina Benjamin, M.D., is a rural family physician and a 2008 Fellow at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She was the first black woman to head the State of Alabama Medical Association. On July 13, 2009, President Barack Obama appointed her Surgeon General of the United States.
She is the Founder and CEO of Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in the gulf coast fishing community of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, a town consisting of approximately 2,500 residents that was devastated twice in the past decade by Hurricanes Georges, in 1998, and Katrina, in 2005. After both disasters, and facing scarce resources, Benjamin rebuilt her clinic and set up networks through which she could maintain contact with patients, who became scattered across multiple evacuation sites. She established a family practice in which she treats all incoming patients, many of whom are uninsured. She frequently travels by pickup truck to care for patients in her region who are isolated and/or have limited mobility.
Dr. Benjamin received her B.S. degree in 1979 from Xavier University of Louisiana. She attended Morehouse School of Medicine from 1980 to 1982, and received an M.D. degree in 1984 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She also holds an M.B.A., achieved in 1991, from Tulane University. She completed her residency in family practice at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in 1987. She has served as CEO of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic since its founding in 1990. Benjamin also served as the associate dean for rural health at the University of South Alabama’s College of Medicine and as president of the State of Alabama Medical Association from 2002-2003.
- Lina Bergthold, Why Don't We Have a Surgeon General?, Huffington Post, October 27, 2009
- Kate Kaily, Newsweek blogs The Human Condition: Obama Selects Regina Benjamin As New Surgeon General, We Approve (We Think) Posted July 13, 2009
- USA Today Obama names new Surgeon General, July 13, 2009
- John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Regina Benjamin 2008 MacAurthur Fellows, Biosketch. Accessed July 13, 2009