Dr Vivek Murthy had already served as the youngest Surgeon General as appointed by former President Barack Obama.

Dr VIvek Murthy has family origins in KarnatakaFile image/FB
news US Elections Sunday, November 08, 2020 - 17:37

Indian-American physician Dr Vivek Murthy, who is from Mandya is expected to co-chair the coronavirus task force which President-elect Joe Biden is going to announce on Monday.  Dr Murthy’s family originally hails from Karnataka’s Mandya district, was appointed America's 19th Surgeon General by the then president Barack Obama in 2014.


Born in the UK, he was the youngest ever to hold the office at the age of 37. He was later asked to step down by the Trump administration. Prior to his appointment as the Surgeon General, he was appointed as part of the advisory group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative Public Health in 2011.


In his illustrious career, he has served as the Vice Admiral of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps which worked in containing  the Ebola and Zika viruses. He along with his sister Rashmi has co-founded a peer-to-peer HIV/AIDS education program in India and the United States.


He was also instrumental in co-founding the non-profit organization Doctors for America which advocated  creating a high quality, affordable health care system for all. 


According to a report, Dr Murthy visits his native village of Hallegere of Maddur taluk every year and hails from a politically connected family. His grandfather HT Narayan Shetty was known to be a close aide of late Karnataka Chief Minister D Devaraj Urs. His father Dr HN Lakshmi Narasimha Murthy is also a doctor and an alumni of Mysore Medical College and had migrated to the UK. However, he finally moved to Florida with his entire family after briefly staying in Canada for a brief period. 


The report had said the family runs the Scope Foundation which is associated with many charity activities including free medical camps in the region. Among other things, the organisation also donated many computers to government schools in the nearby schools. 

Biden, in his victory speech in Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday night, said, “On Monday, I will name a group of leading scientists and experts as Transition Advisors to help take the Biden-Harris COVID-19 plan and convert it into an action blueprint that starts on January 20th, 2021 .The President-elect, however, did not announce who would lead that task force.

The Washington Post said that the task force would be co-chaired by Dr Murthy, the former Surgeon General, and David Kessler, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner.

The task force could begin meeting within days, the daily said. In his victory speech, Biden said that the plan will be built on a bedrock of science. It will be constructed out of compassion, empathy and concern. I will spare no effort or commitment to turn this pandemic around, he said.

During the campaign period, Murthy emerged as one of the top advisors of Biden on public health and coronavirus issues. Many believe that he might end up being the Health Secretary in the Biden administration.

In May, the Biden Campaign appointed Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and Dr Murthy as co-chairs to the Healthcare Task Force. At a fundraiser organised by Indian-Americans in September which was addressed by Biden, Murthy had said that Biden is the kind of guy he would like to invite home for dinner.

“Joe Biden is the kind of guy I would love to bring home to have dinner with my mom and dad, Murthy had said in his opening remarks, adding that some homemade Masala Dosas would be served,” Dr Murthy said.

“He's authentic. He's real. And he says what he thinks and that's something I really love about him. He says what's on his mind. He's honest and true,” he added. The US is currently the world's worst-hit nation from the pandemic after it emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan last year.

The US has reported over 9,849,000 COVID-19 cases and over 237,000 people have died, according to latest statistics from Johns Hopkins University.

(With PTI inputs)

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