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Acting Surgeon General Message to the Corps
14 August 2006
Just a couple of weeks ago, Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona completed his 4-year term as Surgeon General. In his parting message, he outlined how far we have come over the past 4 years, and how much we have to be proud of, as a Commissioned Corps.
I am humbled and feel very privileged that Secretary Leavitt has asked me to be the Acting Surgeon General, while the President seeks a nominee to fill this position. I will do my best to fulfill the roles and responsibilities of the position with honor and distinction. I look forward to continuing to work with all of you as the transformation of the Corps moves forward and the culture of our Corps continues to evolve to meet the needs of our Nation for the 21st century.
I had the good fortune of working closely with Surgeons General Satcher and Carmona as their Deputy. They, and my 36 years of service in our uniform, have influenced what I now bring to the position as Acting Surgeon General.
As a specialist in public health, who has had the privilege of serving our Nation in such varied areas as health professions education; service to the underserved; design, implementation, and direction of a complex healthcare system; and administration of the Commissioned Corps, I embrace the public health priorities of prevention, public health preparedness, and eliminating health disparities, as well as the overarching need for improving health literacy. These have been the priorities of Dr. Carmona, Secretary Leavitt, and our President. These are my priorities as well. I am deeply committed to these priorities and to communicating their importance to the American people.
The Corps mission of protecting, promoting, and advancing the health and safety of the Nation became stronger under Dr. Carmona's leadership and mentoring. It is my pledge to all of you that I will continue to do all in my power to further this mission and enhance the power and the stature of the Corps. We have much to be proud of and we must make every effort to exemplify "the few, the proud, and the most visible (not the invisible)." Please join with me in working to ensure the Corps has a bright and distinguished future.
The position of Surgeon General is to serve as the Nation's top doctor, providing the people of our great Nation the best science, information, and advice regarding how to improve their health and to enjoy a life that is both long and of good quality. The Surgeon General also serves as the operational leader and commander of our Commissioned Corps. While I occupy this position as Acting Surgeon General, I will strive steadfastly to lead our Corps and fully carry out the responsibilities of this office in service to all people.
The transformation of our Corps has been proceeding very well, and has been increasing in tempo. Our President, our Secretary, our Assistant Secretary for Health, all acknowledge the present and future contributions of our Corps to the health and safety of our Nation. We are beyond the tipping point, and we need to work together to continue this momentum, in the best interests of the people we serve.
Let us not slow down or pause; I do not intend to do so, and I charge all officers to join in assuring the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service is the premier health corps of our Nation.
Kenneth P. Moritsugu, M.D., M.P.H.
Acting Surgeon General
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