President-elect Barack Obama has offered the post of surgeon general to neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta, who is better known for his work as a CNN correspondent, The
President-elect Barack Obama has offered the post of surgeon general to neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta, who is better known for his work as a CNN correspondent, The Washington Post reports.
Gupta has told administration officials that he wants the job, and the final vetting process is under way. He has asked for a few days to figure out the financial and logistical details of moving his family from Atlanta to Washington but is expected to accept the offer.
When reached for comment today, Gupta did not deny the account but declined to comment.
The offer followed a two-hour Chicago meeting in November with Obama, who said that Gupta could be the highest-profile surgeon general in history and would have an expanded role in providing health policy advice, the sources said. Gupta later spoke with Tom Daschle, Obama’s White House health czar and nominee for Health and Human Services secretary, and other advisers to the president-elect.
The Wall Street Journal mulls Gupta’s qualifications:
Besides his CNN gig, Gupta also appears on CBS and writes for Time Magazine. He was a White House Fellow and a special adviser to Hillary Clinton when she was First Lady. Oh, and he’s a neurosurgeon at Emory and associate chief of the neurosurgery service at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital.
There’s a certain logic to picking a TV talking head to be surgeon general, because the surgeon general is largely a talking head. The top doc does oversee the 6,000-member Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, but the real work of the job is traveling around the country, using the title as a bully pulpit to advance a public health agenda.
In this media-saturated era, who could do that better than a doc who’s famous for explaining health issues on cable TV?
Good point. If the report is confirmed and Gupta accepts, Gupta would become the second high-profile journalist lured away from his current gig to work in the Obama administration, after Time’s Jay Carney, who has signed on as Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s communications director.
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