Vivek Murthy: US Senate approves surgeon general

Dr Vivek Murthy Image copyright AP
Image caption Dr Murthy is the youngest surgeon general in US history

The US Senate has approved Vivek Murthy as the new surgeon general, the first Indian-American to step into that role.

The US has been without a Senate-confirmed surgeon general since July 2013. The surgeon general is an advocate for people's health.

Dr Murthy, 37, is a physician at a Boston hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School.

Son of immigrants from India, he is also the co-founder of a group that has pushed for affordable health care.

Dr Murthy won the confirmation on a vote of 51-43 amid opposition from Republicans and some Democrats over his support for gun control and past statements that gun violence was a public health issue, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Born into a family that hails from the southern Indian state of Karnataka, Dr Murthy is the youngest surgeon general in US history.

President Barack Obama said in a statement that Dr Murthy's confirmation "makes us better positioned to save lives around the world and protect the American people here at home".

His nomination was backed by more than 100 public health organisations which called him a "well-qualified, forward thinking, innovative leader with a strong commitment to public health".

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