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Regina Benjamin Continues Crusade for Wellness

Rene Letourneau, for HealthLeaders Media, September 26, 2013

A Q&A with the former Surgeon General on her new position, the importance of early health habits, and why New Orleans is a natural laboratory for wellness.

After serving almost four years as U.S. Surgeon General, Regina Benjamin, MD, resigned the position in July and was named the first Endowed Chair in Public Health Sciences at Xavier University in New Orleans.


Regina Benjamin


Regina Benjamin, MD

For Benjamin, the new role is a return to her alma mater and an opportunity to continue her work promoting public health and the power of prevention. A long-time champion of physical activity, smoking cessation, and healthful eating, Benjamin chaired the National Prevention Council during her tenure as Surgeon General and says she intends to keep advocating wellness while at Xavier.

She spoke recently with HealthLeaders Media about her plans to use her new position to broaden her mission and about what she sees as the best way to confront the challenges facing the nation's healthcare system.

HealthLeaders Media: What will be your first priority in your new role?

Benjamin: At Xavier, I am beginning to develop the department of public health. I'll be working with the faculty and staff on promoting Xavier in becoming an international center in public health. It's one of the only schools with a bachelor's degree in public health because most schools only offer it as a master's degree. With my focus being on prevention, I want to get these students involved in their communities early on in their careers.

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