For Immediate Release
June 29, 2017
MSSNY Supports Dr. Jerome M. Adams’ Nomination as US Surgeon General
Indiana State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, has been nominated as Surgeon General of the US by President Donald Trump.
Trained as an anesthesiologist, Adams has been outspoken about the risks of prescription opioid painkillers and the need to address the opioid epidemic. Dr. Adams took the helm at the Indiana Health Department in October 2014. Just a month later, the first cases of what would later be recognized as a full-blown HIV outbreak were detected in the community of Austin in southeastern Indiana. The virus was being spread primarily by intravenous drug users sharing needles to inject the prescription opioid oxymorphone. In 2015, Dr. Adams worked to persuade then Governor Michael Pence to authorize an emergency needle exchange for 30 days, although Governor Pence was morally against needle sharing.
MSSNY President Charles N. Rothberg, MD, stated, “Dr. Adams has a proven track record to make public health a priority despite political hurdles. He is reminiscent of Dr. C. Everett Koop (US Surgeon General, 1982-1989), who was a champion of public health. Dr. Adams is in touch with the public needs.”
Dr. Adams wrote in May 2015, “We are building a model for prevention and response should this type of outbreak happen in other communities in the US. I would like nothing better than to tell you this unprecedented HIV epidemic will never happen anywhere else. But I can’t do that.”
In July of 2016, Indiana joined the list of states with standing orders for naloxone, the antidote to revive people who overdose on opioids. Subsequently, Indiana, residents can go to registered pharmacies, nonprofit organizations, and health centers and get naloxone without needing a prescription.
In 2016, Dr. Adams gave a presentation on fighting the spread of hepatitis C and HIV at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta. He said in his presentation, “Speak to your audience in their language. To change behavior, public health program workers need to confront ignorance and denial, conduct small pilot programs, and use successes to gain support.”
Dr. Adams earned bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry and biopsychology from the University of Maryland in 1997. He then earned a master’s degree in public health from the University of California at Berkley, and a medical degree from the Indiana University Medical School. He has been a researcher at medical schools in both the Netherlands and Zimbabwe and has worked under Nobel Prize winner Dr. Tom Cech.
Dr. Adams is married and has three children.
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Founded in 1807, the Medical Society of the State of New York is the state’s principal non-profit professional organization for physicians, residents and medical students of all specialties. Its mission is to represent the interests of patients and physicians to assure quality healthcare services for all.
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