Regina Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A., is the NOLA.com/Times Picayune Endowed Chair in Public Health Sciences at Xavier University of Louisiana. Appointed in September 2013, Dr. Benjamin returned to her alma mater with the intent to make Xavier an international center for public health. She emphasizes the importance of prevention by working with local, state, and national health officials, organizing conferences, teaching and mentoring.
Dr. Benjamin was appointed by President Barack Obama as the 18th Surgeon General of the United States in 2009, and the physician and former Vice Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps served a four-year term from 2009 – 2013. As Surgeon General, Dr. Benjamin oversaw the command of more than six thousand uniformed public health officers serving in locations around the world. She focused national attention heavily on health promotion and disease prevention. Dr. Benjamin served simultaneously as the first chair of the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council (National Prevention Council)- 17 cabinet-level Federal agencies that developed the National Prevention Strategy, a road map for improving the nation’s health.
Dr. Benjamin previously directed a non-profit primary care medical clinic in Bayou La Batre, Alabama and served on the board of trustees for the Morehouse School of Medicine. She was a former associate dean for rural health at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in Mobile, Alabama and chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States. In 1995, she was the first physician under age 40 and the first African American woman to be elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees.
Dr. Benjamin holds B.S. in chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana, an M.D. degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an M.B.A. from Tulane University. She attended Morehouse School of Medicine and completed her family medicine residency in Macon, Georgia. Dr. Benjamin is the recipient of 22 honorary degrees.