Lauding the Senate confirmation of 37-year-old Vivek Murthy as the youngest ever Surgeon General, more than a year after his nomination, US President Barack Obama has said the Indian-American physician would hit the ground running as the country's top doctor.
"I applaud the Senate for confirming Vivek Murthy to be our country's next Surgeon General. As 'America's Doctor,' Vivek will hit the ground running to make sure every American has the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe," Obama said in a statement.
The Senate confirmed Murthy's nomination by 51 to 43 votes.
He'll bring his lifetime of experience promoting public health to bear on priorities ranging from stopping new diseases to helping our kids grow up healthy and strong, he added.
The President further said Murthy will also help us build on the progress we've made combatting Ebola, both in our country and at its source.
He is the first ever Indian-American to occupy the post. Regarding the tasks at hand for Murthy, Obama said: Combined with the crucial support for fighting Ebola included in the bill to fund our government next year, Vivek's confirmation makes us better positioned to save lives around the world and protect the American people here at home.
Senate majority Leader Harry Reid said: He will make a fine Surgeon General and will be the first Indian-American in this position. As a physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, he served his community while also educating the next generation of doctors as an instructor at Harvard Medical School.
The Indian-American community, a number of top lawmakers and anti-gun lobbying groups welcomed Senate's decision noting that this was long awaited and this has resulted in defeat of the strong pro-gun lobby group represented by the powerful National Rifle Association.
His (Dr Murthy's) confirmation is an epic victory for all Americans, said M R Rangaswami, founder of Indiaspora, who had led the community's effort in support of Murthy at the Capitol Hill along with other Indian-Americans and the influential Asian American Physician of Indian Origin (AAPI).
This process will be a case study on how Indian Americans came together to stand up for someone in our community who deserved to be confirmed months ago. It demonstrates our growing strength and influence when we come together for a common objective, he said.
"I hope that this victory will be a catalyst for our community to become more engaged with public issues in the future, he added. It is a great day for the Indian American community," said eminent Indian-American Shekar Narasimhan, who along with a number of other community leaders were present in the Senate Gallery during the voting.