No doubt about it, COVID is on the mind of the United States Surgeon General. Speaking on television Tuesday, Dr. Jerome Adams indicated there were green shoots of hope. “The mitigation is working,” Dr. Adams said. “It tells us social distancing, practicing good hygiene, and the 30-day guidelines for America are effective and will help us get to the other side of this unfortunate tragedy.”
As the country rallies against the coronavirus disease, Dr. Adams said the government will do two million COVID-19 testings this week. The surgeon general added that by the end of the month there will be diagnostic and surveillance testing across the country. The industry is also on board with antibody testing.
According to the medical community, there are tests that check the blood for antibodies — providing confirmation of infection and possible protection. And then there are diagnostic tests that confirm whether someone has an active infection, which could be useful to form better estimates of the scale of infection and the death rate of the virus.
Speaking on the death rate of blacks and ethnic minorities, the surgeon general said the CDC is tracking the disease demographically.
“Long before COVID-19, my office has been talking about health equity,” Dr. Adams said. “Blacks are more likely to have diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and I’ve shared myself, personally, that I have high blood pressure, that I have heart disease, asthma, and I’m pre-diabetic. I represent that legacy of growing up poor in America and I and many black Americans are at higher risk for COVID.”
The surgeon general said whether we are white, black, brown or yellow, wearing a face mask will help protect ourselves and each other.
“We will get through this,” he said.
Dr. Jerome M. Adams was sworn in as Surgeon General by Vice President Mike Pence at the Office of the Vice President in Washington D.C.
As the No. 1 doctor in the United States, Dr. Adams gives Americans the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce the risk of illness and injury.
Since he graduated in 2002 from the Indiana School of Medicine, which educates future physicians and conducts advanced medical research throughout Indiana, Dr. Adams has put himself on the path to success.
“Dr. Jerome Adams distinguished himself as an anesthesiologist at Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, which serves our most vulnerable citizens, and as a clinical associate professor of anesthesiology at Indiana University,” Vice President Pence said on his appointment.
As Indiana health commissioner from 2014 to 2017, Adams dealt with infant mortality in high-risk areas and the opioid-fueled-HIV/AIDS epidemic in rural areas.
“ We had an extraordinarily diverse cabinet when he (Pence) was governor, and he took a chance on this young, African-American guy from the East Coast to be his health commissioner,” Adams said at his swearing-in ceremony as the top doctor.
Dr. Adams has a master of public health degree from the University of California at Berkeley, a medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine, and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
How a medical doctor was born
Jerome Adams’s father, who is a U.S. military veteran and retired tech Maryland teacher, said that one experience that might have left a lasting impression on his son was going to hospital twenty-two times in one year because of his childhood asthma attacks.
Another experience that served as an inspiration was the Ebola virus outbreak in Zimbabwe. Adams did research in the southern African country as a biochemistry student attached to the Meyerhoff Scholars Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).
“A Distinguished Meyerhoff Scholar”
According to UMBC, the Meyerhoff program has graduated over 900 students since 1993. To date, alumni from the program have earned 198 Ph. D.s, 239 Masters degrees, as well as 107 M.D. degrees. Some work as scientists, researchers, teachers, and physicians.
As surgeon general, Dr. Adams is a commissioned officer in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and by law holds the rank of vice admiral (three stars). The Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service Corps is one of the seven Uniformed Services.
“Both the position of Surgeon General, and the United States Public Health Corps that the Surgeon General leads, are an extremely important component of our national health education and response,” Dr. Adams said at his nomination hearing chaired by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee this August.
Prevention, wellness, and health promotion
The Public Health Service Commissioned Corps has approximately 6,500 uniformed health officers who serve in 600 locations around the world to promote, protect and advance the health and safety of America and the world.
“Whether we are facing infectious diseases like Ebola and Zika, or natural disasters like earthquakes and Hurricane Katrina, or human-caused tragedies like 9/11 and the opioid epidemic, our country and our world need this ready to respond army of health experts,” Dr. Adams said.
He also added that while many people call the surgeon general America’s top doctor ”one person can’t be all things to health and doesn’t give proper consideration to the vital role partnerships play in the success of this position,” Dr. Adams said.
“The position of Surgeon General carries with it tremendous power to convene supporters (as well as detractors), and to facilitate health and wellness discussions,” Adams said. “The power of the position comes from the even wider array of health crusaders that can be mobilized from a multitude of sectors across our country if the platform is used properly.”
Dr. Adams has served in leadership positions at a number of professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, the Indiana State Medical Association and the Indiana Society of Anesthesiologists. He is the immediate past Chair of the Professional Diversity Committee for the American Society of Anesthesiologists