Alabama-native Regina Benjamin stepping down as U.S. Surgeon Gen - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Alabama-native Regina Benjamin stepping down as U.S. Surgeon General

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Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Regina M. Benjamin. (SurgeonGeneral.gov) Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Regina M. Benjamin. (SurgeonGeneral.gov)

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin says she plans to step down next month after four years as "America's doctor."

In an email to staff Wednesday, Benjamin said she will remain involved in public health. As surgeon general, she promoted disease prevention, smoking cessation and healthy lifestyles, particularly among minorities. Benjamin oversaw a report that documented how smoking, even an occasional cigarette or secondhand smoke, can cause immediate damage to the human body.

A native of Alabama, Benjamin is widely respected for founding a rural health clinic in that state, which she kept going although it was wiped out three times by fire and hurricanes. She plans to volunteer seeing patients at the clinic.

Health and Human Services spokeswoman Dori Salcido said the administration is grateful for Benjamin's service.

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