'GMA' Exclusive: New Surgeon General Takes on Critics

The new U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Regina Benjamin, speaks out for the first time about her appointment as the nation's top doctor and the personal criticisms that came with it.

"I'm a woman, just like everyone else," Benjamin said in the exclusive interview with Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America," which airs Monday. "I want to be attractive. You don't want to see those negative things, people calling you names."

Since President Barack Obama officially named Benjamin surgeon general in July, critics have pointed to her "full figure" and asked whether it undermines her credibility in the post.

Benjamin, who was the first African-American woman to head a state medical society, and received a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" in 2007, also shared her view on the health care bill that's being debated in the Senate and how personal experience shaped it.

"I've seen what happens when you don't have good coverage. That's the people I treat. I couldn't treat everybody," she said.

As far as becoming the new head doctor for 300 million new "patients," Benjamin said she's ready to do what she can to help.

"I have to make America my patient," she said.

Tune in to "Good Morning America" Monday at 7 a.m. ET to see the full interview with Dr. Regina Benjamin.

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