Surgeon General removed from post by Trump administration, replaced by deputy

PHOTO: U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is interviewed during the SxSW Conference at the Austin Convention Center on March 10, 2017 in Austin, Texas. Jim Bennett/Getty Images
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is interviewed during the SxSW Conference at the Austin Convention Center on March 10, 2017 in Austin, Texas.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy was removed from his post by the Trump administration and has been replaced temporarily by his deputy.

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Murthy, an appointee of former President Obama, announced on Friday that he resigned.

Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Alleigh Marré said in a statement that Murthy was asked to step down.

"Dr. Murthy, the leader of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, was asked to resign from his duties as Surgeon General after assisting in a smooth transition into the new Trump Administration,," Marré said.

The statement continued, "Dr. Murthy has been relieved of his duties as Surgeon General and will continue to serve as a member of the Commissioned Corps. Secretary [Tom] Price thanks him for his dedicated service to the nation."

Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams, a nurse who served as Murthy's deputy, will serve as the acting Surgeon General, according to the statement.

Murthy, a physician, began serving in the post in December 2014.

He wrote in a Facebook post announcing his departure, "While I had hoped to do more to help our nation tackle its biggest health challenges, I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to have served."

He continued, "For the grandson of a poor farmer from India to be asked by the president to look out for the health of an entire nation was a humbling and uniquely American story. I will always be grateful to our country for welcoming my immigrant family nearly 40 years ago and giving me this opportunity to serve."

"As my colleague Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams takes over as acting Surgeon General, know that our nation is in capable and compassionate hands," Murthy wrote.

As of Friday evening, Trent-Adams' photo had replaced Murthy's on the surgeon general's Twitter and Facebook pages, and her biography on the Surgeon General's website cited her new title.

In addition to her duties as deputy Surgeon General, Trent-Adams also served as the chief nurse officer of the U.S. Public Health Service from November 2013 through May 2016. In this role, she advised the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the recruitment, assignment, deployment, retention, and career development of Corps nurse professionals.

Prior to joining the Office of the Surgeon General, Trent-Adams was the deputy associate administrator for the HIV/AIDS Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration.