Childhood Obesity Top Issue for Surgeon General Nominee

As he awaits U.S. Senate confirmation to be Surgeon General of the Public Health Service, cardiologist James W. Holsinger, Jr. already has determined one of his signature issues: childhood obesity. Holsinger leads Kentucky's health care system and the University of Kentucky's medical center; his nomination for a four-year term was announced May 23 by President Bush. Holsinger would replace Kenneth Moritsugu, M.D., MPH, who is serving in an acting capacity.

Holsinger is professor of Preventive Medicine in the College of Public Health at UK. He previously was secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and also was chief medical director of the Veterans Health Administration at an earlier stage of his career. He served more than 30 years in the U.S. Army Reserve before retiring in 1993 as a major general. The surgeon general's office is within HHS. Its secretary, Mike Leavitt, called Holsinger "an excellent choice to serve as 'America's doctor.' With our nation facing many important public health issues such as childhood obesity, his experience and expertise is a great addition to the HHS leadership team," Leavitt added. "I look forward to working with Dr. Holsinger, and I encourage the Senate to act quickly on his nomination."

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has not announced a confirmation hearing date for him.

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