U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin announced Thursday that she will resign in July, four years after President Obama nominated her for the position.
Benjamin, who oversees the operational command of 6,500 uniformed public health officers around the world, thanked her staff in an e-mail.
“My goal was to create a grassroots movement, to change our health care system from one focused on sickness and disease to a system focused on wellness and prevention. With your help, that movement has begun,” she wrote.
Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services said she is “deeply grateful” for Benjamin’s leadership and service.
“Regina has served as America’s doctor since 2009 and has impacted the health and lives of Americans across the country,” Sebelius wrote in an email to her staff, according to CNN. “The surgeon general’s road to prevention has touched the lives of millions of Americans and has had a positive impact on the health of this nation.”
Deputy Surgeon General Boris D. Lushniak will replace Benjamin in the interim until a permanent selection is made, CNN reported.
As surgeon general, Benjamin chairs the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council, an initiative launched under Obama’s Affordable Care Act to help improve access to health care.
Benjamin, who attended the Morehouse School of Medicine, completed her family medicine residency in Macon, Ga. Prior to her stint as surgeon general, she founded and ran a rural health clinic in Alabama