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‘Grandson of Poor Indian Farmer’: ‘America’s Doctor’ Vivek Murthy

Dr Vivek Murthy spoke of his family’s ties to India, and his humble beginnings in his parents’ immigrant clinic.

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They taught me that the best doctor is not an authority figure who writes prescriptions, but rather a partner in healing, Dr. Murthy said of his immigrant parents.
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In his first address as Surgeon General-Elect under the Biden Administration, Dr Vivek Murthy spoke of his family's ties to India, and his humble beginnings in his parents' immigrant clinic.

His address as 'America's Doctor' struck notes of gratitude and an empathy, speaking of the challenge of combatting a global pandemic ahead of him.

“COVID-19 is not the only health crisis we face – if anything, it has underscored a host of other epidemics that are devastating families and shortening lifespans: addiction; the opioid crisis; and spiralling mental health concerns; glaring racial disparities; and high rates of diabetes and heart disease.

“These challenges are both caused and exacerbated by broader societal issues – from the economic strains families face to the disconnection and loneliness many of us feel,” Dr Murthy said in his address.

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Attributing his success and humility to his parents who came to America as immigrants, Dr Murthy said “I will come to this role as a doctor – one who learned the most important lessons about medicine not in medical school, but in the clinic my parents opened when they first came to America as immigrants decades ago.

“As a child, I saw how they took the time not just to diagnose illnesses, but to ask about their patients’ families and lives, happily poring over photos of children and grandchildren taken from wallets, listening deeply to people’s stories and struggles, often running well over the appointment time.

“They taught me that the best doctor is not an authority figure who writes prescriptions, but rather a partner in healing, someone who sees patients in their fullest humanity and empowers them to take control of their health.”

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He concluded his address, speaking of his grandfather who worked as a farmer in India.

“I will dedicate myself to caring for every American, driven always by science and facts, by head and heart – and endlessly grateful to serve one of the few countries in the world where the grandson of a poor farmer in India can be asked by the president-elect to look out for the health of the entire nation,” he added.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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