WASHINGTON - The U.S. has a new surgeon general. Dr. Jerome Adams, an anesthesiologist from Maryland, officially took office Tuesday.
Vice President Mike Pence worked alongside Adams during his time as Governor of Indiana.
Pence praised the former Indiana health commissioner and reflected on his work fighting the opioid induced HIV epidemic in the Hoosier state.
“During his tenure and mine, Indiana was rocked by the worst opioid fueled HIV epidemic ever to hit rural America. And as we confronted this crisis, it was Dr. Jerome Adams who led from the front, who provided me and my team with expert advice,” Pence reflected.
“I saw that empathy for which he is so widely known when he worked with the citizens who had been infected, worked with the CDC and brought the widest range of resources, policies and care to stem that epidemic affecting that community,” Pence continued.
In 2015, a massive outbreak of HIV swept through rural Scott County in Indiana.
By the time all was said and done, nearly 200 people were infected.
Better Health, Through Better Partnerships
Adams admitted he was originally hesitant about working for then Gov.r Pence but now calls him a mentor and friend.
“Initially, he had some concerns about my ability to take on such a big role. The vice president has always been willing to give people a chance to prove themselves,” Adams explained.
“I had my doubts about working for him also to be honest,” Adams said with a laugh.
“The rumor was he was old school. And not the pop culture 'old school' the kids talk about. But older, super conservative from southern Indiana old school,” said Adams.
He said their partnership and subsequent relationship demonstrated what happens when people lay aside judgment and commit to coming together.
In his new role, Adams will lead the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. He said he looks forward to forming non-traditional partnerships with businesses and law enforcement agencies to tackle other health epidemics including opioids and unaddressed mental illness.
In the past, he stated he wants to put science ahead of politics and lead with care.
“There’s a great saying that bears repeating: Nobody is going to care what you know, until they know that you care,” Adams said.