A Uniform in Kitzhaber's Future?

Now that Dr. Sanjay Gupta has taken himself out of contention for the job of surgeon general in the Obama administration, Kari Chisholm of Blue

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Now that Dr. Sanjay Gupta has taken himself out of contention for the job of surgeon general in the Obama administration, Kari Chisholm of Blue Oregon is thumping the tub for - of course - Oregon's own Dr. John Kitzhaber.


"As I've said before many times, the job of surgeon general is to talk to the American people about the greatest threats to their health," Chisholm writes. "In the past, that's been about tobacco prevention, encouraging condom use, childhood obesity, etc.

"Today, the biggest threat to the health of Americans is our health care system. With millions uninsured, millions more underinsured, and almost all of us at risk of losing our health care due to economic conditions - the time is now for reforming our health system. And there's no doctor that's more eloquent on the topic than Dr. John Kitzhaber."

Chisholm also makes the point that the former Oregon governor's objection to moving to Washington, DC, to take an administration post wouldn't be a problem because as surgeon general he could live anywhere.

Kitzhaber, a former emergency room physician, two-term Oregon governor and nationally known advocate for health care reform through his Archimedes Movement, had been mentioned as a possibility for secretary of Health and Human Services before first Tom Daschle and then Gov. Kathleen Sibelius were tapped for that job.

The Eye thinks Chisholm may have a pretty good idea. Past surgeon generals, such as C. Everett Koop, have used their bully pulpit adroitly to advocate for healthier lifestyles, and maybe Kitz - an articulate and dynamic speaker - could just as effectively use it to push Obama's health care reform ideas (whatever those turn out to be).

Chisholm also makes the point that Kitzhaber's objection to moving to Washington, DC, to take an administration post wouldn't be a problem because as surgeon general he could live anywhere.

And besides, he'd get to wear this really cool uniform.

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