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President Biden Names USU Nursing Alumna as Acting U.S. Surgeon General

Susan Orsega holds up a hand to take the oath of office.
By Sharon Holland

President Joe Biden is filling key administration positions, and many still await Senate confirmation, including Dr. Vivek Murthy, who served as U.S. Surgeon General under former President Barack Obama, and who has been nominated for the post again. Until confirmation hearings can be held and his nomination cleared, the President has appointed Rear Adm. Susan Orsega to bridge the gap as the nation’s top healthcare advisor.  

Orsega, who graduated from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences’ Daniel K. Inouye Graduate School of Nursing (GSN) in 2001, is director of the 6,100-officer U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps.  She is responsible for overseeing the personnel, operations, readiness, deployment and policies pertaining to the USPHS Commissioned Corps.  

Susan Orsega
President Joe Biden has appointed Rear Adm. Susan Orsega,
director of the USPHS Commissioned Corps, as the Acting
Surgeon General of the U.S. (USPHS Courtesy Photo)
The first GSN alumnus to reach the rank of rear admiral, Orsega, a nurse practitioner, has a wealth of
experience. She was principal advisor to former Surgeon General Vice Adm. Jerome Adams on issues pertaining to Commissioned Corps training, deployment and total force fitness.  

As the former Chief Nurse Officer of the U.S. Public Health Service, she advised Adams and Murthy, and former acting Surgeon General Rear. Adm. Sylvia Trent-Adams, on recruitment, deployment and career development for nursing, while leading more than 4,500 uniformed U.S. Public Health Service and Health and Human Services department nurses. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. 

Orsega also has extensive experience in management of public health emergencies and infectious diseases, including Ebola, HIV/AIDS and other emerging infections. In 2015, she was appointed to the NIH/NIAID Ebola trial operations team, responsible for making sure that the first Ebola human vaccine and treatment trials in Liberia and Sierra Leone were successfully implemented at a time when the Ebola transmission rates were catastrophic. Currently, she is leading Commissioned Corps personnel in a historic deployment of officers in support of COVID-19.

“Rear Adm. Orsega is an outstanding officer in the U.S. Public Health Service, a skilled nurse practitioner, a global research investigator and an effective public health leader,” said Dr. Carol Romano, dean of the Graduate School of Nursing at USU.  “We are proud that as an alum of USU, she epitomizes excellence in public service and commitment to improving the health of our nation.”

Susan Orsega giving a speech
Rear Adm. Susan Orsega, who graduated from USU’s Daniel K. Inouye Graduate School of Nursing in 2001, has been named as Acting Surgeon General
of the United States by President Joe Biden.  (Courtesy Photo)