President Obama announced his choice for Surgeon General — Regina Benjamin, a family practice doctor who has spent most of her career tending to the needs of poor patients in a Gulf Coast clinic in Alabama.
From 1993 to 1996, Dr. Benjamin was a member of the prestigious Kellogg National Fellowship Program (KNLP). She received a bachelor’s degree from Xavier University, attended Morehouse School of Medicine and received a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
In 1995, she became the first African-American woman, and the first person under 40, to be elected to the American Medical Association (AMA) Board of Trustees. Dr. Benjamin also serves on the Board of Physicians for Human Rights and is a 1998 Mandela Award Winner.
The Kellogg National Fellowship Program started as a leadership experiment in 1980. Between 40 and 50 individuals (under the age of 40) primarily from universities were selected for a three-year leadership development journey. Over time, the program expanded, broadening the age limits and inviting participants from the nonprofit, government, and private sectors. Groups became more diverse to better reflect the breadth of experiences and ethnicities in communities. The name changed, too, and KNFP became known as the Kellogg National Leadership Program.