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Jerome Adams
20th Surgeon General of the United States
Assumed office
September 5, 2017
President Donald Trump
Deputy Erica Schwartz
Preceded by Vivek Murthy
Health Commissioner of Indiana

In office
October 22, 2014 – September 5, 2017
Governor Mike Pence
Eric Holcomb
Preceded by William VanNess[1]
Succeeded by Kristina Box[2]
Personal details
Born September 22, 1974(1974-09-22) (age 47)
Orange, New Jersey, U.S.
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Lacey Adams
Children 3
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch PHS Commissioned Corps
Years of service 2017–present
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Vice admiral

Jerome Michael Adams[3] (born September 22, 1974) is an American anesthesiologist and a vice admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps who currently serves as the 20th Surgeon General of the United States. Prior to becoming Surgeon General, he served as the Indiana State Health Commissioner, from 2014 to 2017. On June 29, 2017, President Donald Trump nominated Adams to become Surgeon General of the United States.[4][5] Adams was confirmed by the United States Senate on August 3, 2017.[6] He assumed office on September 5, 2017.

Early life and education[]

Adams is the son of Richard and Edrena Adams of Mechanicsville, Maryland, and grew up on the family farm. He attended Chopticon High School, graduating in 1992, in the top 5% of his class.[7] He then attended the University of Maryland Baltimore County through a full-tuition Meyerhoff Scholarship, a grant dedicated to minority students interested in the sciences.[8] Adams received his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and his Bachelor of Arts in Biopsychology. Additionally, Adams studied abroad in the Netherlands and Zimbabwe.[9]

Adams attended medical school at Indiana University School of Medicine as an Eli Lilly and Company Scholar.[8] He also received a Master of Public Health degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 2000, with a focus on chronic disease prevention.[10] Adams completed his internship in internal medicine (2002–2003) at St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital, and his residency in anesthesiology (2003–2006) at Indiana University. He is board certified in anesthesiology.[11]


Private practice and academia[]

After two years in private practice at Ball Memorial Hospital,[citation needed] Adams was named assistant professor of anesthesiology at Indiana University.[12][13] He has written several academic papers and book chapters, including chapters in Anesthesia Student Survival Guide: A Case-based Approach,[14] and an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health, "Are Pain Management Questions in Patient Satisfaction Surveys Driving the Opioid Epidemic?"[15]

Indiana State Health Commissioner[]

In October 2014, Adams was appointed Indiana State Health Commissioner. He was originally appointed by Governor Mike Pence and re-appointed by newly elected Governor Eric Holcomb in 2017.[16] In this role, he oversaw the Public Health Protection and Laboratory Services, Health and Human Services, Health Care Quality and Regulatory, and Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Commissions; he also served as Secretary of Indiana State Department of Health's Executive Board, as Chairman of the Indiana State Trauma Care Committee, as President of the Healthy Hoosier Foundation, and as Co-chairman of the Indiana Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative Governing Council.[12] During an HIV epidemic in 2015, Adams initially opposed needle-exchange programs on "moral" grounds, but later changed his position as cases continued to mount.[17]

Surgeon General of the United States[]

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence swears in Adams as U.S. Surgeon General on September 5, 2017.

On June 29, 2017, President Donald Trump nominated Adams as the next Surgeon General of the United States.[4] He was confirmed to the position on August 3, 2017. Upon his confirmation, Adams said that addressing the opioid epidemic along with untreated mental illness would be two of his major priorities.[6] Adams was sworn in as surgeon general on September 5, 2017,[18] and received his commission shortly after.

In April 2018, Adams urged Americans who are at risk of overdosing on opioids, as well as their family and friends, to carry an over-the-counter antidote to help combat rising fatalities.[19][20] In May 2018, Adams responded to an in-flight medical emergency on a flight to Jackson, Mississippi.[21]

In September 2018, Adams began a campaign along with other public health officials to promote seasonal flu vaccinations. The 2017 flu epidemic resulted in the deaths of an estimated 80,000 Americans, the highest number of deaths in at least four decades, according to CDC Director Robert Redfield. Of the 180 children who died, 80 percent were unvaccinated.[6] [22]

Coronavirus pandemic[]

Adams speaks to the White House press corps on COVID-19 in March 2020

In February 2020, Adams was appointed to the task force for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.[23] Adams initially downplayed the risk from COVID-19 by comparing it to the flu, which was criticized by experts.[24][25] He also implored people not to buy or use face masks in public because he said they were not effective in preventing the general public from catching the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.[26][27][28] Adams later walked back this recommendation because he said there was new information about the asymptomatic spread of the virus.[29][30] After Adams made statements about the increased risks facing African Americans from COVID-19, black health experts criticized his statements as misleading and lacking adequate context.[31]

Awards and decorations[]

USPHSCC Surgeon General Badge.png
Office of HHS ID Badge.png
Public Health Service Outstanding Service Medal
Public Health Service Outstanding Unit Citation
Public Health Service Unit Commendation
Public Health Service Crisis Response Service Award
Humanitarian Service Medal
Public Health Service Regular Corps Ribbon
Commissioned Corps Training Ribbon

Personal life[]

Adams and his wife Lacey have three children.[32]


  1. "Pence names Adams Indiana's health commissioner". Retrieved March 25, 2018. 
  2. "Indiana Names OB-GYN To Fill Vacated Health Commissioner Seat". September 18, 2017. Retrieved 2019-06-10. 
  3. "Nominee Report | U.S. Office of Government Ethics". Retrieved 29 February 2020. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Jerome Adams nominated as new U.S. surgeon general". 2017-06-29. 
  5. "President Trump nominates Indiana Health Commissioner Jerome Adams for U.S. Surgeon General". 2017-06-29. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Scutti, Susan (August 4, 2017). "Dr. Jerome Adams confirmed as surgeon general". CNN. Retrieved August 4, 2017. 
  7. New surgeon general's science background was nurtured in Maryland
  8. 8.0 8.1 Wapner, Jessica (July 6, 2017). "Who Is Jerome Adams? Surgeon General Pick Battled HIV Outbreak With Clean Needles in Indiana". Newsweek. Retrieved August 2, 2017. 
  9. McDaniels, Andrea K. (September 7, 2017). "New surgeon general's science background was nurtured in Maryland". Retrieved 16 April 2020. 
  10. Groppe, Maureen (August 1, 2017). "Jerome Adams promises to put science ahead of politics as surgeon general". USA Today. Retrieved August 2, 2017. 
  11. "American Society of Anesthesiologists Congratulates Jerome Adams, M.D., for Surgeon General Nomination". American Society of Anesthesiologists. June 29, 2017. Retrieved August 16, 2017. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Jerome M. Adams, MD". Indiana University School of Medicine. 
  13. "Faculty | Anesthesia | IU School of Medicine". Indiana University School of Medicine. 
  14. Ehrenfeld, Jesse M.; Urman, Richard D.; Segal, Scott, eds (2016). Anesthesia Student Survival Guide: A Case-based Approach (Second ed.). Cham, Switzerland: Springer. pp. ix, 31–88. ISBN 978-3-319-11083-7. OCLC 944030400. 
  15. Adams, Jerome; Bledsoe, Gregory H.; Armstrong, John H. (May 6, 2016). "Are Pain Management Questions in Patient Satisfaction Surveys Driving the Opioid Epidemic?". pp. 985–986. Digital object identifier:10.2105/AJPH.2016.303228. PMC 4880256. PMID 27153016. 
  16. "ISDH: State Health Commissioner". Retrieved March 25, 2018. 
  17. "How An HIV Outbreak Changed Trump's Surgeon General Nominee". 
  18. Wallace, Amy (September 5, 2017). "New surgeon general to advocate for science, compassion as guides for policy". United Press International. Retrieved April 11, 2020. 
  19. CNBC (April 5, 2018). "Surgeon general urges Americans to carry overdose antidote". CNBC. 
  20. Press, Associated. "Americans urged to carry overdose antidote in effort to tackle drug deaths" (in en). 
  21. Leonard, Kimberly (May 16, 2018). "When the Delta crew asked if there was a doctor on board, they got a yes – from the surgeon general". Washington Examiner. 
  22. "The campaign to prevent another deadly flu season" (in en). 
  23. Who are the Coronavirus Task Force members?
  24. Law, Tara (April 6, 2020). "Surgeon General Adams Warns of 'Saddest Week of Most Americans' Lives' as COVID-19 Pandemic Spreads" (in en). Time. 
  25. Stieb, Matt (5 April 2020). "As Trump Admin Tells States to 'Do Your Part,' Governors Ask What Trump Is Doing" (in en-us). Intelligencer. Retrieved 13 April 2020. 
  26. "Surgeon General Urges the Public to Stop Buying Face Masks". The New York Times. February 29, 2020. 
  27. "The surgeon general wants Americans to stop buying face masks". CNN. March 2, 2020. 
  28. "'STOP BUYING MASKS': US Surgeon General warns wearing face masks could 'increase the spread of coronavirus'". Business Insider. March 2, 2020. 
  29. "Originally, @CDCgov @WHO, and my office, all recommended against the general public wearing facemasks based on the best available science at the time regarding whether or not they prevent wearers from catching coronavirus. But we are learning more about this disease every day...". Twitter. April 1, 2020. 
  30. "Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China". February 2020. pp. 497–506. Digital object identifier:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30183-5. PMID 31986264.  free to read
  31. Bunn, Curtis (April 15, 2020). "Black health experts say surgeon general’s comments reflect lack of awareness of black community" (in en). NBC News. Retrieved 17 April 2020. 
  32. "VADM Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H.". Retrieved 1 March 2020. 

External links[]

Military offices
Preceded by
Vivek Murthy
Surgeon General of the United States

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