Upon her confirmation, Regina Benjamin would actually become the third Alabamian to serve as U.S. Surgeon General. Alabamians Luther Terry (appointed in 1961) and David Satcher (appointed in 1998) also served in the role.
Luther Terry is responsible for one of the more visible roles of the U.S. Surgeon General. From the Encyclopedia of Alabama:
On January 11, 1964, he delivered the first “Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health,” which conclusively determined that smoking was an unmitigated health hazard, causing cardiovascular disease, emphysema, and lung cancer. Based upon more than 7,000 peer-reviewed articles, Terry’s report concluded that cigarette smoking was a sufficient enough health problem to warrant “appropriate remedial action.” His work and campaigns by successive surgeons general yielded results, cutting the percent of Americans who were steady smokers in 1964 from 43 to 22.8 percent as of 2001. Terry’s actions led to more than 20 subsequent reports on the risks of smoking and paved the way for the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965, which required a warning label on each package of cigarettes, and Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969, which modified and strengthened the warning label from “May be Hazardous to Your Health” to “The Surgeon General Has Determined that Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous to Your Health.”
The Encyclopedia of Alabama also has good reading on Regina Benjamin.
Thanks to reader H.