Seen in his dark, military jacket back-lit by a medly of medals, awards and commendations for service on his chest, Jerome Adams stands each day among the many official personnel during President Donald Trump’s coronavirus press briefings.
Adams is the 20th Surgeon General of the United States and as is considered the “Nation’s Doctor,” according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Although Vice President Mike Pence leads the administration's response to the coronavirus, it is Adams who offers his expertise on how to best handle this pandemic outbreak.
“No more bickering. No more partisanship. No more criticism or finger pointing,” Adams said on Saturday (March 17) during a chaotic White House press briefing. “We all need to hit the reset button and lean into moving forward the health and safety if the American people as our top priority.”
There were more than a few people who weren't even aware that the Surgeon General is a Black man. In fact, Adams is the nation's fourth African American Surgeon General and the second Black male to hold the position.
Here are five other compelling facts you should know about Dr. Jerome Adams.
Overseeing all operations of nearly 6,500 health officers whose job is to serve and support 800 locations globally, Dr. Adams received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He later obtained his medical degree from the Indiana School of Medicine and served as an assistant professor.
Now, balancing his daily duties as Vice Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Adams is also a husband and father to teenage sons, Caden and Eli and daughter Millie.
Adams was nominated by President Donald Trump on June 29, 2017 and sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence on September 5, 2017. In the role of Surgeon General, he's responsible for explaining to the American public the best ways to improve our gernal health and wellness, especially when it comes to protecting our nation.
When it comes to COVID-19, Adams has continued to stress that not only is regular hand washing and removing of oneself from large crowds are imperative to lower your risk for the novel coronavirus but so is practicing social distancing.
“Social distancing and mitigation -- they’re not to protect the 30-year-old or the 20-year-old from getting coronavirus,” he said. “They’re to protect your nana. They’re to protect your granddaddy. They’re to protect the people you love in your lives --- and we need your help.”
In August of 2019, President Trump donated his second quarterly salary of $100,000 to the office of the Surgeon General to help fund what he stated as an upcoming public health advisory.
Although officials declined to specify the subject at which the funding would support, the President did recognize “that the important mission of the Surgeon General is to protect and improve the health of all Americans.
Since then, some have questioned Adams' defiant support of the President's own level of healthiness, especially through the coronavirus pandemic.
"I was with the President on Friday and I just said, 'Sir, when is the last time you washed your hands?' And he said, 'I washed my hands just a few minutes ago,'" said Adams to CNN.
"We want to make sure that folks who are out there at risk are taking extra precautions and speaking at being at risk, the President, he sleeps less than I do and he's healthier than what I am."
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and prioritzing the health of the country, sharing anything with anyone can be hazardeous to your overall health and that's especially true when it comes to smoking and passing marajuana cigarettes.
Dr. Adams, alongside the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during a press briefing last summer, took a stand on the potency of the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana.
“This ain’t your mother’s marijuana,” said Adams.
The Surgeon General stated that science shows that the current levels of THC are not only harmful to brain development of teens but to the human fetus. He wants his advisory to look at the legalization of marijuana from policy that would be decided state-by-state.
“Over time there has been a change in attitudes about marijuana creating a false sense of security.”
Part of Dr. Adams' job is to manage the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, which includes nearly 6,500 uniformed health officers who work in various hospitals and medical institutions around the world to promote, protect, and advance healthy standards.
While serving as the Health Commissioner of Indiana, Dr. Adams oversaw the state’s response as it dealt with the “largest injection-drug-use-related HIV outbreak in decades.” Adams is no stranger to understanding the ramifications that the opiod epidemic can have on one's family. His younger brother, Phillip, who struggled with drug abuse, pushed the Surgeon General to become an outspoken advocate in his efforts to solve the growing problem.
Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images