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Bush introduces surgeon general, NIH nominees

From John King
CNN Washington

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush introduced his choices for two top federal public health posts Tuesday at the White House.

Bush tapped Dr. Elias Zerhouni, a native of Algeria who is executive vice dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, as director of the National Institutes of Health, and Arizona trauma surgeon Richard Carmona, winner of a national "Top Cop" award, as surgeon general.

Both nominations will require Senate confirmation.

NIH, the nation's premier biomedical research agency with more than 15,000 employees, has been without a director since the departure of Harold Varmus two years ago. Bush has proposed increasing the agency's budget to $27 billion this year.

The surgeon general's post became open in February when David Satcher's term expired and he stepped down to take a top post at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

Two other upper-level public health positions remain to be filled -- the top Food and Drug Administration spot is vacant and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Jeffrey Koplan has announced that he will leave in April.

Carmona, who serves as department surgeon and SWAT team leader for the Pima County Sheriff's Department, was honored in 2000 as one of the nation's "Top Cops" by the National Association of Police Organizations after being involved in a September 1999 shootout.

Dr. Richard Carmona:
Trauma surgeon and SWAT team deputy
?Grew up in Harlem; family emigrated from Puerto Rico
?Dropped out of high school; later got a GED, was the first in his family to go to college, and was valedictorian of his med school class
?Earned a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Combat Medical badge as a Green Beret in Vietnam
?Rappelled from a helicopter during a cliff rescue in 1992
?Named "Top Cop" by the National Association of Police Organizations after a 1999 shootout

Dr. Elias Zerhouni:
?Executive Vice Dean and radiology department head at Johns Hopkins medical school
?M.D. from the University of Algiers in 1975; joined the Hopkins faculty in 1979
?Championed the creation of Hopkins' Institute for Cell Engineering, a research lab that performs stem cell research

In that incident, Carmona stopped at the scene of a traffic accident in Tucson, Arizona, and was fired upon by one of the drivers, who was assaulting a woman. Carmona fired back, fatally wounding the man, who turned out to be a suspect in the stabbing death of his father.

In the shootout, Carmona's scalp was grazed by a bullet in the same place he had been wounded while in Vietnam, where he earned a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and a Combat Medical badge while serving as a Green Beret.

Carmona, 52, received his medical degree from the University of California at San Francisco. He is a clinical professor of surgery, public health and family and community medicine at the University of Arizona and chairman of the Arizona Southern Regional Emergency Medical System. He founded the first trauma care system in southern Arizona.

White House officials said he wants to make drug and alcohol abuse a major focus of his tenure as surgeon general.

Zerhouni, 50, received his medical degree from the University of Algiers School of Medicine in 1975. He was with Johns Hopkins from 1978 to 1981 as an instructor and assistant professor, then joined Eastern Virginia Medical School before returning to Johns Hopkins in 1985, as co-director of the divisions of computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging . He is a professor of radiology and biomedical engineering.

He is radiologist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He has received five patents, including one for the Mammotome, a minimally invasive breast biopsy device, and has founded or co-founded five companies.




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