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Adams served as Indiana State Health Commissioner under Pence

CNN  — 

Dr. Jerome Adams has been nominated as the next US Surgeon General, the White House announced today.

Adams is an anesthesiologist who has been outspoken against the opioid epidemic. His brother is an addict, he revealed during a May 2015 testimony (PDF) at the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

He began serving as the Indiana State Health Commissioner in 2014 under then-governor Mike Pence and was in that role during the 2015 outbreak of HIV that spread among users of a prescription opioid, Opana.

In an area where there were previously few cases of HIV, 219 people have been infected in the Southeast Indiana outbreak, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. A needle exchange program was ultimately implemented as part of the efforts to slow the epidemic, though some public health experts criticized the response for what they said was a slow and hesitant start.

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    Adams is also an assistant professor of anesthesiology at Indiana University School of Medicine and has sat on committees of various professional organizations.

    Adams stands to replace Dr. Vivek Murthy, who resigned at the request of the White House in April.