Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative
Alabama Appleseed is proud to honor Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, and founder and CEO of BayouClinic/Gulf States Health Policy Center in Bayou La Batre, Alabama with our 2021 Brewer/Torbert Public Service Award, given to an individual in Alabama who has demonstrated substantial commitment to public service and improving the lives of Alabamians.
The Brewer/Torbert Public Service Award is annually awarded by Alabama Appleseed, a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1999 whose mission is to work to achieve justice and equity for all Alabamians. Dr. Benjamin has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to equity through her dedication to providing and expanding health care to rural Alabama communities. Dr. Benjamin also served as the 18th U.S. Surgeon General from 2009 to 2013.
More About Dr. Regina Benjamin
Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA is the Founder and CEO of BayouClinic, and was the 18th United States Surgeon General (2009-2013). As America’s Doctor, she provided the public with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and the health of the nation. Dr. Benjamin also oversaw the operational command of 6,500 uniformed public health officers who serve in locations around the world to promote, and protect the health of the American People. As chair of the National Prevention Council – 17 cabinet-level Federal Agency Heads, she led the development of the National Prevention Strategy: America’s Plan for Better Health and Wellness. Dr. Benjamin specializes in prevention policies and health promotion among individuals as well as large populations, especially concerning obesity, childhood obesity, and children’s health. She has special interest in rural health care, health disparities among socio-economic groups, suicide, violence, and mental health.
From her early days as the founder of a rural health clinic in Alabama to her leadership role in the worldwide advancement of preventive health, Dr. Regina Benjamin has forged a career that has been recognized by a broad spectrum of organizations and publications. In 1995, she was the first physician under the age of 40 and the first African-American woman to be elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees. Other past board memberships included the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kaiser Family Foundation Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Catholic Health Association, and Morehouse School of Medicine.
Dr Benjamin advises or consults with various growth companies, including technology and healthcare. She currently serves on the boards of Kaiser Hospitals and Health Plan; Ascension; ConvaTec PLC; Computer Technology Systems Inc (CPSI); and the American Heart Association.
Dr. Benjamin is a member of the Institute of Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. She has been chosen as a Kellogg National Fellow and Rockefeller Next Generation Leader.
In 1998 Dr. Benjamin was the United States recipient of the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights. She received the 2000 National Caring Award, which was inspired by Mother Teresa and was recognized with the Papal honor Pro Ecclesia et Ponticifice from Pope Benedict XVI. In 2008, she was honored with a MacArthur Genius Award Fellowship. In 2011, Dr. Benjamin became the recipient of the Chairman’s Award at the 42nd NAACP Image Awards
In May 2013, Reader’s Digest, ranked her #22 of the “100 Most Trusted People in America.”
Benjamin has a B.S. in chemistry from Xavier University, New Orleans, attended Morehouse School of Medicine, earned an MD degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and an MBA from Tulane University. She is the recipient of 30 honorary degrees.