America's top medical authority is answering some of the nation’s most pressing public health questions on Twitter. U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy will engage with social media users via the hashtag #AskTheSurgeonGeneral in a conversation Thursday. Twitter users can submit questions until 2:30 p.m. EDT for a chance to have Murthy answer them in the afternoon.
The campaign kicked off on Wednesday, and so far, Murthy is fielding questions on a wide array of topics including gun violence, vaccinations, genetically modified organisms, medical marijuana and fluoride in drinking water.
#AskTheSurgeonGeneral What do you say about "personal belief" exemptions for vaccinations for school kids?
— Linda Judah (@surfpusskitty) April 9, 2015
â€” Amanda Trivett (@TrivettAmanda) April 9, 2015
Murthy won’t have to keep his responses to 140 characters, though. He will give his answers to a select number of questions through videos posted to @SurgeonGeneral, his official Twitter account, after the session ends Thursday afternoon.
The campaign coincides with National Public Health Week, an annual federal initiative to bring attention to public health issues and initiatives. This year, the Obama administration is emphasizing the threat that climate change poses to public health. President Barack Obama kicked off the campaign in a roundtable discussion about the intersection between climate and health with Murthy, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and faculty at Howard University.
What climate change health impacts are most relevant to Ohio? #AskTheSurgeonGeneral
— Shelly Kiser (@shellkiser) April 9, 2015
Other public health priorities listed in the president’s official proclamation include prevention efforts such as first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, preventing antibiotic resistance and warding off disease outbreaks such as the Ebola epidemic that spread throughout West Africa last year.
For many Americans, the campaign may also serve as a first introduction to Murthy, 37, who is the youngest surgeon general ever and has only been on the job since December 2014.