note: i read some of the other wus on this node, and decided there must be something more to this... turns out I was wrong:

The Office of the Surgeon General was created in 1871, as the head of the US Public Health Service. Now the office is mostly a figurehead/spokesperson role, appointed by the President and reporting to the Assistant Secretary for Health. Recent Surgeon Generals Joycelyn Elders and C. Everett Koop attracted enough attention to estabish a history of firing the surgeon general. Aside from issuing reports created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other offshoots of the Department of Health, it's true that the Surgeon General really doesn't do much.

info (or lack thereof) from www.surgeongeneral.gov, which wins a special award for bad design...

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