NIH and surgeon general nominees combine faith, biomedical achievement

Francis Collins, Regina Benjamin
When President Obama named his choices for his administration’s two top medical posts, he chose people of public acclaim whose faith positions may put them out of step with conservative believers—but in tune with White House pragmatism.

Dr. Francis Collins, 59, Obama’s nominee to head the National Institutes of Health, has differed from fellow evangelicals by affirming the theory of evolution and supporting embryonic stem cell research.

Surgeon General nominee Dr. Regina Benjamin, 52, is a Roman Catholic who attended Catholic schools and was awarded a papal medal but, according to the White House, agrees with the president on “reproductive health issues.”


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