Dr. Adams also said he believed exchanges were “not a panacea,” and their value should not be overstated.
“It’s only going to work if it allows us to connect people to the resources they need to get clean, to get off drugs and get their infectious diseases appropriately diagnosed and treated,” he said.
Dr. Adams, who trained as an anesthesiologist, has also been outspoken about the risks of prescription opioid painkillers and the need to address the opioid epidemic.
Charles N. Rothberg, president of the Medical Society of the State of New York, said Dr. Adams reminded him of C. Everett Koop, who was surgeon general through much of the 1980s. “Dr. Adams has a proven track record to make public health a priority despite political hurdles,” Dr. Rothberg said in an email. “Dr. Adams is in touch with the public needs.”
Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, who was at the Food and Drug Administration in the Obama administration, said Dr. Adams was a great choice.
“I think it’s great to have a state health officer as surgeon general because it’s a job that really defies politics,” said Dr. Sharfstein, who is now an associate dean at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “From everything I’ve seen, Dr. Adams is a very serious and capable physician and public health official. This is an opportunity to speak to the problems as they are and not as they are viewed through an ideological prism.”
Dr. Adams, who is married and has three children, received bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry and biopsychology from the University of Maryland in 1997. He then earned a master’s degree in public health from the University of California at Berkeley, and a medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine.
His LinkedIn page says he is also an assistant professor of anesthesiology at Indiana University Health, and cares for patients at Eskenazi Health, Indianapolis’s publicly funded hospital.
If confirmed by the Senate, Dr. Adams would join another prominent health official in the Trump administration who was brought in from Mr. Pence’s state: Seema Verma, who is now the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
He would replace Sylvia Trent-Adams, who has been acting surgeon general since Mr. Trump ousted Dr. Vivek Murthy, a holdover from the Obama administration. The surgeon general is often called “the nation’s doctor,” and works to improve public…