Dec 15, 6:39 PM EST

Obama: New surgeon general will help US save lives

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says Dr. Vivek Murthy's confirmation to serve as U.S. surgeon general will better position the nation to save lives abroad and protect Americans at home.

Obama says Murthy has a lifetime of public health experience dealing with diseases and health promotion that he'll bring to the job. He says Murthy's confirmation also helps the U.S. continue to combat Ebola in the U.S. and in West Africa. Obama says Murthy will start right away to ensure every American has necessary information to keep their families safe.

The Senate approved Murthy's nomination late Monday despite longstanding opposition from some lawmakers over his public support for gun control. Murthy is a 37-year-old physician and Harvard Medical School instructor.

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