POLITICS
02/05/2014 09:16 pm ET Updated Feb 06, 2014

Senator Tells Surgeon General Nominee There Are Indian Doctors Where He's From, Too

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) extended an off-color invitation Tuesday to Dr. Vivek Murthy, President Barack Obama's nominee for surgeon general.

During Murthy's Senate confirmation hearing, Roberts told the doctor he'd feel "right at home" if he visits Kansas, as there are doctors of Indian decent in his community.

"You ever been to Dodge City, Kansas?" Roberts asked.

"I have not, Sir. But I would love to come," Murthy responded with a smile.

"Well, good. I'm going to invite you, because we have a lovely doctor from India," Roberts said. "She's in her mid-30s, and she's highly respected by the community. And another doctor from India that did my carpal tunnel when I did a stupid thing. And so, I think you'd be right at home, and we would welcome you."

Murthy, 36, is an Indian-American who has three Ivy League degrees. He is a practicing physician, a Harvard Medical School instructor and a political ally to Obama, advocating for affordable health care through the organization he cofounded and leads, Doctors for America.

If confirmed by the Senate, Murthy will not only be the youngest U.S. surgeon general, but also the first Indian-American to hold the title.

"The nomination of Dr Murthy as the U.S. Surgeon General cements the reputation physicians of Indian origin have across America," Dr. Jayesh Shah, president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, told the Times of India on Tuesday. "We are proud of Vivek and his many accomplishments and look forward to supporting him throughout the confirmation process."

(h/t Slate)

This article has been updated to include Murthy's age.

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