Biography of the Acting Surgeon General
Rear Admiral (RADM) Boris D. Lushniak, M.D., M.P.H.
Rear Admiral (RADM) Boris D. Lushniak, M.D., M.P.H., is the Acting United States Surgeon General. RADM Lushniak articulates the best available scientific information to the public regarding ways to improve personal health and the health of the nation. He also oversees the operations of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, comprising of approximately 6,800 uniformed health officers who serve in locations around the world to promote, protect, and advance the health and safety of our nation.
RADM Lushniak served as Deputy Surgeon General from November 2010, until July 17, 2013, when he assumed the duties of Acting Surgeon General.
RADM Lushniak was introduced to the USPHS in 1983 as a senior medical student when he completed an elective with the Indian Health Service in Winslow, Arizona. He began his USPHS career in 1988 as a Lieutenant, entering the service as part of the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and initially was stationed with the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in Cincinnati, Ohio where he conducted epidemiological investigations of workplace hazards. In 1990, he was accepted for the CDC’s long-term training program and completed a three-year residency in dermatology at the University of Cincinnati after which he established an occupational skin disease program at NIOSH. During his time at the CDC, he also served on special assignments and disaster response activities in Bangladesh, St. Croix, Russia, and Kosovo, was part of the CDC/NIOSH team at Ground Zero (World Trade Center) and the CDC team investigating the anthrax attacks in Washington, DC. In 2004, he transitioned from the CDC to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the Chief Medical Officer of the Office of Counterterrorism, and in 2005 was appointed FDA Assistant Commissioner, Counterterrorism Policy and Director of the Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats within the Office of the Commissioner. While at the FDA, he was deployed after Hurricane Katrina to serve as the Department of Health and Human Services representative in San Antonio and served as the FDA Deputy Incident Commander for the 2009 pandemic response. He was promoted to Rear Admiral, Lower Half in 2006 and attained the rank of Rear Admiral, Upper Half in 2010.
RADM Lushniak was born in Chicago to post-World War II immigrants from Ukraine. He was admitted to the six-year Honors Program in Medical Education at Northwestern University and completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Sciences in 1981 and obtained his medical degree (M.D.) in 1983. In 1984, he completed the Masters of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree at Harvard University. He completed a residency in family medicine in 1987 at St Joseph Hospital in Chicago and a residency in dermatology at the University of Cincinnati in 1993. RADM Lushniak maintains board certifications in dermatology and preventive medicine (occupational). He served as a staff physician in dermatology at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda and is adjunct professor of dermatology at the Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences.
RADM Lushniak served as the co-executive director of the USPHS Music Ensemble from 2007-2011 and is a member of many professional organizations including the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Dermatology, the American College of Preventive Medicine, the American Public Health Association, the American Dermatological Association, the American Contact Dermatitis Society, the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS), and the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America. He has received numerous USPHS awards including the Distinguished Service Medal, Surgeon General's Medallion, the Exemplary Service Medal, two Outstanding Service Medals, a Commendation Medal, and two Achievement Awards. In addition, he has received the AMA Dr. William Beaumont Award in Medicine and the AMSUS Sustaining Member Lecture Award as well as DHHS Secretary and FDA Commissioner awards.
A firm believer in leadership by example, RADM Lushniak also promotes the core messages of the National Prevention Strategy via his active lifestyle. He is an avid long-distance bicyclist, runner, hiker, and kayaker. In 2012, he scaled the summit of the most heavily glaciated peak in the United States, Washington’s 14-thousand foot Mount Rainier. He also leads community Surgeon General’s Walks throughout the United States. He resides in Rockville, Maryland with his wife Dr. Patricia Cusumano and two daughters Larissa and Stephanie.