On Feb. 21, Dr. Vivek Murthy was released as Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Murthy has been an avid proponent of addressing the opioid epidemic, with a compassionate understanding of addictions and how to treat them.  During his tenure, he focused on tobacco control,  including e-cigarette use in children. I had the great pleasure of meeting and working with him on his “Turn the Tide” campaign. Below are some of the lessons he says he learned on the job:

  1. Kindness is more than a virtue. It is a source of strength. If we teach our children to be kind and remind each other of the same, we can live from a place of strength, not fear. I have seen this strength manifest every day in the words and actions of people across our great nation. It is what gives me hope that we can heal during challenging times.
  2. We will only be successful in addressing addiction – and other illnesses – when we recognize the humanity within each of us. People are more than their disease. All of us are more than our worst mistakes. We must ensure our nation always reflects a fundamental value: every life matters.
  3. Healing happens when we truly talk to and connect with each other. That means listening and understanding. It means assuming good, not the worst. It means pausing before we judge. Building a more connected America will require us to find new ways to talk to each other.
  4. The world is locked in a struggle between love and fear. Choose love. Always. It is the world's oldest medicine. It is what we need to build a nation that is safe and strong for us and our children.

Thank you, Dr. Murthy, for your service to our country. We are grateful for your help and wish you well.

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