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Editorial: Surgeon general is a post better suited to Ben Carson’s wide medical skills

President-elect Donald J. Trump is drawing criticism and praise from all corners of the political spectrum as he works to fill out his administration. One name that has arisen is that of onetime campaign rival Dr. Ben Carson. We agree he should be in the mix, although not necessarily as a Cabinet officer.

He should be in the Trump administration in some capacity that would draw upon his expertise in the medical field. Instead, the doctor is considered a front-runner to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The prospect has drawn howls of protest from advocates who fear the dismantling of decades of housing programs aimed at the poor. Those programs are politically unpalatable to the incoming administration and at odds with Carson’s “up by the bootstraps” philosophy.

Such reasoning worked brilliantly for Carson as a child who grew up in poverty, heavily influenced by a mother who pushed her son to educate himself in order to gain a better life. It worked for him. But each person’s circumstance is unique.

Carson has been quoted as saying that he did not think he is qualified to run a federal agency. That opinion seems to have changed since the HUD possibility surfaced. Carson, who cares deeply about issues affecting inner cities and poverty, seems to be mulling this one over. We have a suggestion: Turn the HUD job down.

Carson is a renowned neurosurgeon with impeccable medical credentials. He performed the first successful separation of conjoined twins joined at the back of the head and pioneered a neurosurgical procedure on a fetus inside a womb.

The surgeon general is the nation’s doctor, the professional who advises citizens on a range of topics from maintaining and improving health to how to mitigate illness and injury. It is not necessarily a high-profile, glamorous position. It does require expertise in the medical field. Again, Carson is supremely qualified for the job.

Carson has reportedly been courted in the past for surgeon general and has expressed no interest in the position. Reuters reported that Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, a member of the Trump transition team’s executive committee, said the job of Health and Human Services secretary or surgeon general “would be great for Ben Carson.”

On the latter, especially, we agree.

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