Surgeon General, United States, former head of the U.S. Public Health Service, which is responsible for protecting the people's health (see public health). Since a 1986 reorganization, the surgeon general has largely served as a national spokesperson and watchdog on health issues. The separate U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force surgeons general oversee military health care.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.