Surgeon General Jerome Adams has confirmed that the incoming Biden team requested he step down ahead of President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Adams made the announcement in a tweet on Jan. 20, several hours before Biden took the oath of office.
“I’ve been asked by the Biden team to step down as Surgeon General,” Adams wrote. “It’s been the honor of my life to serve this Nation, and I will do all I can to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve and maintain health.”
Biden’s pick for Adams’s replacement is former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who has advised Biden on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adams, who holds the rank of vice admiral in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, was confirmed by the Senate in 2017 to serve as surgeon general under the Trump administration. His four-year term was set to expire in September.
In a post on Facebook, Adams reflected on his time in office, noting that his “tenure started with three category 5 hurricanes barreling down on our citizens.”
“I immediately deployed to witness the devastation first hand, and to lead our Public Health Service Officers as we helped with the response,” he wrote. “I saw the best of our Nation coming together in the worse of times, to help those who’d lost everything.”
He said he next turned his attention to fighting the opioid epidemic, including by issuing a surgeon general’s advisory that encouraged more people to carry the opioid overdose-reversing drug Naloxone.
“Working across government and with amazing advocacy organizations on the ground—many led by parents who had lost their own children to opioid overdose—we were able to increase Naloxone availability nationwide by over 400 [percent], and save countless lives,” he wrote.
After the COVID-19 pandemic reached America’s shores, Adams said he “sought to communicate the rapidly evolving science on this deadly adversary, and arm people with the knowledge and tools they needed to stay safe.”
“I wasn’t always right—because no one was, and this virus continues to humble all of us—but I was always sincere in my efforts to speak to every day Americans, and address the terrible health inequities this virus exposed,” he wrote.
Looking forward, Adams struck a unifying tone, saying he hopes “we can focus more on what unites us, and rise above what divides us.”
“Because Americans working together can overcome any obstacle or adversary. I stand at the ready to help in our mutual quest for recovery, resilience, and health, and thank you from the bottom of my heart, for the opportunity to serve,” he wrote.