Dr Vivek Murthy, the founder of numerous health-related advocacy groups and president Barack Obama’s Surgeon General, was confirmed by the US Senate on Tuesday for the same role under President Joe Biden.

The vote went 57 to 43 in favour of the nomination.

He was asked to resign when president Donald Trump was elected. He refused and was fired, his wife, Alice Chen, said at the time.

Dr Murthy’s return as the country’s top doctor comes at a critical moment, as the Biden administration grapples the worst public health crisis in a century while expanding access to health care for millions of Americans. During his confirmation hearing, he affirmed that he would make ending the coronavirus pandemic his highest priority.

Dr. Murthy had founded Doctors for Obama, a group that now works to expand health care access for Americans and has been rebranded as Doctors for America.

As an undergraduate at Harvard University, he helped found two nonprofits, one focusing on HIV/AIDS education in the United States and India, and another to train women as community health workers in rural India, New York Times reported.

Dr Murthy was born in England and grew up mostly in Miami as a son of Indian immigrants and was the first person of Indian descent to hold the Surgeon General’s post.  

“I have tried to live by the lessons they embodied: that we have an obligation to help each other whenever we can, to alleviate suffering wherever we find it, and to give back to this country that made their lives and my life and the lives of my children possible,” Dr. Murthy said about his parents.