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October 30 2013

Former Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin is Named Senior Advisor to Operation HOPE’s Health and Financial Wellness Initiative


Atlanta – Oct. 25, 2013- Operation HOPE is proud to announce Former Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, M.D., MBA as the new senior advisor for the HOPE Health and Financial Wellness Initiative. This initiative will offer financial wellness courses and curriculum development (HOPE Products) for groups, companies, organizations and individuals. The initiative also includes creating new pieces of public policy that promote financial health and personal wellness, strengthen current policy and teach employers the necessary tools for their employees to be financially empowered and healthy.

The HOPE Health and Financial Wellness Initiative began in May 2013 at the HOPE Forum Investing in Your Health, which explored health care and the economy. Dr. Benjamin, the guest of honor, was joined on the panel with Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, dean and executive vice president of the Morehouse School of Medicine. It was at this forum John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, saw the correlation in underserved communities and minimal health care resources, and developed the HOPE Health and Financial Wellness Initiative to redress it.

“An individual’s financial well-being can have a direct impact on their physical health. For example, stress resulting from financial insecurity can result in anxiety, depression and even physical illnesses such as stomach ulcers,” said Benjamin

In addition to Dr. Benjamin’s new role as senior advisor, Operation HOPE’s Government Relations & Public Policy Team, in Washington D.C., has partnered with Enroll America as part of the HOPE Health and Financial Wellness Initiative. Enroll America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to help the uninsured get coverage under the Affordable Care Act. They do this by promoting enrollment through a broad based network including nonprofits, consumer groups, faith-based organizations, hospitals, doctors and pharmaceutical companies. Operation HOPE is amplifying the efforts of Enroll America by distributing pamphlets, and questionnaire cards in the D.C. HOPE Center. According to Lucas Turner-Owens, Legislative and Public Policy Aide for Operation HOPE “We hope to do this in more HOPE centers between now and the end of the enrollment period in the next 6 months.”

Dr. Regina Benjamin is the Times-Picayune Endowed Chair Public Health Sciences at her alma mater Xavier University. She served as the 18th U.S. Surgeon General from 2009-2013 under President Barack Obama. In 2007, Dr. Benjamin received a MacArthur Foundation genius-grant that provides $500,000 within five years, and no requirements on spending the money. She is the former associate dean of Rural Health at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and past chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States. In 1995, Dr. Benjamin was the first physician under the age of 40 and the first African-American woman elected to the American Medical Association board of trustees. She has served as president of the American Medical Association Education and Research Foundation and chair of the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs.

About Operation HOPE

Operation HOPE (HOPE) is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting financial literacy and dignity through various educational programs and initiatives. Since its inception in 1992, HOPE has served more than 2 million individuals, directed more than $1.5 billion in private capital to America's low-wealth communities, maintains a growing army of 20,000 HOPE Corps volunteers, has raised average credit scores for financial case management clients more than 120 points over an average 18-month period, and currently serves more than 300 U.S. cities, as well as South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and most recently, the United Arab Emirates. At its core is a “silver rights” mission to make free enterprise and capitalism work for everyone. To learn more about Operation HOPE, visit www.operationhope.org, follow us on Twitter, @operationhope, #HOPESummit, and like us on Facebook.