Gupta would be the highest profile Surgeon General since C. Everett Koop served during the Reagan administration and perhaps the most well-known ever. According to the Washington Post: "The offer followed a two-hour Chicago meeting in November with Obama, who said that Gupta could be the highest-profile surgeon general in history and would have an expanded role in providing health policy advice, the sources said. Gupta later spoke with Tom Daschle, Obama's White House health czar and nominee for Health and Human Services secretary, and other advisers to the president-elect. The Michigan-born son of Indian and Pakistani parents, Gupta has always been drawn to health policy. He was a White House fellow in the late 1990s, writing speeches and crafting policy for Hillary Clinton. His appointment would give the administration a prominent official of Southwest Asian descent and a skilled television spokesman."
Howard Kurtz of the WaPo also notes that "His role as journalist and physician have sometimes overlapped. During the 2003 Iraq invasion, Gupta was embedded with a Navy unit called Devil Docs and, while covering its mission, performed brain surgery five times, the first of which was on a 2-year-old Iraqi boy."