Deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, together called venous thromboembolism, remain a serious national health problem. Estimates suggest that over 900,000 cases occur in the United States per year, with 300,000 deaths per year. Because of the significant and serious nature of this problem, a workshop was held in May of 2006, which resulted in the Acting U.S. Public Health Service Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism. On September 15, 2008, Acting Surgeon General, Rear Admiral Steven K. Galson, MD, MPH, and Elizabeth Nabel, MD, Director National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, announced the Call to Action. The Call to Action highlights public awareness about the risk factors, triggering events, and symptoms of venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, and encourages the development of evidence based practices for screening, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. It is designed to encourage new scientific investigation in an effort to obtain needed evidence to fill in the gaps of knowledge about venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. This knowledge should be quickly and easily disseminated to the public and put into practice by health professionals. The Surgeon General's Call to Action represents one of the most important advances in the field of venous thromboembolism and sets the stage for multidisciplinary efforts to combat this serious national health problem. © 2009 Society for Vascular Surgery.