David Satcher (b. 1941)
David Satcher, the sixteenth surgeon general of the United States, spent much of his career as a physician, scholar, and administrator in Georgia.
Early Life and Education
Born on March 2, 1941, in Anniston, Alabama, Satcher grew up in rural Alabama before the civil rights era. When, at
Neither of Satcher's parents completed elementary school, but they taught him the value of hard work and the importance of education. Teachers in the local black high school, working in poor facilities, gave him extra assignments and pointed him toward Morehouse College in Atlanta. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Morehouse in 1963. In 1970 Satcher received the M.D. and a Ph.D. in cytogenetics from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Satcher is remembered at Case Western as a "dignified activist" who helped to increase African American enrollment and worked in the community with other students to help people understand and use hospital services.
Satcher has held various faculty appointments, chairs, and directorships at Morehouse School of Medicine (1979-82), and before that at University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine and Public Health, where he was director of the King-Drew Sickle Cell Research Center for six years. He was the president of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee (1982-93). In 1993 he returned to Atlanta to become the administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (1993-98) and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1993-98).
Appointed surgeon general by U.S. president Bill Clinton on February 13, 1998, Satcher served simultaneously
In the fall of 2002, Satcher assumed the post of director of the National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine and continues to lecture on issues of suicide prevention, obesity, and access to mental health care. He has received top awards in public health, mental health, and community service. In 2001 he received the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Award for Humanitarian Contributions to the Health of Humankind from the National Foundation for Infectious Disease. (The award is named for U.S. president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter.)
Satcher is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Preventive Medicine, and the American College of Physicians. He has received service and leadership awards from the American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, the New York Academy of Medicine, and Ebony magazine.
Satcher and his wife, Nola, live in Atlanta and have four children. Satcher has often said that he wants to be known as "the Surgeon General who listened to the American people and who responded with effective programs."
Mike Mitka, "US Surgeon General David Satcher, MD, PhD," Journal of the American Medical Association 280 (August 19, 1998): 590-91.
Rebecca Voelker, "The Surgeon General Moves On," Journal of the American Medical Association 287 (May 1, 2002): 2199-200.
Marilee Creelan, Medical College of Georgia
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