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Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release   September 12, 1997

President Clinton names David Satcher as Surgeon General and Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services

President Clinton today announced the nomination of Dr. David Satcher to serve as Surgeon General and Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Satcher, of Tennessee, is a renowned physician, scholar, and public health leader. He has been the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since November 1993. As Director of CDC, Dr. Satcher spearheaded initiatives that have increased childhood immunization rates, upgraded the nation's capability to respond to emerging infectious diseases, and laid the groundwork for a new Early Warning System to detect and prevent food-borne illnesses. During Dr. Satchers tenure, the CDC has also placed a greater emphasis on prevention programs, including the CDCs comprehensive breast and cervical cancer screening program which was expanded from 18 to 50 states as well as the landmark Surgeon Generals Report on Physical Activity and Health.

Dr. Satcher also serves as Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the Health and Human Services agency created by the Superfund law to prevent or mitigate adverse human health effects and diminished quality of life resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. Dr. Satcher was President of Meharry Medical College from 1982 to 1993. Prior to that, he served as professor and chairman of the Department of Community Medicine and Family Practice at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

Dr. Satcher has received wide recognition during his career. In 1996, he received the prestigious Dr. Nathan B. Davis Award from the American Medical Association in the category of Executive Branch Member Serving by Presidential Appointment for outstanding public service to advance the public health. In 1986, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his leadership skills Dr. Satcher received a B.S. degree from Morehouse College and an M.D. and Ph.D. degree in Cytogenetics from Case Western Reserve University.

The Surgeon General serves as administrator and chief spokesperson for the Commissioned Corps and is the principal advisor on public health to the nation, providing national leadership and guidance for developing public health strategies. The Assistant Secretary for Health conducts broad assessments designed to anticipate future public health issues, and coordinates population-based, minority health, and women’s health initiatives. ##

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