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M. Joycelyn Elders

The 15th Surgeon General of the United States


When she was sworn in as Surgeon General, Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders became the first African American and the second woman to hold that post. As Surgeon General, Dr. Elders initiated programs to combat youth smoking and teen pregnancy and to increase childhood immunizations. As a private citizen, she continues to lobby tirelessly for the health needs of the young, the poor and the powerless.

A pediatric endocrinologist, Dr. Elders has a deep concern for the welfare of children. She believes that violence, sexually transmitted diseases, poverty and substance abuse are the biggest threats to the health and wellness of our children.

Dr. Elders has always spoken from her heart on health care issues. She advocates public health over profits in health care reform, openness over censorship in sex education, and rehabilitation over incarceration in the war against drugs. Her presentations on sexual health and education are both frank and informative.

In her lectures and in her book, Joycelyn Elders M.D.: From Sharecropper’s Daughter to Surgeon General of the United States, she addresses the importance of good prenatal care, the future of healthcare reform, women’s health concerns, current treatments for HIV/AIDS, and meeting the needs of older Americans.


Education: A Key to a Healthy America

Former US Surgeon General Dr. Elders is an outspoken advocate for quality health education programs in America's public schools. She believes that the United States cannot have a healthy population unless it has an educated population, and that of paramount concern is providing a good foundation for healthy living with comprehensive health education.

Dr. Elders stresses the importance of teaching children from the earliest grades about unhealthy and risky behaviors, and emphasizes the importance of presenting children with a factual curriculum that is accurate and age appropriate. She believes that healthcare access in itself isn't enough without education that teaches children about unhealthy patterns of living such as tobacco use, drug and alcohol abuse, unsafe sex and poor eating habits. With alarming new reports emerging every day about the growing obesity problem among America's children, she urges public schools to act more responsibly in providing nutritious snacks, and to teach children how to make healthy choices.

The Politics of Healthcare

Health Care in the 21st Century

Health Care Issues in the Minority Community

Women's Reproductive Rights

Health Education in Public Schools

Health Education and Sexual Education

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