September 29, 2006

Former U.S. Surgeon General Satcher to give Watkins Lecture

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David Satcher, M.D.

Former U.S. Surgeon General Satcher to give Watkins Lecture

David Satcher, M.D., The 16th Surgeon General of the United States and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will present the Fifth Annual Levi Watkins Jr. Lecture on Diversity in Medical Education at noon on Tuesday, Oct. 17, in 208 Light Hall.

Satcher, who completed his four-year term as Surgeon General in February 2002, currently serves as director of the Center of Excellence on Health Disparities and as the Poussaint-Satcher-Cosby Chair in Mental Health at Morehouse School of Medicine.

The Watkins lecture, presented by the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, is named after the School of Medicine's first African-American student to be admitted and to graduate from the program. A major focus of the annual lecture is closing the gap of racial disparities in health care.

Satcher spearheaded the development of Healthy People 2010, which included the elimination of racial and ethnic disparities in health as one of its two goals, during his tenure as Surgeon General and Assistant Secretary for Health. He is only the second person in history to hold these two positions simultaneously.

“I think it is critically important that someone of his stature, who has really worked hard to ensure equal access for everyone to excellent health care, is able to come to Vanderbilt to speak about how important it is to eliminate the health disparities and what Vanderbilt, in particular, can do better,” said George Hill, Ph.D., the Levi Watkins Jr. Professor and associate dean for Diversity in Medical Education.

“We have some initiatives now which are very, very important and I'm sure he will compliment us on those initiatives and suggest other possibilities in collaboration with Morehouse School of Medicine.”

Satcher, who most recently came to Vanderbilt in 2003 for a town hall lecture on racial disparities in health care, served as president of Meharry Medical College in Nashville from 1982 to 1993.

He is the recipient of more than 40 honorary degrees and numerous distinguished honors, including top awards from the leading health professional organizations. In 2005, Satcher was the recipient of the American Cancer Society Humanitarian Award.

In 2004, he received the “Voice of Conscience Award” from Aetna for his work toward eliminating health disparities.