News Release: Events, People, University News

May 8,  2009

Former U.S. Surgeon General to Receive Honorary Degree

Former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher will receive an honorary doctor of science degree during Emory University’s 164th commencement May 11.

Satcher joins three other honorary degree recipients this year: Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox, who will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree and deliver the keynote address at Emory's 164th commencement ceremony; Nancy Cantor, chancellor and president of Syracuse University, who will receive a doctor of laws; and Robert Spano, Grammy-Award winning conductor and music director for the Atlanta Symphony, who will receive a doctor of music.

Satcher currently is director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. The mission of the institute is to develop a diverse group of public health leaders, foster and support leadership strategies, and influence policies toward the reduction and ultimate elimination of disparities in health. The institute’s programs reflect Satcher’s experience in improving public health policy as well as his commitment to eliminating health disparities for underserved groups and shedding light on neglected issues such as mental and sexual health.

Sworn in as the 16th surgeon general of the United States in 1998, Satcher also served as assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services from February 1998 to January 2001, making him only the second person in history to have held both positions simultaneously. As surgeon general and assistant secretary for health, Satcher led the department’s effort to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health, an initiative that was incorporated as one of the two major goals of Healthy People 2010.

Satcher has served as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and administrator of the Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. He has held top leadership positions at the Charles R. Drew University for Medicine and Science, Meharry Medical College and the Morehouse School of Medicine. He has been a Macy Foundation fellow, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation clinical scholar, and a senior visiting fellow of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Satcher graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Morehouse College in 1963 and went on to earn his M.D. and Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University. He has received numerous distinguished honors, including top awards from the National Medical Association and the American Medical Association, and the Symbol of HOPE Award for health promotion and disease prevention. In 2005 he was appointed to serve on the World Health Organization Commission on Social Determinants of Health.  

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