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Symbol of HOPE Award

Dr. Satcher is currently the director of the new National Center for Primary Care (NCPC) at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. The mission of the NCPC is to promote access to effective primary health care and optimal health outcomes for all Americans. The center is a national resource developed to encourage doctors to pursue primary care careers, to make primary care practice more effective, and to support primary care professionals serving in underserved areas. Under the direction of Dr. Satcher, the NCPC team provides training for primary care physicians, conducts practice-based research to improve health outcomes, creates protocols and tools for improving primary care effectiveness, and conducts policy analyses on how to make primary care more accessible and more effective.


As the 16th U.S. Surgeon General (1998-2002) and Assistant Secretary for Health, the second person in history to hold both positions simultaneously, Dr. Satcher led the federal government’s effort to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care. This initiative was incorporated as one of the two major goals of Healthy People 2010. He also released Surgeon General’s reports on tobacco and health; mental health; race and ethnicity; suicide prevention; oral health; sexual health and responsible sexual behavior; youth violence prevention and overweight and obesity. This represents a portfolio of reports greater than that of any other Surgeon General in a single term.


Health promotion was also a major focus of Dr. Satcher’s tenure as Surgeon General. In promoting healthy lifestyles, emphasis was placed on improving nutrition, increasing physical activity levels, decreasing substance abuse, and promoting responsible sexual behavior.


Prior to serving as Surgeon General, Dr. Satcher held the posts of Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry from 1993 to 1998. As Director of the CDC, Dr. Satcher increased emphasis on disease prevention programs, such as the CDC’s comprehensive screening program for breast and cervical cancers. He also initiated programs to increase childhood immunization rates, to upgrade the nation’s capability to respond to emerging infectious disease, and created the Early Warning System to detect and prevent foodborne illness.


Dr. Satcher’s dedicated career in public health and minority education includes serving as President of Meharry Medical College from 1982 to 1993. He was also professor and Chairman of the Department of Community Medicine and Family Practice at Morehouse School of Medicine from 1979 to 1982. He is a former faculty member of the UCLA School of Medicine and Public Health and the King-Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he developed and chaired the King-Drew Department of Family Medicine. From 1977 to 1979, he served as Interim Dean of the Charles R. Drew Postgraduate Medical School. He also directed the King-Drew Sickle Cell Research Center for six years.


Dr. Satcher graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1963, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in 1970 with election to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. He did residence/fellowship training at Strong Memorial Hospital, University of Rochester, UCLA and King-Drew. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Preventive Medicine, and the American College of Physicians.


Dr. Satcher is a former Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar and Macy Faculty Fellow. In addition to the Robert F. Allen Symbol of H.O.P.E. Award, he is the recipient of nearly two dozen honorary degrees and numerous distinguished honors. Among these are top awards from the National Medical Association, the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. In 2002, he won the Sarnat Award from the National Academy of Science – Institute of Medicine and the Herbert W. Nickens, M.D. Award from the American Association of Medical Colleges. He was the recipient of the National Association of Mental Illness Distinguished Service Award in 2000. In 1999, Dr. Satcher was awarded the Bennie Mays Trailblazer Award and the Jimmy and Roslyn Carter Award for Humanitarian Contributions to the Health of Humankind from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. The New York Academy of Medicine honored him with their Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. In 1995, he received the Breslow Award in Public Health.


Dr. Satcher and his wife, Nola, have four grown children. He is an avid jogger and enjoys tennis, gardening, and reading.


Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Satcher has been a champion of promoting healthy lifestyles and eliminating racial and ethnic disparities. His directorship of the National Center for Primary Care will allow for even greater emphasis on these key areas. He will continue to develop programs that promote healthier lifestyles in populations that have previously been underserved. These programs will benefit the direct recipients of care and will also serve as models to be used throughout the U.S. Dr. Satcher’s consistent dedication to health promotion and the underserved make him very worthy of the 2003 Robert F. Allen Symbol of H.O.P.E. Award.