David Satcher, M.D., PH.D.

David Satcher was sworn in as the 16th Surgeon General of the United States on February 13, 1998. He graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA in 1963 and was elected to the college’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Later, he earned his M.D. and Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in 1970 with election to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. He completed residency/fellowship training at Strong Memorial Hospital, the University of Rochester, UCLA School of Medicine and the Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center (King/Drew) in Los Angeles.  He is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Preventive Medicine, and the American College of Physicians, and is Board Certified in Preventive Medicine.

Satcher served simultaneously in the positions of Surgeon General and Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services.   His dual positions resulted in him being the first Surgeon General to be appointed as a four-star Admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC).  Satcher was reverted and downgraded to the grade of Vice Admiral following his replacement by Eve Slater as Assistant Secretary for Health in 2001 because he no longer held his dual positons.  However, he was allowed to retire with his four-star grade of admiral.

Upon his departure from the post of Surgeon General Satcher became a fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation and later assumed the post of Director of the National Center for Primary Care at the Morehouse School of Medicine in 2002. On 20 December 2004, Satcher was named interim president at Morehouse School of Medicine in 2004 until John E. Maupin, Jr., assumed the position in 2006. In June of 2006, Satcher established the Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI) at Morehouse School of Medicine.  The mission of the institute is to develop a diverse group of public health leaders, foster and support leadership strategies, and influence policies and practices toward the reduction and ultimate elimination of disparities in health with the focus on neglected diseases and underserved populations, while giving priority to health promotion and disease prevention.  

Satcher had numerous high profile positions prior to his service as Surgeon General.  He is a former faculty member of the UCLA School of Medicine and Public Health and the Martin Luther 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 the Interim Dean of the Charles R. Drew Postgraduate Medical School, during which time he negotiated the agreement with the UCLA School of Medicine and the Board of Regents that led to a medical education program at King/Drew. He served as professor and chairman of the Department of Community Medicine and Family Practice at Morehouse School of Medicine from 1979 to 1982. He also directed the King/Drew Sickle Cell Research Center for six years. He also held the posts of Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry from 1993 to 1998.

He is the recipient of a multitude of honorary degrees including the Public Health Service Distinguished Service Medal and top awards from the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and Ebony magazine. In 1995, he received the Breslow Award in Public Health and in 1997 the New York Academy of Medicine Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2004, he received the Benjamin E. Mays Trailblazer Award and the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Award for Humanitarian Contributions to the Health of Humankind from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.