April 14, 2014

Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher delivered the morning keynote address at the second annual Public Health Research@Maryland Day, on April 8. Focused on "Leadership for 21st Century Public Health," the event recognized contemporary leaders in public health working on issues such as obesity prevention, heath care access, behavioral health, infectious disease and cancer prevention. Dr. Satcher's speech, "Building Leadership Teams to Address Critical Needs in Public Health," outlined several issues Surgeons General have tackled over the years and emphasized the ongoing need for leadership in reducing health disparities. Such disparities in health, he remarked, are related not only to race and ethnicity but also to issues of mental health, sexual identity and disability. Dr. Satcher also noted that the Office of the Surgeon General provides the most reliable information and advice based on the best available public health science. The release of the 1964 Surgeon General's Report on Tobacco and Health increased the credibility of the office at a time when its authority was diminishing. Because of that landmark report, 8 million American lives have been saved and the rate of smoking declined from 50% to 18%. Watch Dr. Satcher's keynote address below:

Dr. Satcher was the 16th U.S. Surgeon General and simultaneously served as the Assistant Secretary for Health from 1998 to 2001. While serving as the Surgeon General, Dr. Satcher issued reports on mental health, oral health, suicide prevention, tobacco and health, sexual health and responsible sexual behavior, youth violence prevention, and obesity; he was the first Surgeon General to focus on eliminating health disparities for all racial and ethnic groups. He now leads the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine, which aims to develop a diverse group of public health leaders to reduce and eliminate health disparities.