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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb 6, 2006    #021
Contact: Noemi Rojas
(816) 235-1520

First African American Surgeon General comes to med school Feb. 24

The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine will welcome Dr. Joycelyn Elders to its Hospital Hill campus Friday, Feb. 24, to speak about minority health care disparities. The lecture by Elders is part of UMKC’s African American History Month activities.

Elders was the first African American, and the second woman, to hold the position of Surgeon General. She was appointed under the administration of President Bill Clinton from Sept. 8, 1993 to Dec. 31, 1994. She was known for her outspokenness on sensitive issues of public health.

She argued for greater drug legalization, and she was a backer of Clinton's plan for national health care. Under political pressure, Clinton asked for her resignation after remarks she made on the promotion of masturbation as a means of preventing young people from engaging in riskier forms of sexual activity. Today, Elders is a distinguished professor of public health at the University of Arkansas and a regular on the lecture circuit.

Elders will give a talk titled “A Key to a Healthy America” at noon inside Theater A at the UMKC School of Medicine, 2411 Holmes St. A panel discussion and Q&A session will follow at 1 p.m. The lecture will be televised on closed circuit to the med school’s theaters B and C as well as to Saint Luke’s Hospital and Truman Medical Center Lakewood. The event will wrap up with a reception.

The event is free and open to the public.

The talk is made possible by the endowment of Dr. Reaner and Mr. Henry Shannon. The endowed annual lectureship for minority health furthers the Shannon’s longtime efforts in Kansas City to promote the importance of health care among minority communities.

The UMKC School of Medicine offers a combined baccalaureate/doctor of medicine degree program that admits students out of high school. The program provides students with early and ongoing clinical experience through community-learning teams of students, physicians and other health-care providers. The medical school partners with Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Saint Luke's Hospital, Truman Medical Centers, Western Missouri Mental Health Center and the Kansas City VA Medical Center. For more information on the UMKC School of Medicine, visit www.umkc.edu/medicine.

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