Former surgeon general to speak at Purdue on individual public health responsibility

February 26, 2013  

David Satcher

David Satcher
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WEST LAFAYETTE – David Satcher, the 16th Surgeon General of the United States, will speak March 26 at Purdue University as part of the College of Health and Human Sciences 2013 Life Inspired events.

His keynote speech, titled "The Personal Side of Public Health," will be at 8 p.m. in Stewart Center's Loeb Playhouse. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will focus on the gap between what people know and what they actually do to combat common health issues such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, mental health and AIDS. Satcher also will speak on gaps in health care related to ethnicity, race and culture.   

"Many Americans face obstacles to live healthy," said Christine Ladisch, dean of Purdue's College of Health and Human Sciences. "Dr. Satcher is widely recognized for his dedication to improving the health of all Americans and for his commitment to eliminating health disparities based on race and culture. His lecture should be of vital interest to all who are connected in some way to healthcare and human services."

Satcher is one of only two people to simultaneously hold the position of surgeon general and assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services. Sworn into both positions in 1998, Satcher built on his five years of experience as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is the first person to hold that title and become surgeon general.

Much of Satcher's work extends beyond traditional discussions in public health. Under his tenure as surgeon general, the office released its first mental health report. During his four years in the department, he focused on finding ways to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health. 

In 2005, Satcher served on the World Health Organization Commission on Social Determinants of Health. He currently serves on the board of directors of Johnson & Johnson, Metlife and the CDC Foundation.

While no longer serving in government, Satcher is still helping Americans fight their own health battles. He recently teamed up with Fuel Up to Play 60, an in-school program that fights childhood obesity through education and group exercise. A runner and rower himself, Satcher devotes much of his time encouraging healthy lifestyles for the average person.

Satcher's talk is part of the annual Life Inspired hosted by the College of Health and Human Sciences. The series of events also includes a family health and fitness fair on March 25. The Hammer Down for Health Fitness Fair will be 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Purdue Memorial Union. More information about Life Inspired is available at

Writer: Morgan Stephens, 765-490-4855,

Media Contact: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Sources: Travis D. Tester, 765-494-0355,

Christine Ladisch,

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