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Former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher to Speak at Feinberg October 28

Former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, MD, PhD, Gives Hollister Lecture

David Satcher, MD, PhD
David Satcher, MD, PhD, former U.S. Surgeon General, presented the 2010 Hollister Lecture on October 28. Satcher discussed his work addressing health disparities through health policy.

David Satcher, MD, PhD, former U.S. Surgeon General, presented the 2010 Hollister Lecture at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. A visiting professor in minority health, Satcher discussed his work addressing health disparities through health policy.

In his lecture, "Leadership in Reducing Disparities in Health," Satcher emphasized the need for leadership in responding to public health issues. At the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, he follows a mission to develop a diverse group of exceptional health leaders; advance and support comprehensive health system strategies; and actively promote policies and practices that will reduce, and, ultimately, eliminate disparities in health.

To improve social determinants of health — the conditions in which people are born, grow, develop, and work — Satcher recommends investing in early life; promoting health equity between rural and urban areas; providing safe, secure, and fairly paid year-round work opportunities for all; building a healthcare system based on principles of equity, disease prevention, and health promotion; and strengthening the health workforce.

"Health disparities are real," said Satcher. "To make improvements, our society needs to define the health problems, then determine the risk factors, prevention measures, and replications strategies, so that improvements can be made globally. We need to place responsibility for action at the highest level."

Satcher audience
Hundreds of members of the Feinberg community attended Satcher's lecture — listening intently to his call for leadership in eliminating disparities in health.

Through Healthy People 2010, Satcher led an initiative to increase years and quality of health life and eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities. He shared statistics on death rates related to heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer that showed that African American men and women die at higher rates than white men and women who are struck with these same diseases. Satcher also outlined the four major determinants of an individual's health: behavior, social environment, biology, and physical environment.

"If we are ever going to eliminate disparities in health, we must transform communities; people need to have access to healthy behaviors," Satcher said. "We need leaders who care enough, know enough, will do enough, and are persistent enough."

As the 16th Surgeon General of the United States, Satcher focused attention on healthy lifestyles and the elimination of health disparities as national public health issues. Currently, Satcher is the founding director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute, an organization committed to developing health policy and clinical practices to reduce health disparities across racial and socioeconomic groups.

The Feinberg Program in Public Health (PPH) sponsors the Hollister Lecture Program, which supports events related to the improvement of public health. The Hollister Lecture was established in honor of Dr. John Hamilcar Hollister, one of the founders of the Chicago Medical School. The John H. Hollister Lecture Fund was established by his daughter Isabella Hollister Martin after his death in 1911.

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