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Antonia Novello: 1944—: Pediatrician

Continued Public Service After Washington

While the term of Surgeon General is four years long, Novello stepped down in June of 1993 due to the change in administration. Democratic President Bill Clinton appointed Dr. Joycelyn Elders to the job, the first African-American woman to hold the position. Novello spent the next three years working at the Georgetown University Medical School and serving as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Special Representative for Health and Nutrition. In 1996 she was a Visiting Professor of Health Policy and Management. In June of 1999 Novello was chosen to serve as the Health Commissioner for New York. The Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services at that time, Donna Shalala, told the U.S. Newswire, "Governor Pataki has made a sound choice in reaching out to Antonia Novello. She will serve New Yorkers with the same vigor and talent that she employed in serving all Americans during her tenure in Washington." In her new role Novello has continued to tackle tough issues. Her latest challenge has been to try to raise the level of accountability for hospitals and doctors in New York.

Novello has received numerous awards and honorary degrees in recognition for her public service. For example, in 1983 she received the Public Health Service Commendation Medal. In 1989 she was awarded the Surgeon General's Exemplary Service Medal and in 1998 she was recognized for her leadership at the Hispanic Heritage Awards. Novello is proud of her success and sees herself as a role model for others. In an interview for Executive Female in 1991, Novello stated, "I know that I am one example of someone who has refused to be told that she couldn't achieve her goals. As a woman, as a Hispanic, and as the first female Surgeon General, I am a testament to pushing back barriers."

Selected writings

"Condom Use for Prevention of Sexual Transmission of HIV Infection," Journal of the American Medical Association, June 9, 1993.

"Healthy Children Ready to Learn," Journal of the American Medical Association, October 7, 1992.

"Healthy Children Ready to Learn—The Challenge to the Medical Community," Journal of the American Medical Association, March 20, 1991.

"Healthy Children Ready to Learn: The Surgeon General's Initiative for Children," Journal of School Health, October 1991.

"Increasing Organ Donation—A Report from the Surgeon General's Workshop," Journal of the American Medical Association, January 8, 1992.

"The Secretary's Work Group on Pediatric HIV Infection and Disease," August 1989.

"Surgeon General's Report on Health Benefits of Smoking Cessation," Public Health Reports, November/December 1990.

"Violence Is A Greater Killer of Children than Disease," Public Health Reports , May/June 1991.

"Women and HIV Infection," Journal of the American Medical Association, April 10, 1991.



The Complete Marquis Who's Who. Marquis Who's Who, 2001.


Addiction Letter, March 1993.

Adweek Eastern Edition, November 18, 1991.

Adweek's Marketing Week, October 8, 1990; March 16, 1992.

American Medical News, April 27, 1990; June 15, 1990; October 5, 1990; October 19, 1990; June 24, 1991; November 18, 1991; March 23, 1992; April 6, 1992.

Broadcasting, December 2, 1991.

Diabetes Forecast, July 1993.

Economist, December 21, 1991.

Executive Female, March-April 1991.

Mediaweek, November 18, 1991.

Modern Healthcare, March 13, 2000; February 19, 2001; December 21, 1992; July 5, 1993.

New Republic, August 10, 1992.

People Weekly, December 17, 1990.

Public Health Reports, May-June 1991.

Saturday Evening Post, May-June 1991.

U.S. Newswire, June 4, 1999.

Vital Speeches, May 15, 1993; July 15, 1993; July 14, 1994.


Glass Ceiling Biographies, www.theglassceiling.com

Hall of Public Service, www.achievement.org

National Institutes of Health, www.nih.gov

National Women's Hall of Fame, www.greatwomen.org

New York State Department of Health, www.health.state.ny.us

Puerto Rico Herald, www.puertorico-herald.org/issues/vol4n12/ProfileANovello-en.shtml

Office of the Surgeon General, www.surgeongeneral.gov

—Janet P. Stamatel

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Grace Napolitano: 1936—: Politician to Richard (Wayne) Peck (1934-) Biography - CareerAntonia Novello: 1944—: Pediatrician Biography - Childhood Illness Led To Medical Career, Became Nation's Leading Doctor, Fought For America's Health