Antonia C. Novello (1924- )

antonia novello

Puerto Rico native Antonia C. Novello was the first woman and the first Hispanic U.S. Surgeon General. A painful chronic colon condition led her to pursue a medical degree and then a career in medicine. Between 1970 and 1990, she worked at several hospitals, operated a private practice, and worked at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). From 1990 to 1993, she served as Surgeon General under President George H.W. Bush. While Surgeon General, she focused on issues relating to the health of children, women, and minorities, as well as on the dangers of smoking, underage drinking, and AIDS. Since 1993, Novello worked for UNICEF and the John Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. In 1999, she became Commissioner of Health for New York.


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