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May 10, 2005
DH 05 PH083
Contact: Pamela Hammond
(310) 243-2001


New York State Health Commissioner Novello, former and first
Latina Surgeon General, To Deliver CSUDH Commencement Keynote

Carson, CA – The Thirty-Ninth Commencement at California State University, Dominguez Hills, to be held on Friday, May 20 at 10 a.m. in the Home Depot Center, will feature Antonia Coello Novello, M.D.,M.P.H., Dr., P.H.

Novello has served the public’s health needs for more than two decades, including as the 14th Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service under President George H.W. Bush and, currently, as the 13th New York State Health Commissioner. She was the first Latina, and first woman, to be named Surgeon General.

In her position as Health Commissioner, she is responsible for a $32 billion budget that includes Medicaid; Child Health Plus; Family Health Plus; Youth Tobacco Enforcement and Prevention; regulation of hospitals and other health agencies; bio-terrorism preparedness; and professional medical conduct. She also heads five health-care facilities, two regional offices and field offices, nine district offices, the central office and the Wadsworth State Health Laboratory.

Before becoming New York State Health Commissioner, Coella Novello was Visiting Professor of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health and Special Director of Community Health Policy. While with Johns Hopkins, she provided guidance in the development of appropriate research, service and educational programs for improving the health of poor communities.

Under Coella Novello’s leadership in the U.S. Public Health Service, the American public was advised and aided on such health matters as smoking, HIV/AIDS, diet and nutrition, environmental health hazards, and the importance of immunization and disease prevention.

During her three-year tenure as UNICEF’s Special Representative for Health and Nutrition, she affected millions of children, youth and women as advisor to the UNICEF Executive Director. She also provided leadership in global efforts to eliminate iodine and vitamin A deficiency disorders, immunize children, and prevent smoking and substance abuse in youth.

While in the U.S. Public Health Service, Coello Novello served as deputy director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and was responsible for coordination of pediatric AIDS research.

Among her numerous awards and honors, Coello Novello is the recipient of the Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medallion and Medal; USPHS Distinguished Service Medal; U.S. Army Legion of Merit; U.S. Department of the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award; U.S. Coast Guard Meritorious Medal; American Medical Association Nathan B. Davis Award; Congressional Hispanic Caucus Medal; Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars Award; Elizabeth Blackwell Award; University of Michigan Medical Center Alumni Award; Ellis Island Medal of Honor; Elizabeth Ann Seton Award; National Council of La Raza President’s Award; American Academy of Pediatrics Excellence in Public Service Award; American Medical Women’s Association Leadership Award; and Charles C. Shepard Science Award for Scientific Excellence. She is also in the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

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