Former CDC director speaks at Stillman’s Realizing the Dream lecture series


Stillman College hosted the nation’s only Black director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of the school’s Realizing the Dream Distinguished Lecture Series.

Dr. David Satcher, who’s an Anniston native, spent his time at the CDC focused on vaccinating children and working with parents.

But there were plenty of challenges during his time in that position, Satcher said.

“Dealing with a system that had a lot of holes and gaps and trying to make that system work for everybody,” he said. “That was the challenge at the CDC. I think one of the major reasons why I was selected was that people were complaining about immunizations and things like that and people said ‘let’s see if we can find a Black person to head the CDC.’ I had a great experience at the CDC.”

Along with serving as CDC director, Satcher also served as U.S. Surgeon General and Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources.

He is the second person in history to hold both posts at the same time.

During his lecture, Satcher touched on topics including living a healthy lifestyle, health disparities, the Tuskegee syphilis study and the COVID 19 pandemic.

He also stressed the need for more scientists and the importance of students doing their best in school.

“You are going to face a lot of challenges, no question about it,” he said. “You are going to face a lot of opportunities. Much more than your parents. Much more than I faced. But you got to take advantage of those opportunities and you can make some good things happen for yourself and other people.”

Satcher is recently retired from the Satcher Leadership Health Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine.

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