Joycelyn Elders, M.D.: From Sharecropper's Daughter to Surgeon General of the United States of America

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Morrow, 1996 - Biography & Autobiography - 355 pages
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The oldest of eight children, Joycelyn Elders was born Minnie Lee Jones in the tiny town of Schaal, Arkansas, in 1933. She grew up in a three-room cabin and, at age fifteen, graduated from high school as valedictorian. When she entered Philander Smith College in Little Rock, she had never seen a doctor, let alone dreamed of becoming one. Dr. Elders graduated from the University of Arkansas Medical School and then became its first black resident, its first black chief resident, and finally its first black professor. By the time of the Senate debate on her confirmation as surgeon general in August 1993, Dr. Elders had been a respected pediatric endocrinologist and medical scientist for a quarter of a century, as well as the director of Arkansas's health department under then-governor Clinton. But during Dr. Elders's tenure as surgeon general she came under fire for her controversial positions on such subjects as abortion, sex education, the distribution of condoms, and the legalization of drugs. Her passion and outspokenness enraged Republicans and often upset the Clinton administration. Now, Dr. Elders openly describes the top-level machinations that led the Clinton health insurance reform to self-destruct and eventually resulted in her own dismissal. She writes with equal candor about such intimate personal tragedies as her youngest son's drug addiction and arrest, and about the poisoned political climate in Arkansas, which has affected the lives of so many of the President's friends and appointees.

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Joycelyn Elders, M. D.: from sharecropper's daughter to surgeon general of the United States of America

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Elders, currently a professor of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas Medical School, was for 15 months the U.S. surgeon general. In this memoir, she recounts her many accomplishments, focusing on her transformation from a poor black girl to a medical scientist. (LJ 9/15/96) Read full review

Review: Joycelyn Elders, MD : From Sharecropper's Daughter to Surgeon General of the United States of America

User Review  - Emelda - Goodreads

I'm struggling to figure out how to rate this. For a public health/sexual health nerd-wannabe like me, who loves hearing personal stories about race/class/sexuality- completely fascinating, and I'd ... Read full review


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About the author (1996)

Kevin M. Takakuwa is resident physician at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of the medical school at the University of California, Davis. Nick Rubashkin is a medical student at Stanford University. Karen E. Herzig earned a Ph.D. in health psychology from the University of California, San Francisco, where she currently works as a researcher.

David Chanoff has written about literary history, education, foreign policy, and other subjects for such publications as the "New York Times Magazine, " the "Washington Post, " and "The New Republic." His thirteen books include collaborations with former surgeon general Joycelyn Elders, former chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William Crowe Jr, and Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon.

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