May 6, 2002

FORT WORTH, Texasâ??Former U.S. Surgeon General Antonia C. Novello, MD, DrPH, will give the commencement address when the University of North Texas Health Science Center graduates its 2002 class of osteopathic physicians, physician assistants, scientists and public health professionals.

The ceremony will be held at 2 pm, Saturday, May 18, at Will Rogers Memorial Auditorium, 3401 W. Lancaster Ave. in Fort Worth.

Dr. Novello currently heads one of the leading public health agencies in the United States as health commissioner for the state of New York. Prior to being appointed the stateâ??s health commissioner, Dr. Novello served as the 14th Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service. She became the first woman and the first Hispanic to ever hold the position. In that role, she advised the public on public health matters such as smoking, AIDS, diet and nutrition, and environmental health hazards. She also directed the activities of the 6,100 members of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

Dr. Novello has also served as the special representative for health and nutrition for the United Nations Childrenâ??s Fund and has been a visiting professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. As the special director of the universityâ??s Community Health Policy program, she provided guidance in the development of the research, service and educational programs relevant to improving the health of poor communities, particularly inner city and urban â??disenfranchisedâ?? populations.

Dr. Novello was born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. She graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a B.S. in 1965 and an M.D. in 1970. A specialist in pediatric nephrology, she began working in public health service in 1978. She received her doctor of public health from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in 2000.

Also during the ceremony, State Sen. Mike Moncrief, who is retiring at the end of this year, will receive an honorary degree for his support of the health science center and healthcare needs in Texas throughout his tenure in the Legislature.

The graduating class includes 106 from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, 13 from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and 22 from the School of Public Health.

The health science center was founded in 1970 as the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and graduated its first physicians in 1974. Today, the University of North Texas Health Science Center is an academic medical center with more than 825 students in three graduate schools. This is the 29th commencement for the health science center.

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