CDC Head Nominated for Surgeon General

The White House today nominated David Satcher, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, to two of the nation's top health policy posts: Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service, a job that's often a bully pulpit for highlighting public health issues, and Assistant Secretary for Health, top medical policy adviser to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Satcher, a physician and epidemiologist, was dean of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, before he took the helm of the CDC in 1993. There he has emphasized preventive medicine and public health problems such as violence in inner cities. His name was first floated for the combined position of Surgeon General and Assistant Secretary for Health 7 months ago (Science, 28 February, p. 1251).

Unlike Henry Foster, whose nomination for surgeon general was shot down in Congress in 1995 because he had performed abortions, no objections have yet been raised to Satcher. The surgeon general spot has been vacant since Joycelyn Elders resigned in 1994 after making controversial comments about masturbation and legalizing drugs.