Antonia Novello

U.S. Surgeon General, Antonia C. Novello (center) while she attended the Centers for Disease Control, CDC, Public Health Image Library

The 14th U. S. Surgeon General

By: Katelin Kukk

Born in 1944, Antonia Novello was sick throughout most of her life due to congenital megacolon. She had to wait until she was 18 to have surgery and had to have a second one two years later to be fully cured. Due to this challenging time in her life, it grew her determination to become a doctor so she could help women, children, and minorities.

Antonia went on to medical school when her aunt died of kidney failure. She was inspired by her passing to specialize in pediatric nephrology (study of the kidneys) and continued with schooling. She eventually went to work at the U.S public health services where she became focused on pediatric AIDS for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. President George H.W. Bush became interested in her work in 1990 and appointed her the 14th U. S. Surgeon General, making her the first woman and Hispanic to serve in this esteemed position.

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