Written on 06/10/2022

Testtdi Antonia Novella overcame childhood poverty and illness to become one of the leading doctors in the United States. She was trained as a pediatrician and served in the public health sector. After spending several years at the National Insitute of Health (NIH), Novello was appointed United States Surgeon General by President George Bush. She was the first woman and Latina to hold this position. Novello used this role to bring national attention to important health issues, such as alcohol abuse, smoking, violence, and AIDS, as well as issues that especially affected women and Hispanics. 

Novello has received numerous awards and honorary degrees in recognition for her public service. In 1983 she received the Public Health Service Commendation Medal, and in 1989 she was awarded the Surgeon General's Exemplary Service Medal, and in 1989 she was recognized for her leadership at the Hispanic Heritage Awards. 



"I know that I am one example of someone who has refused to be told that she couldn't achieve her goals. As a woman, as a Hispanic, and as the first female Surgeon General, I am a testament to pushing back barriers."

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