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President George Bush’s Nomination of Antonia Coello Novello to be Surgeon General, January 23, 1990

Dr. Antonia Novello, nominated by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, was the first woman and first Hispanic to serve as surgeon general. She used the power of her office to focus on health problems of women, minorities, and youth. Novello targeted AIDS, drug abuse, underage smoking and drinking, and cigarette advertising aimed at children.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

President George Bush’s Nomination of Antonia Coello Novello to be Surgeon General, January 23, 1990

Promoting Public Health

Today's Public Health Service traces its origins to 1798, when Congress established the U. S. Marine Hospital Service. Throughout the years, Congress has expanded its responsibilities to include safeguarding the health of all U.S. citizens. Heading the Public Health Service is the surgeon general. Appointed by the president with the consent of the Senate, the surgeon general educates and informs the public on a variety of health issues such as diet, smoking and disease.