Antonia Novello

  Antonia Novello was the first female and the first Hispanic to be Surgeon General of the United States. Antonia is a leader of 6,500 employees of the Public Health Service. She was born in 1944 in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. When Antonia Novello was eight years old her father died. Antonia and her brothers were raised by their mother who was a schoolteacher.

Antonia Novello suffered from a chronic illness of the colon (a section of the large intestine). Every summer she had a treatment for the disease. She also learned how it felt to be a helpless patient.

When she was 18 years old she had surgery so she would be healthy again. She also wanted to help other children who where suffering like she did. She earned her degree from the University of Puerto Rico in 1965. She kept on studying at University trying to earn her medical degree (M.D.) degree in 1970. In the same year she married Joseph Novello. Joseph was a U.S. Navy flight surgeon. Then the two of them moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to continue their medical training at University of Michigan Medical Center.

In 1982 Antonia continued her studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. In 1982 she earned her master's degree. In 1986 she was named the director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. In the fall of 1989 George Bush nominated Antonia Novello to be the country’s Surgeon General. She was the first woman and the first Hispanic to have this important job. She met with the world's largest beer and wine companies to convince them to help end the selling of liquor to younger children. She was also disturbed by rising lung cancer for females.

She said by the year 2,000 we might have 10 million children who are orphans. She also said she would try to do better for all children. So in 1993 her term was finally over. Now she does research on children's health issues.

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1999, by Alexandria, third grade