Elders Minnie Joycelyn Elders (born August 13, 1933) was the United
States Surgeon General from September 8, 1993 to December
31, 1994, most famous for her outspokenness on sensitive
issues of public health.
shown on wikpedia.com)
She was born Minnie Lee Jones in Schaal, Arkansas. In college, she changed her
name to Minnie Joycelyn Lee (later using just Joycelyn). In 1952, she received
her B.A. in biology from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. After
working as a nurse's aide in a Veterans Administration hospital in Milwaukee
for a period, she joined the United States Army in May, 1953. During her 3 years
in the Army, she was trained as a physical therapist. She then attended the University
of Arkansas Medical School, where she obtained her M.D. degree in 1960. After
completing an internship at the University of Minnesota Hospital and a residency
in pediatrics at the University of Arkansas Medical Center, Elders earned an
M.S. in Biochemistry in 1967.
Elders then received a National Institutes of Health career development award,
also serving as assistant professor in pediatrics at the University of Arkansas
Medical Center from 1967. She was promoted to associate professor in 1971 and
professor in 1976. Her research interests focused on endocrinology, and she received
certification as a pediatric endocrinologist in 1978. She became an expert on
childhood sexual development.Elders received a D.Sc. from Bates College in 2002.
In 1987 Governor Bill Clinton appointed Elders Director of the Arkansas Department
of Health. Her accomplishments in this position included a tenfold increase in
the number of early childhood screenings annually and almost a doubling of the
immunization rate for two-year-olds in Arkansas. In 1992, she was elected President
of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers.
In 1993 after Clinton was elected president, he appointed her United States Surgeon
General, making her the first African American, and the second woman, to hold
the position (Antonia Novello was the first). As surgeon general, Elders quickly
established a reputation for controversy. Like many of the surgeons general before
her, she was an outspoken advocate of a variety of health-related causes, some
of which were quite unconventional. She argued for an exploration of the possibility
of drug legalization, and she was a strong backer of President Clinton's plan
for national health care.
In 1994, she was invited to speak at a United Nations conference on AIDS. She
was asked whether it would be appropriate to promote masturbation as a means
of preventing young people from engaging in riskier forms of sexual activity,
and she replied, "I think that it is part of human sexuality, and perhaps
it should be taught." This remark caused great controversy, especially among
conservative Christian groups and right wing interests in the United States.
President Clinton asked for her resignation.
Life after government
Since leaving her post as surgeon general, she has returned to the University
of Arkansas Medical Center as professor of pediatrics. She is also a regular
on the lecture circuit, speaking on issues related to AIDS and teen pregnancy.
Elders wrote a book an attempt to present her side of the controversies that
surrounded her during her 18-month tenure as surgeon general. Already reviled
by conservatives for advocating abortion rights and condom distribution in schools,
Elders drew fire — and censure from the Clinton administration — when
she suggested that legalizing drugs might help reduce crime and that the idea
should be studied. Almost immediately afterward, her son Kevin was arrested for
cocaine possession, in what she still believes was a frame-up designed to embarrass
her and the president.
* "How do you get rid of the trash? It's out there in society, it's going
on every day...You can educate children an awful lot easier than you can get
rid of the trash." - (LA Times interview)
* "We must stop this love affair with the fetus." - 1993
* "The number of Down’s Syndrome infants in Washington state in 1976
was 64% lower than it would have been without legal abortion."
* "Education, education, education. The only way we are going to get around
[AIDS] is with education. We have no vaccine, we have no magic drug. All we've
got is education."
* "As long as I was in Washington I never met anybody that I thought was
good enough, who knew enough or who loved enough to make sexual decisions for
anybody else." 
1. ^ Cynthia
Cotts (1995-10-30). The Crucifixion of Kevin Elders. Albion Monitor.
2. ^ Joycelyn Elders. (2006). Penn & Teller: Bullshit! Season 4 Episode 10