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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 20, 2006

Former Surgeon General Elders To Speak At Nursing Conference

The aging of America is triggering a higher demand for health care and social services. To continue to meet these demands, multiple strategies will be needed to prevent the elderly from becoming disabled, to help them preserve function and to prevent further disability.

Former U.S. Surgeon General M. Joycelyn Elders will discuss these and other pressing health care concerns as part of the 17th annual Long-Term Care Conference sponsored by the University of Iowa College of Nursing. Elders will address the public at this free event at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9 in the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. 

Elders became the first African-American woman to hold the Surgeon General post, during the Clinton Administration. Now a Distinguished Professor of Public Health at the University of Arkansas, she never saw a physician prior to her first year in college.

At the age of 15, Elders received a scholarship to attend Philander-Smith College in Little Rock, Ark. After a stint in the U.S. Army, Elders attended the University of Arkansas Medical School (UAMS). Following an internship at the University of Minnesota, she fulfilled fellowships in pediatrics and pediatric endocrinology at UAMS. Elders joined the faculty at UAMS, and in 1987, she was appointed director of the Arkansas Department of Health.

During Senate hearings to confirm her as Surgeon General, in 1993, Elders stated, "I want to change the way we think about health by putting prevention first. I want to be the voice and vision of the poor and powerless. I want to change concern about social problems that affect health into commitment. And I would like to make every child born in America a wanted child."

Elders' address is made possible through the generosity of Woodrow W. and Mary Anders Morris, longtime supporters of the UI College of Nursing. Additional support was received from the Alzheimer Demonstration Project, Gerontological Nursing Intervention Research Center, Iowa State Bank & Trust Company, the John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, J&M Associates HomeSafe, Kelting Visiting Scholar Fund in Adult and Gerontological Nursing, Meadow View Memory Care Village, the Meth-Wick Community, Oaknoll Retirement Residence, and the UI Center on Aging.

The two-day, Long-Term Care Conference addresses an array of topics of interest to long-term care administrators, nurses, social workers and others engaged in the care of older adults. Presentations will include a discussion of the six dimensions of wellness: physical, social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and vocational.

Register by Nov. 1 for reduced fees. For more information or to register, call 319-335-4141 or visit

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Nursing, 101 Nursing Building, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACTS: Michele Francis, 319-335-8960, Program: Kay Geguzis, 319-335-7108,