U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin to speak at UWA Oct. 28

LIVINGSTON — The University of West Alabama will host 18th U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, on October 28 as part of its Project Engage STEM program. Benjamin will deliver two addresses on campus during her visit.

Benjamin will deliver a keynote address to the general public in Lyon Hall Auditorium at 3 p.m. A reception will follow from 4 until 4:30 p.m. in Lyon Hall’s Tutwiler Conference Room. She will address UWA students and participants in the Project Engage STEM initiative at 6 p.m. in the auditorium, with a reception following from 7 until 7:30 p.m. in the conference room.

Benjamin comes to UWA as part of the University’s Project Engage STEM initiative, which is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help recruit and retain minority students in STEM, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, fields. Faculty from the three colleges of business, education, and natural sciences and mathematics guide the program by mentoring and collaborating with students and providing unique research and learning experiences.

Benjamin was appointed by President Barack Obama as the 18th U.S. Surgeon General in July of 2009, and she served a four-year term. Through her tenure, Benjamin led the country’s 6,700 uniformed public health officers who serve in locations around the world to promote and protect Americans’ health.

Before becoming “America’s Doctor” with her appointment to the Surgeon General post, Benjamin served patients through her rural health clinic in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, which operated despite damages by Hurricane Georges in 1998 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. She also previously served as associate dean for Rural Health at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and as chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States.

Benjamin became the first physician under the age of 40 and the first African-American woman to be elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees with her appointment in 1995. She served as president of the American Medical Association Education and Research Foundation and as chair of the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs.

A native of Fairhope, Ala., Benjamin holds a bachelor of science in chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana, an MD from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and an MBA from Tulane University. She attended Morehouse School of Medicine and completed her family medicine residency in Macon, Ga. She has been awarded an unprecedented 22 honorary degrees.

While serving as U.S. Surgeon General, Benjamin simultaneously served as the first chair of the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council, which consists of 17 cabinet-level Federal agencies that developed a road map for the nation’s health, the National Prevention Strategy. Prevention was a key focus in Benjamin’s tenure of the Surgeon General’s office.