Georgia LEND hosts David Satcher Lecture on Leadership on the Elimination of Health Disparities

December 21, 2018

Georgia State University's (GSU) Georgia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (GaLEND) Program - housed within the Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) - has had a partnership with the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine extending back to 2010. GaLEND recruits a fellow who participates in the Health Leadership Policy Fellowship at Morehouse School of Medicine and GaLEND at GSU concurrently. In 2015, GaLEND and the Satcher Health Leadership Institute created a partnership with Emory's Center for Excellence in Maternal Child Health (MCH). These three institutions offer the MCH Leadership Collaborative each Fall semester which draws students and faculty from across the three institutions to prepare for leadership in a rapidly changing world.

Dr. David Satcher, 16th Surgeon General of the United States, has been addressing the group every year since 2011. His lecture is the final session of the course. Nov 28, 2018 marked the first year when Dr. James Curran, Dean of the Emory Rollins School of Public Health and Dr. Michael Eriksen, Dean of the GSU School of Public Health both participated in the lecture. Dean Curran said in his introduction of Dr. Satcher that Satcher and Leadership were redundant. "[He] is one of the most impactful public health leaders in many of our lifetimes."

Dr. Satcher's remarks focused on the ways his upbringing in segregated Alabama, his contracting whooping cough at an early age and his participation in the civil rights movement prepared him for leadership in health and healthcare. He said, "Leaders must care enough, leaders must know enough, leaders must be willing to do enough and leaders must be willing to persist until the work is done." Dr. Satcher also discussed how important building teams is for leaders. He said, "You have to have people on your team who are as passionate about the work that needs to be done as you are."

Dean Eriksen moderated a question and response session after the lecture. One of the most powerful things that Dean Eriksen talked about was the way Dr. Satcher changed the language around health disparities from a focus on reducing health disparities to a focus on working towards the elimination of health disparities. Dean Eriksen said that this was a "game-changer" in the realm of public health.

The lecture was held at the Rollins School of Public Health on the Campus of Emory University, with about 90 individuals in attendance.

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