I am Antonia Novello. I was the first female and first Hispanic to be appointed surgeon general of the United States. As a former pediatrician, my concern was on the health of young children. As leader of the 6,500 employees of the Public Health Service, I directed the nation's attention to AIDS infected children, the dangers of smoking, and teenage drinking.
I was born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, August 23, (1944 ).My parents were Antonio Coello and Ana Delia Coello. At the age of eight, my dad died, and from there on I was raised by my mother. When I was a child, I suffered from a painful illness of the colon which was section of the large intestine. I spent most of my summer in the hospital to receive treatments for this illness and I learned what it was like to be a helpless patient. My condition was finally corrected by surgery when I was 18 years old.
These experiences convinced me to pursue a career in medicine.
I earn my bachelor of science from the University of Puerto Rico in (1965 ). I continued my studies and earned a medical doctor degree in (1970 ). That year I married Joseph Novello who was a United States Navy flight surgeon. Later on we moved to Michigan were I continued my medical training. I was the first woman to be honored with the Intern of the Year award by the center's pediatrics department for my skilled and caring treatments of patients.
Afterwards, I continued my medical training at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. In (1982 ), I earned a master's degree in public health from John Hopkins University of Baltimore, Maryland. In (1986 ), I became deputy director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. In...