UAMS Hosts Former Surgeon General Elders 2018-06-05T17:54:09+00:00

 Former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, M.D., and Jeanne Y. Wei, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of the UAMS Institute on Aging.
Former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, M.D., and Jeanne Y. Wei, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of the UAMS Institute on Aging.

Feb. 26, 2009 | The United States has to be prepared for an enormous increase in demand for health care services as baby boomers age, former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, M.D., said recently.

“The fastest growing segment in our population is over age 65,” she told an audience at the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
  
Elders was introduced as a “lifelong pioneer and trailblazer” by Jeanne Y. Wei, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of the Institute on Aging and chairman of the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics in the UAMS College of Medicine.

“She has been a courageous, forthright and unflagging spokesperson for all Americans,” Wei said. “And her areas of interest have included many issues that are important for Americans.”

Wei noted that Elders was the first Arkansan to be board certified in pediatric endocrinology.

Elders spoke Feb. 18 on “Health Disparity and Aging” for the David A. Lipschitz, M.D., Ph.D. Longevity Lecture, the first in an annual series named for the Institute on Aging’s former director.

Elders said the United States has the best “sick care” in the world.

“We spend more money than anybody else (on health care). We’re up to $2.3 trillion now. We spend a lot of money and compared to other countries we have a shorter lifespan. We’re not healthy.”

She noted health issues in the United States, such as a lack of exercise, poor diet, increasing rates of overweight and obesity and high infant mortality rates, especially among African-Americans.

“We’ve got the best doctors in the world,” Elders said. “We’ve got the best hospitals in the world. We’ve got the best nurses in the world; we do cutting edge research, but we do not have the best health care.”

Elders is professor emeritus in the UAMS College of Medicine. She was nominated U.S. surgeon general by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and served in this post until January 1995. She then joined UAMS as a pediatric endocrinologist until her retirement in June 1998, and is now a professor emeritus of pediatric endocrinology. Elders was director of the Arkansas Department of Health from 1987 to 1993. Elders received her medical degree from UAMS in 1960. She also holds a Master of Science degree in biochemistry.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a new 540,000-square-foot hospital, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,652 students and 733 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,200 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit www.uams.edu or uamshealth.com.