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The C. Everett Koop Papers

"Remarks Presented to the Students and Faculty [of] George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC" [Reminiscence] pdf (180,542 Bytes) transcript of pdf
"Remarks Presented to the Students and Faculty [of] George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC" [Reminiscence]
First outpatient service for merchant seamen
Number of Image Pages:
3 (180,542 Bytes)
Koop, C. Everett
Reproduced with permission of C. Everett Koop.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
United States Public Health Service
Exhibit Category:
Biographical Information
Metadata Record Remarks Presented to the Students and Faculty [of] George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC (April 23, 1986) pdf (821,241 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Box Number: 105
Folder Number: 27
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
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Series: Speeches, Lectures, Papers, 1958-2004
SubSeries: 1985-1986
Folder: Remarks- "What the Surgeon General Does"- George Washington University Medical School of Medicine- Students and Faculty, Washington, DC, 1986 Apr 23
Vol. 8 -- # 19
By C. Everett Koop, MD, ScD
Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health Service and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health
US Department of Health and Human Services
Presented to the Students and Faculty George Washington University School of Medicine
Washington, DC
April 23, 1986
The title of this lecture should have been "What the Surgeon General does", and it probably should have been a lecture I gave in the first 3 months I was in office, then again in the last month before I left. No place else, that I know of, can the reader find what is in the few pages of this lecture but almost every word is important, and it is very hard to write a summary without repeating the entire lecture. In brief outline, I cover the early history of the formation of the Marine Hospital Service and show how that came about with the first Public Health Service Hospital in Boston, the district of our second President, John Adams. Our third President, Thomas Jefferson, appointed a controversial young doctor named Benjamin Waterhouse to be the new director of this Boston Marine Hospital. He was an energetic but controversial character - perhaps somewhat like the then present Surgeon General. He was a whiz and a world-beater. He introduced vaccination, the first out-patient service in a hospital, wrote the first regulations about federal medicine, was a faculty member of Harvard, and set up the first teaching hospital at the Boston Marine Hospital. Unfortunately, with all his brilliance, he was abrasive. Our fourth President, James Madison fired him. Having noted that in the lecture, I then ran through the history of the Marine Hospital Service, our ongoing relationship to the Coast Guard, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency. I spoke about the many physicians who have stood with one foot in medical practice and one in public health policy, and how the Surgeon General really can't make it, if he is a follower and not a leader.
I jumped quickly from Adams, Jefferson, and Madison to the fact that I was the 13th man to hold this job. I then went on to be very personal and tell what I felt that I had done that was significant during the first four years - my first term - as Surgeon General of the United States. There's no other place in these lectures where the reader can find out exactly what the Surgeon General does, what ancillary offices he holds, nor is there any other place where I list what I think were my accomplishments in the first four years. In doing the above, I had to mention a number of organizations in and out of the government with which I had affiliation, because I was the Surgeon General.
I ended by saying that I thought I had the best job in American medicine, but in case I hadn't convinced the audience, I would be glad to take their questions.
"Baby Doe"
Cocaine abuse
Confirmation of Koop first & second terms
Disabled children
Elimination of smallpox
First regulations governing federal medicine
Medicine and politics
Oral hydration
Organ donation
Organ transplantation
Philosophy of aging
Ranks of personnel within the Public Health Service
Reye's syndrome & aspirin
Surgeon General & International Health
Violence as a public health issue
John Adams (Second President of the United States)
Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service
Emergency Military Assistance to Safety & Traffic (MAST)
House of Delegates of the American Medical Association
Thomas Jefferson (Third President of the United States)
Dr. Edward Jenner
James Madison (Fourth President of the United States)
Marine Hospital of Boston (first teaching hospital)
National Board of Medical Examiners
National Defense Council
National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
Surgeon General of the Public Health Service
Dr. Luther Terry (Former Surgeon General)
The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
United States Public Health Service
Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse (Director, Boston Marine Hospital)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Dr. Zubicki (Host at George Washington)
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