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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 12, 2009

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Sullivan to lecture Jan. 21

University of Iowa Health Care will host a lecture in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by former secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan, M.D., at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21, in the Prem Sahai Auditorium (Room 1110A) in the Medical Education and Research Facility (MERF).

Sullivan will discuss "The Role of an Academic Medical Center in Achieving Dr. King's Dream." The event, part of the 2009 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration of Human Rights on the UI campus, is free and open to the public.

Nationally respected for his work in medicine, public health and health policy, Sullivan served as secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) from 1989-1993 under President George H.W. Bush. During the then-emerging HIV/AIDS epidemic, Sullivan spoke out against discrimination against HIV/AIDS patients and led efforts to raise awareness of HIV transmission among vulnerable populations, including African-Americans.

He also is highly regarded for his leadership in health professions education for underrepresented minorities. He played a leading role in the establishment of the Morehouse School of Medicine and served as dean from 1981-1989 and 1993-2002. Morehouse School of Medicine trains a diverse health and science professions workforce to address the primary care needs of underserved communities and minority populations.

In 2003-04 he led the Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which issued a report detailing ways to make the medical, dental and nursing professions more affordable and attainable for minority students.

In 2008, Sullivan accepted an appointment to the Health Disparities Technical Expert Panel of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, part of HHS. He also was named to an Institute of Medicine committee charged with improving the organization of HHS to better serve the public.

Sullivan received a bachelor's degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta and a medical degree from Boston University. He completed an internship and medical residency in hematology at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Prior to becoming the founding dean and director of the medical education program at Morehouse College in 1975 (which led to the establishment of the Morehouse School of Medicine in 1981) Sullivan held academic appointments at Harvard Medical School, Seton Hall College of Medicine and the Boston University School of Medicine.

For more information on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration of Human Rights at the UI, visit

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, contact the UI Carver College of Medicine Office of Cultural Affairs and Diversity Initiatives in advance at 319-384-2952.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032,