Press enter to search
The Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity

David Satcher, MD, PhD

Co-founder Dr. David Satcher is committed to eliminating health disparities for underserved groups, shedding light on neglected issues, such as mental and sexual health.

David Satcher, MD, PhD is Founding Director and Senior Advisor of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute which was established in 2006 at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. The mission of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine (SHLI/MSM) is to develop a diverse group of exceptional health leaders, advance and support comprehensive health system strategies, and actively promote policies and practices that will reduce and ultimately eliminate disparities in health. The Institute’s programs reflect Dr. Satcher’s experience in improving public health policy, his commitment to eliminating health disparities for underserved groups, shedding light on neglected issues, such as mental and sexual health.

Dr. Satcher was sworn in as the 16th Surgeon General of the United States in February 1998 and served until 2002. He also served as the 10th Assistant Secretary for Health in the Department of Health and Human Services from 1998 – 2001, making him only the second person in history to have held both positions simultaneously. His tenure of public service also includes serving as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.   He is the only person to have served as Director of the CDC and Surgeon General of the United States.

Dr. Satcher has held top leadership positions at the Charles R. Drew University for Medicine and ScienceMeharry Medical College, and the Morehouse School of Medicine. He has been a Macy Foundation Fellow, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar, and a Senior Visiting Fellow of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Dr. Satcher held the position of Director of the National Center for Primary Care (NCPC) at the Morehouse School of Medicine from 2002 – 2004. This recognizes his long commitment to removing the stigma attached to mental illness, as evidenced by Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, the first surgeon general’s report on mental health, released during his tenure as Surgeon General.

As Surgeon General and Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Satcher led the department’s effort to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health, an initiative that was incorporated as one of the two major goals of Healthy People 2010. In 2005, he was appointed to serve on the World Health Organization Commission on Social Determinants of Health.

Dr. Satcher has received over 50 honorary degrees and numerous distinguished honors including top awards from the National Medical Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Ronald Davis Special Recognition Award from the American College of Preventive Medicine, and the Symbol of H.O.P.E. Award for health promotion and disease prevention.  He received the Benjamin E. Mays Trailblazer Award and the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award for contributions to the health of humankind from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

Previously, Dr. Satcher served on the Board of Directors of Johnson & Johnson, MetLife, and the CDC Foundation. He has also served locally on the board of United Way of Greater Atlanta and The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

Dr. Satcher graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1963 and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He holds MD and PhD degrees from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Preventive Medicine and the American College of Physicians. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the 100 Black Men of Atlanta and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

A proponent of healthy lifestyles through physical activity and good nutrition, Dr. Satcher is an avid runner, rower, and gardener.

Join our community