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February 2013


Former Surgeon General and long-time ACPM member, C. Everett Koop, died at his home in Hanover, NH on February 25 at the age of 96. His death was confirmed by a spokeswoman for the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth, but the cause of death was not disclosed. A retired pediatric surgeon at the time Ronald Reagan nominated him in 1981, Dr. Koop possessed no formal public health training. However, he was later revered as the most recognized surgeon general of the 20th century.

During Dr. Koop’s tenure as surgeon general, he faced the difficult task of responding to the AIDS epidemic/pandemic. His report on HIV/AIDS faced initial resistance from government leaders stemming from the need to explicitly discuss methods of preventing transmission—for heterosexuals and homosexuals. Despite the resistance, Dr. Koop succeeded in spearheading an engaging, effective dialogue about HIV and AIDS at a time when little was known about either, there were few treatment options, and a widespread fear existed that the HIV virus would soon threaten the entire population.

In May 1988, Dr. Koop mailed a seven-page brochure, "Understanding AIDS” to all 107 million households in the US. This and other effective awareness campaigns and public health initiatives solidified Dr. Koop’s reputation as "America’s doctor.”

Read Dr. Koop’s obituary written by ACPM Past President F. Douglas Scutchfield, MD, MPH, FACPM, in www.ajpmonline.org.


April 2013


Long before First Lady Michelle Obama launched a national conversation on physical fitness, Yancey was talking about the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle and the benefits of exercise, colleagues said.

Yancey, known as Toni, died Tuesday at her Los Angeles home of lung cancer, according to the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She was 55 and a non-smoker.

"It was her vision that said, 'Let's incorporate exercise in small bursts of activity that anyone can do anywhere,'" said Dr. Linda Rosenstock, former dean of UCLA's public health school. "She really was a leader." Following Yancey's death, some Twitter followers posted that they were doing instant recesses in her honor.

Yancey, a 6-foot-2-inch former college basketball player, was also a poet and spoken word artist. In 1997, she published a book of poetry entitled "An Old Soul With a Young Spirit: Poetry in the Era of Desegregation Recovery."

She spoke around the nation about the importance of getting out of the car and the desk chair — and how that helps improve concentration and productivity among students and employees. "What's good for the waistline is good for the bottom line," she said at a speech in Manhattan Beach last fall.

A well-published researcher, Yancey wrote dozens of academic articles about obesity, nutrition, physical fitness and chronic disease prevention. But she was also committed to real-life solutions to public health problems, said Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University. "It's not just about crunching numbers," he said. "It's about devising practical solutions that people can really use right now. Toni really epitomized that."

Yancey was born Nov. 1, 1957, in Kansas City, Kan., and attended Northwestern University, where she studied biochemistry and molecular biology. Following graduation, she attended medical school at Duke University and completed her residency training and master's in public health at UCLA. She spent five years working as a public health practitioner, as director of public health for the city of Richmond, Va., and as director of chronic disease prevention and health promotion for Los Angeles County.

At UCLA, Yancey taught at the public health school and co-directed the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity. Her co-director, Roshan Bastani, said Yancey was passionate about social justice and became a role model for minority students. Bastani said when she started working with Yancey more than 20 years ago, very few people were talking about the importance of changing the physical environment. "People are embracing that now, but she was talking about this years and years and years ago," she said. "She really was a pioneer."

Obituary retrieved from The Los Angeles Times, http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/25/local/la-me-antronette-yancey-20130426 , 1, May, 2013.  

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