Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston
Former Assistant Surgeon General and Director, Bureau of Primary Health Care, U.S Public Health Service Rear Admiral, USPHS, Ret. Co-Director, The Gaston & Porter Health Improvement Center.
Dr. Marilyn H. Gaston's professional career has been dedicated to improving the health of poor and minority families in our Nation and abroad. Her approach to accomplishing this goal has been through her direct delivery of quality primary health care; through the provision of medical education to young clinicians in training; involvement in clinical research; and through administration of local and Federal programs directed to services for the un- and underserved people of our country.
She is the first African American woman to direct a Public Health Service Bureau and only the second African American woman to achieve the position of Assistant Surgeon General and rank of Rear Admiral in the US Public Health Service. As Director of the Bureau of Primary Health Care in Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), she was responsible for a budget with the reach of $5 Billion serving 12 million poor, underserved and disadvantaged people in our Nation.
Prior to her appointment as Bureau Director, her work at the National Institutes of Health changed the management of children with sickle cell disease that has resulted in significantly decreasing the morbidity and mortality in young children here and around the world, for which she is internationally recognized.
She has been concerned about the continuing disparities in health outcomes and established some innovative programs to address them and also served as the medical director of the National Minority Health Month program.
Her awards are numerous and include all awards in the PHS, Marilyn Hughes Gaston Day in the cities of Cincinnati and Lincoln Heights, Ohio. In Cincinnati there is a Buford-Gaston building in her honor. Dr. Gaston is a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Gaston received three Honorary Doctoral degrees - from the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth University and the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey. Dr. Gaston received the National Medical Association's Scroll of Merit, their highest honor and their Lifetime Achievement Award. The American Medical Association presented her with their prestigious Dr. Nathan Davis Award. The University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine has named a scholarship in her honor.
Each year two underprivileged, and minority first year students receive full, four year medical school scholarships - "The Gaston Scholars". In addition, the College of Medicine recently honored her by giving her a Distinguished Alumnae Award. She is featured in the National Library of Medicine's exhibit, "Changing the Face of Medicine-Women Physicians".
Dr. Gaston is a much sought after speaker and a frequent keynote speaker on topics close to her heart: Women's Health, especially African American Women's Health, Elimination of Health Disparities, Improving Access to Health Care, Sickle Cell Disease and the Needs of Youth.
She is featured regularly on radio and television locally - and has appeared nationally on "The Larry King Show" and Black Entertainment Television.
She is the co-author of the book entitled: Prime Time: The African American Woman's Complete Guide to Midlife Health and Wellness published by Random House.
Dr. Gaston's dream for this Nation is 100% access to quality care and 0 disparities in health outcomes.