M. Joycelyn EldersBA, MD, MS
Joycelyn Elders was born on August 13, 1933 in Schaal, Arkansas. She was the daughter of sharecroppers but despite growing up in poverty, she graduated as valedictorian of her high school class and became the first in her family to attend college, the first person in the state of Arkansas to become board certified in pediatric endocrinology, and the first African-American public health administrator. In 1993, she became the 15th United States Surgeon General, making her the first African American and only the second woman to hold the position. Her controversial opinions about sexual health, including her U.N. conference statements regarding masturbation, caused great controversy, and ultimately led to her forced resignation. Elders is currently a professor emerita of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas School of Medicine and participates in numerous public speaking events promoting the legalization of marijuana and improvements to sexual education and public health.