National Institute on Aging

The Higher Education of the New Acting Surgeon General of the United States

In late April, Sylvia Trent-Adams became the acting Surgeon General of the United States. She is the first African American nurse to serve as Surgeon General. The Surgeon General, often referred to as “America’s Doctor” serves as the chief advocate for public health and well-being for the nation.

After serving as an Army nurse and as a research scientist at the University of Maryland, in 1982 Dr. Trent-Adams joined the Commissioned Corps of the Public health Service. Before joining the Surgeon General’s office, she was deputy associate administrator for the HIV/AIDS bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Dr. Trent-Adams is a 1987 graduate of Hampton University in Virginia, where she majored in nursing. She went on to earn a master’s degree in nursing and health policy and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.


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