Antonia Novello.

Boston – Dr. Antonia Novello, the first woman and first Hispanic to serve as U.S. Surgeon General, will speak at several panel discussions, lectures and forums in Boston, Salem and Lawrence the week of March 20 to 25.

“It is a true historic moment to host Dr. Novello in Boston at a time where there is much conversation on healthcare issues impacting Latinos,” said Enna Jimenez, president of the Association for Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA),

The Latino Association and Salem State University are hosting Novello’s visit.

Lisa McBride, vice president of diversity and inclusion at Salem State University, said Novello’s knowledge and expertise made a big impact in the U.S., by focusing on teen smoking and alcohol advertising aimed at teenagers.

“She has been a strong advocate for addressing children’s health concerns, and as the nation’s former chief doctor, addressed broader health issues,”  McBride said.

As surgeon general, Novello focused her attention on AIDS prevention, women’s health, diet, nutrition, environmental health hazards and immunization.

One important area for Novello was underage smoking and she directly attacked tobacco companies for their marketing strategies toward teenagers.

Among her accomplishments was pursuing the Federal Drug Administration to approve vaccinations for military personnel during the Gulf War.

Born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, Novello was inspired to become a doctor after suffering from a medical condition, which could only be corrected by surgery, but her family could not afford it.

Novello, 72, earned a bachelor of science degree in 1965 from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras and a doctorate of medicine in 1970 from the University of Puerto Rico, San Juan.

She also earned a master’s in public health in 1982 from Johns Hopkins University.

Novello worked for UNICEF and was Health Commissioner in New York where she was responsible for disaster management after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

This will be Dr. Antonia Novello’s schedule:

March 20, 5:30-9 p.m., Simmons College, Linda Paresky Conference Center, 300 Fenway, Boston:

Novello will be keynote speaker and host a discussion on healthcare disparities with panelists  from Simmons College and Salem State University. Open to the public, but tickets needed. For tickets, visit

March 21, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Salem State University, Veterans Hall, Ellison Campus Center:

Novello speaks on the “Disparities in Healthcare Quality among Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups,” to nursing, healthcare studies, social work, and counseling psychology students and faculty, followed by a discussion. Open to the public.

March 22, 7-9 a.m., Salvatore’s Restaurant, 354 Merrimack St., Lawrence, Executives’ Breakfast Forum: “Sizing, Attracting and Engaging the State’s Next Generation Workforce.”

Proceeds benefit the Dr. Antonia Novello Scholarship for Latino Students at Salem State University. Open to the public, but ticket required.

For tickets, visit

March 23, 5:30-8:30 pm, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, 10 Park Plaza, Suite 2890, Boston:

Stakeholders roundtable on “Strengthening the Latino Pipeline into STEM+M Fields.”

In addition to Novello, other panelists are Commissioner of Higher Education for Massachusetts Carlos E. Santiago and Massachusetts Secretary of Education Jim Peyser.

For tickets, visit

March 24, 7-9 a.m., Eastern Bank, Boston:

Novello will deliver the keynote address entitled “The Vision and Voice of Women” to leaders from Eastern Bank and members of ALPFA as part of Women’s History Month.

Visit ALPFA website for attendance.

March 25, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Salem State University, Veterans Hall, Ellison Campus Center”

Novello is keynote speaker at the leadership conference of the executive board of Latin American Student Organization, which brings together students from  approximately 25 universities from the Commonwealth. The event is open to the public and media.

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