Ashley Winkfield is an undergraduate studying Communications at UNC- Chapel Hill.
Joycelyn Elders was the first African-American and the second female to be Surgeon General of the United States. She is a pediatrician with more than 20 years of experience and an expert in growth problems and juvenile diabetes. Another important issue to her was that of teen pregnancy. Throughout her career she ardently advocated for the need to address this growing problem.
Dr. Elders was born on August 13, 1933 in Schaal, Arkansas as Minnie Lee Jones, the eldest of 8 children. She and her siblings worked in the cotton fields starting at age 5 and during harvest time often missed days at their segregated school. She changed her name to Minnie Joycelyn Lee during her college years at the all-black Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas where she received her BS in Biology in 1952. While she did receive a scholarship to attend Philander Smith, she paid for the remainder by scrubbing floors to earn her tuition, while her siblings did extra work to pay for her travel to and from school. She first thought of becoming a doctor when she attended a lecture by Edith Irby Jones, the first African-American to attend the University of Arkansas (UofA) Medical School. After earning her college degree, she worked at a Veterans Administration hospital in Milwaukee as a Nurse’s Aide until joining the army in May of 1953. During her stint with the US Army, Dr. Elders was trained as a physical therapist at the Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam, Texas. She was able to attend the University of Arkansas Medical School, following in Dr. Jones’ footsteps, on the G.I. Bill, but was still subjected to segregated facilities.
Now retired from practice, she is a professor emeritus at the UofA School of Medicine, and remains active in public health education.
~One drop of knowledge can ripple through an entire community