U.S. Surgeon General Satcher to Leave Office When Term Ends in February
U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, who "riled the Bush White House over the issue of teaching sexual abstinence in schools," announced Friday that he will step down at the end of his four-year term in February, the AP/Baltimore Sun reports (AP/Baltimore Sun, 11/4). "My term ends on Feb. 13, and I don't plan to stay on," Satcher said. When asked whether he would like to continue in his position, he said, "That's not an issue for me." Satcher, first appointed by President Clinton in 1993 to head the CDC and then appointed to become surgeon general in 1998, drew criticism from the Bush administration when his office released a report in July that found "no evidence that teaching sexual abstinence in schools was successful" and urged schools to "encourage abstinence" but also teach birth control techniques. The report prompted some political conservatives to call for his resignation. White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer said at the time, "The president understands the report was issued by a surgeon general that he did not appoint, a surgeon general who was appointed by the previous administration." Satcher, upon releasing the report, said that he was "not taking sides in a political discussion but reflecting scientific research." He added, "We tr[ied] to make very clear what's needed to improve sexual health and what's supported by science." While in office, Satcher also supported needle-exchange programs (Recer, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.