Joycelyn Elders

American pediatrician, public health administrator, and former Surgeon General of the United States

Minnie Joycelyn Elders (born Minnie Lee Jones; August 13, 1933) is an American pediatrician and public health administrator.

Joycelyn Elders
Joycelyn Elders official photo portrait.jpg
15th Surgeon General of the United States
In office
September 8, 1993 – December 31, 1994
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byRobert A. Whitney (acting)
Succeeded byAudrey F. Manley (acting)
Personal details
Minnie Lee Jones

(1933-08-13) August 13, 1933 (age 87)
Schaal, Arkansas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Military service
Branch/servicePublic Health Service Commissioned Corps, United States Army
Years of serviceUSA: 1953–1956
RankUSPHS: Vice Admiral

Elders was a vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the first African American appointed as Surgeon General of the United States. Elders is best known for her frank discussion of her views on controversial issues such as drug legalization and distributing contraception in schools.[1] She was forced to resign in December 1994 amidst controversy as a result of her views. She is currently a professor emerita of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.


  1. Duffy, Michael (December 19, 1994). "Getting Out the Wrecking Ball". Time. Retrieved July 22, 2007.