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Statement by Rear Admiral Steven K. Galson Acting Surgeon General Regarding the Death of Former Surgeon General Julius B. Richmond

Thursday, July 31, 2008
Contact: OPHS Press Office
(202) 205-0143

The health community has suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of Julius B. Richmond, MD, FAAP.

Dr. Richmond served as Assistant Secretary for Health and U.S. Surgeon General from 1977 to 1981. As Surgeon General, Dr. Richmond provided extraordinary leadership in advancing the field of health promotion and disease prevention through the release of the first surgeon general’s report urging the nation to reduce alcohol, salt, sugar and fats in their diet, get moderate exercise, obey speeding laws, and use seat belts. Dr. Richmond also issued a 1979 landmark report on the health risks of smoking that presented undisputed scientific evidence on the harmful effects of smoking. Other notable accomplishments include Dr. Richmond’s development and implementation of measurable goals for public health, first published in 1979 as Healthy People: The Surgeon General’s Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. In 1965, Dr. Richmond was appointed the founding director of the national Head Start program. This successful program continues to provide comprehensive child-development services to low-income children and their families to promote school readiness.

As a recognized giant in the field of public health, Dr. Richmond was a life-long advocate for the health of the American public and more specifically, protecting the health of the nation’s children. Throughout his entire life, Dr. Richmond contributed substantially to public service as he volunteered and was inducted into the Army Air Corps in February 1942. Through 1946, Dr. Richmond worked as a flight surgeon with the Air Force’s Flying Training Command.

Dr. Richmond was an outstanding leader and a great American, and I extend my sincere condolences to his family. 


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Last revised: March 05, 2010