Opening Keynote

Dr. Jerome Adams
  • Dr. Jerome Adams
  • Tuesday, May 3, 2022
  • 7:45 – 9:00 a.m.

As Surgeon General, Dr. Adams led the 6,000 person U.S. Public Health Service during a worldwide pandemic, while passionately fighting for issues that his own family and community experienced, including limited healthcare access, chronic disease, substance use disorder and ensuing stigma, tobacco addiction, maternal health, mental illness and the opioid epidemic.

In his keynote address, Dr. Adams will share his expertise at the forefront of national and global health policy and his own personal experiences: growing up poor and Black with life-threatening asthma, as a brother to someone with substance use disorder, and as someone navigating politics to tirelessly champion the health of the vulnerable and voiceless during times of crisis. In 2016, when Dr. Adams became America’s 20th Surgeon General, he brought an ambitious goal to tackle the raging opioid crisis and make naloxone widely available. His agenda also included addressing health disparities such as maternal health and promoting community health and wellness through engagement with businesses and employers. Dr. Adams faced an e-cigarette/vaping epidemic among youth, and a once-in-a-century COVID-19 pandemic. Through it all, he stayed at the table, as one of the only high-level Black voices in the administration. Dr. Adams leveraged his position to advocate for disproportionately hard-hit communities of color and address the systemic health disparities that COVID-19 brought to light. As Dr. Adams often says, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

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