Biography of Joycelyn Elders
Minnie Joycelyn Elders (born Minnie Lee Jones on August 13, 1933) is an American pediatrician and public health administrator. She 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. She was fired mid-term in December 1994 amidst controversy.
Elders was born Minnie Lee Jones in Schaal, Arkansas. In college, she changed her name to Minnie Joycelyn Lee. In 1952, she received her B.S. degree in Biology from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. After working as a nurse's aide in a Veterans Administration hospital in Milwaukee for a period, she joined the United States Army in May 1953. During her 3 years in the Army, she was trained as a physical therapist. She then attended the University of Arkansas Medical School, where she obtained her M.D. degree in 1960. After completing an internship at the University of Minnesota Hospital and a residency in pediatrics at the University of Arkansas Medical Center, Elders earned an M.S. degree in Biochemistry in 1967.