COLUMBIA — Dr. Jerome Adams who served under President Donald J. Trump from September 2017 until January 2021 as the 20th Surgeon General of the United States, will speak at the Association of Health Care Journalists’ annual conference in St. Louis in March.
Adams’ “fireside chat” at noon Friday at the Union Station Hotel will focus on “What COVID can teach us about our nation’s health, and ourselves,” moderated by AHCJ Executive Director Kelsey Ryan.
As Surgeon General and a prior member of the President’s Coronavirus task force, Adams has been on the frontlines of America’s most complicated health challenges. Part of his focus has been on better communication of science to the general public and making health messaging more accessible and relevant to various audiences.
Adams is a licensed anesthesiologist with a master’s degree in public health. Before becoming Surgeon General, he ran the Indiana State Department of Health and led Indiana’s response to Ebola and Zika and an HIV outbreak among intravenous drug users in a rural Indiana county. Though the state’s response to the outbreak has been criticized, Adams helped persuade the governor and state legislature to temporarily legalize syringe service programs in the state. He also helped prioritize $13 million in funding to combat infant mortality.
As Surgeon General, Adams was the operational head of the 6,000-person Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and oversaw responses to three Category 5 hurricanes, along with a pandemic.
At Purdue, he is a Presidential Fellow and executive director of the University’s Health Equity Initiatives. He is also a Distinguished Professor of Practice in the departments of Pharmacy Practice and Public Health.
Adams will publish a book this spring on his experiences in public health.