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Henry W. Foster

Henry W. Foster

Physician / Author / Social Educator


Dr. Henry W. Foster, Jr., is Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the School of Medicine, Meharry College and Clinical Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vanderbilt University.  In 1995 he was nominated by President Bill Clinton to become US Surgeon General.  Although the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee sent forward a favorable recommendation for his confirmation, his opponents denied him an up-or-down Senate floor vote, where his confirmation was assured. Thereafter, from 1996 to 2001, Dr. Foster served as President Clinton’s Senior Advisor on Teen Pregnancy Reduction and Youth Issues. Read More >

Dr. Foster received his undergraduate education at Morehouse College and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Arkansas in 1958 where he was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha National Honor Medical Society.  He was the only African American in his class of 90 students. He conducted an internship at Detroit Receiving Hospital and spent two years as a medical officer in the US Air Force. Upon his discharge he was a resident physician in general surgery in Malden, Massachusetts, and completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Meharry Medical College.

After finishing his postgraduate training, Dr. Foster assumed the position of Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the John A. Andrew Memorial Hospital of Tuskegee University (formerly Tuskegee Institute).  While at Tuskegee, he helped pioneer what has become a national model for regionalized perinatal health care systems throughout the country.  It was primarily this activity that led to his induction into the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1972 as one of its youngest inductees ever.  While serving as Professor and Chairman of Meharry’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Foster spent five years as Senior Program Consultant for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and directed its Program to Consolidate Health Services for High-Risk Young People, 1981-86.  From this program he conceptualized and developed the “I Have A Future Program” to reduce teen pregnancy, which was recognized by President George Bush in 1991, as one of the nation’s “Thousand Points of Light.”

During his career, Dr. Foster has produced 257 publications and abstracts, developed audiovisual educational materials, contributed chapters to textbooks, and authored Make A Difference.

Dr. Foster has served on numerous boards, committees, and councils, all of which work to improve reproductive health and medical education.  He is immediate past chairman of the US Committee for the United Nations Population Fund, President-elect for Pathfinder International and past chairman of the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine. For more information please visit www.apbspeakers.com. Read Less ^

Speech Topics

HIV/AIDS: Our Youth at Risk

Healthcare in the New Millennium

America's Children at Risk

Protecting Reproductive Rights

Medical Education and Health Care Delivery