Education

Surgeon General To Step Down Oct. 1

May 10, 1989 1 min read

Washington--Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, an outspoken advocate of frank aids-education programs and a smoke-free society, has said he will resign on Oct. 1.

The nation’s top health official since 1981, Dr. Koop surprised both conservatives and liberals with his 1986 report on aids. In it, he urged schools to start teaching about aids in “the lowest grade possible” and endorsed the use of condoms as a way of preventing the spread of the virus. His support for disseminating “safe sex” information contrasted with the emphasis on sexual abstinence espoused by former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett.

Dr. Koop also angered the tobacco lobby when he called for a smoke-free society by the year 2000 and released a report this year on the dangers of smoking.

According to a spokesman, Dr. Koop plans to go on leave beginning July 13, before officially stepping down in the fall. He would have completed his second, four-year term on Nov. 19.

In accepting the resignation, President Bush said that Dr. Koop “spoke with knowledge, wisdom, conviction, and courage.” No replacement has been named.--ef

A version of this article appeared in the May 10, 1989 edition of Education Week as Surgeon General To Step Down Oct. 1