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William Yarber
Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention

David Corriveau
Dartmouth Medical School

Susan Wills
C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth

Cindy Miller
School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation

Last modified: Thursday, March 18, 2010

C. Everett Koop presented with IU's Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award

March 18, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- C. Everett Koop, M.D., the federal government's chief spokesman regarding AIDS while serving as U.S. Surgeon General in the 1980s, has been presented the 2010 Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award by the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention at Indiana University's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

Koop Award

Photo by Jon Gilbert Fox

Ryan White's mother Jeanne White Ginder (left) and William L. Yarber of Indiana University (right) present the former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop with the 2010 Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award. The award is given by the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention at IU.

Print-Quality Photo

The award, presented by Jeanne White Ginder, White's mother, and William L. Yarber, RCAP senior director, recognizes Koop's "bold" and "courageous" measures to raise public awareness about AIDS at a time when little was known about the disease, and fear and discrimination, as experienced by Ryan White, were rife.

Yarber and Ginder presented the award to Koop on Wednesday at the Dartmouth Medical School, where Koop is Senior Scholar of the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth.

Koop served as U.S. Surgeon General from 1981 to 1989. In 1986, he published the Surgeon General's Report on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, becoming the first federal authority to provide clear and explicit information to Americans concerning how HIV is transmitted and how they can protect themselves from the virus, which causes AIDS. He promoted the use of condoms, for example, which was unusual at the time.

"It was really dramatic because it made the problem real and acknowledged how AIDS/HIV was transmitted," Yarber said. "That was before the Internet so when the government came out with the report, calling for sex education for children beginning at the grade three, and the importance of using condoms, it was landmark."

Two years later the Surgeon General mailed a pamphlet, "Understanding AIDS," to every household in America, including the rural communities served by RCAP, a federally funded prevention, information and research center that promotes HIV/STD prevention in rural America, with the goal of reducing HIV/STD incidence.

"The information was very plain-spoken and nonjudgmental about how HIV is transmitted and prevented," Yarber said. "He was so visible and so courageous. He is a religious man with some traditional values, yet he put politics aside to place the health needs of the public first. Under very difficult circumstances, he stood for the same principles as Ryan, whose major message was to increase AIDS awareness and to end AIDS discrimination and stigma."

Ryan White acquired HIV from a tainted treatment for hemophilia as a teenager in Indiana and went on to become a nationally known advocate for AIDS research and awareness before his death in 1990.

C. Everett Koop

Before becoming Surgeon General, Koop was an internationally respected pediatric surgeon and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Pediatric Surgery before that. As Surgeon General, he was the government's chief spokesman regarding AIDS and advised the public on numerous other health issues, including smoking, diet and nutrition, environmental health hazards, and the importance of immunization and disease prevention. He continues his public health advocacy through writings, electronic media, public appearances, personal contacts, and work at the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth, part of the Dartmouth Medical School.

His awards, honorary doctorates (35) and memberships in notable professional societies, organizations and associations are numerous. These include the Denis Brown Gold Medal by the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons; the William E. Ladd Gold Medal of the American Academy of Pediatrics; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is a member of the American Surgical Association, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Philosophical Society, and a number of other professional societies in the U.S. and abroad. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and a member of the American College of Preventive Medicine. Koop is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Museum of Health and Medicine Foundation, past chairman of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, honorary chairman of The Health Project, a director of the Biopure Corporation and chairman of its Scientific Advisory Board. He is an advisor to or on the board of directors of organizations that include the National HealthNetwork, the Foundation for Biomedical Research, AIDS Care Education and Training (United Kingdom) and the International Health and Medical Film Festival, Inc. For a more detailed biography, please visit

School of HPER

IU's School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation encompasses a broad spectrum of academic interests and professional fields. The School of HPER offers nearly 50 undergraduate and advanced degree programs through departments of Applied Health Science, Kinesiology, and Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies. To further its health and wellness initiative, Campus Recreational Sports provides sport and fitness services for the IU community and the public. More information can be found at

Yarber can be reached at 812-855-7974 and To speak with David Corriveau, at 603-653-0771 and, or Susan Wills, at 603-646-9890 and More information about the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth can be found at