Antonia received her
Bachelor of Science degree at Rio Piedras in 1965 and her Doctor
of Medicine degree from the University of Puerto Rico at San Juan
in 1970. Antonia also married Joseph Novello in 1970. She went to
Michigan to complete her internship and held several different fellowship
positions in Washington, D.C.
1979, she joined the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda,
Maryland. She held several important positions while she worked
In 1990 President
George Bush asked Antonia to be the Surgeon General of the United
States. The surgeon general is considered the symbolic doctor of
all Americans. A surgeon general does not see individual patients;
instead she tries to teach the public about health concerns and
how to be healthier. The surgeon general is also head of the United
States Public Health Service. Antonia was a popular Surgeon General.
She worked especially hard to address the health concerns of America's
young people. Antonia was both the first woman and the first Latin
American to be appointed to the post of Surgeon General.