Olive Oil and Joycelyn Elders
Olive oil can help senior citizens maintain healthy skin. Olive oil nourishes and saturates the skin while simultaneously combating microorganisms that cause inflammation.
On a beautiful mid-1940s Saturday morning, Oliver Elders strolled with ease into DeWitt High School’s gymnasium; it could have been Heaven.
Early Life and Education
Joycelyn Elders was born and raised as a sharecropper in Schaal, Arkansas. Her family worked to produce cotton and tobacco for sale while Elders also worked as a maid to pay for college; Philander State College welcomed her as one of its students in 1952.
Once she graduated, she took advantage of the GI Bill to finance her medical school education at University of Arkansas Medical School (UAMS) in Little Rock. There she earned a master’s degree in biochemistry as well as becoming the first African American female chief resident while at UAMS.
She married Oliver Elders, a high school basketball coach while still in college and they had two sons together. Since then she has been an outspoken advocate against issues surrounding sex education and teenage pregnancy.
Oliver believes he can help others change their ways of thinking. If one can successfully shift this way of thinking, they will be able to achieve any goal set before them and everything in life must take ownership in its own due course.
Elders earned enough for her monthly bus fare between Schaal and Little Rock by picking cotton and performing other extra chores – four dollars was enough.
After graduating medical school in 1967, she became an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas Medical Center before being promoted to associate professor in 1971 and eventually full professor. Her research focused on pediatric endocrinology.
Achievement and Honors
Oliver Gourd, educator and enrolled member of Spirit Lake Dakota Nation, discusses generosity as it pertains to community life. Additionally, this episode covers community service.
Elders was honored with induction into the Arkansas High School Sports Hall of Fame and was twice named coach of the year by Arkansas. Over his 36-year coaching tenure at Little Rock’s Hall High, Elders won four state championships while breaking racial barriers during an era of widespread desegregation.
Joycelyn Elders was originally named Minnie Lee Jones before changing it during college. She received her B.S. in Biology from Philander Smith College and M.D. degree from University of Arkansas Medical School before going on to specialize in pediatric endocrinology.
Elders was known for her progressive health initiatives during her time leading the Arkansas Department of Health, such as expanding HIV testing, improving cancer screenings, reducing teenage pregnancies and providing contraceptives to school students despite opposition from conservatives, according to Encyclopedia of Arkansas.
Elders resides in Little Rock with her husband Oliver, a retired high school basketball coach. The couple has endured personal tragedies such as the murders of their foster daughter and his fiance. Elders has avoided social events and claimed she is near-phobic of people; she wrote a book defending masturbation as an effective defense mechanism against disease and unwanted pregnancies called The Dreaded “M” Word.
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Elders advocated for various health-related causes while serving as Surgeon General, such as AIDS research and birth control pill availability through pharmacies. She voiced criticism against outdated textbooks that asserted only white women had regular periods, as well as clergymen who opposed birth control pills in African American communities.
Oliver Elders was the legendary coach of Little Rock Hall High School basketball team in Little Rock, Arkansas where he developed future Razorback stars while winning four state titles and garnering induction into Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.