Trailblazing Dr. Antonia Novello, First Woman and Hispanic Surgeon General of the United States, to Address Regis University Audience

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Dr. Novello and co-author Jill Tietjen, will discuss their new book, Duty Calls: Lessons from an Unexpected Life of Service

Regis University will host an event featuring former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Antonia Novello on Tuesday, March 5 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the St. John Francis Regis Chapel. Dr. Novello will be joined by her co-author, Jill Tietjen. The event is sponsored by Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Duty Calls: Lessons Learned from an Unexpected Life of Service, published by Fulcrum Publishing, is a remarkable book by Dr. Novello, the first woman, first Hispanic Surgeon General of the United States. The book takes readers from Dr. Novello’s challenging childhood to her meteoric rise in health care, offering profound lessons along the way.

A fireside-style discussion will be led by Regis University Trustee, Nita Gonzales.

“I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Novello to Regis and to spearhead this vital conversation. Her story profoundly resonates with our students, embodying the formidable challenges she conquered to realize her dreams. Dr. Novello's journey is a beacon of inspiration and hope," Gonzales said.

Dr. Novello’s story is one of challenges faced and overcome, of resilience and perseverance, and of shattering glass ceilings and opening doors for future generations of leaders. With honesty and openness, she shares her early battles with childhood illness and her desire to overcome stereotypes, while also chronicling her rapid rise through various roles in health care, leading to her service as the nation’s top medical officer. From her struggles to her celebrations to her tireless advocacy for the health of young people, each chapter offers a glimpse into the resilience and wisdom that have shaped her life, unveiling the profound lessons she has gathered along the way.

Linda Osterlund, Ph.D., academic dean of Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions, emphasized the crucial need for students and our community to encounter empowering narratives such as Dr. Novello’s that demonstrate the possibility of overcoming the distinctive challenges many of them confront.

“I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to host Dr. Novello within our Regis community. My hope is that her impactful story and unwavering commitment to equity in healthcare will serve as a powerful source of inspiration for all our students, particularly those in the healthcare fields,” Osterlund said.

As the United States continues to grapple with public health, issues of equity for women and minorities in health care, and political challenges, this book becomes a timely guide for those seeking meaning and purpose and wanting to make a real difference in their communities. It’s more than a traditional memoir—it offers readers a road map to navigate their own journeys of service and contribution while providing personal insight about overcoming adversity.

Dr. Novello is a trailblazing figure in the United States and Puerto Rico, whose enduring commitment to service has left an indelible mark on the world of public health. With a distinguished career spanning more than four decades, including serving as the Surgeon General of the United States and the Commissioner of Health for the State of New York during 9/11, her story is one that all Americans should know.

Learn more about the event:

book cover for Duty Calls


About Regis University

Established in 1877, Regis University is a premier, globally engaged institution of higher learning in the Jesuit tradition that prepares leaders to live productive lives of faith, meaning and service. Regis University, one of 27 Jesuit universities in the nation, has two campus locations in the Denver metro area and extensive online program offerings with more than 6,000 enrolled students. It is a federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution. For more information, visit