University of South Carolina

Arnold School’s Clyburn Lecture April 20 to feature orthopedist, former astronaut

By Peggy Binette,, 803-777-5400

The fifth annual James E. Clyburn Health Disparities Lecture on Friday, April 20, will feature orthopedic oncologist Dr. Robert L. “Bobby” Satcher Jr., a 1982 graduate of Denmark-Olar High School and the first orthopedic surgeon in space.

The lecture will take place 10 a.m.-noon in the ballroom of the Marriott Courtyard, 630 Assembly St., Columbia. The lecture, “Moving from Hope to Action: Transforming Research to Eliminate Health Disparities Across Generations,” is free and open to the public.

The University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health and the Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities are sponsoring the lecture named for U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn, who will attend this year’s event.

South Carolina 6th District congressman, Clyburn was first elected in 1992 and was co-president of that freshman class. He quickly rose through the leadership ranks in the House and was elected chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1999. In 2002, Clyburn became the House Democratic Caucus vice chair. Three years later, he was unanimously elected chairman of the Democratic Caucus. When Democrats regained the House majority in 2006, Clyburn was chosen by his colleagues to serve as Majority Whip.

“I am honored that my friend Dr. Bobby Satcher will be the featured speaker for this lecture, which has drawn some of today's most outstanding health care leaders,” Clyburn said. “The years Dr. Satcher spent in South Carolina are part of his success today, and I am thrilled that he has accepted our invitation to return to the Palmetto State for this occasion.”

In an interview with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Satcher said, “I’ve been interested in space since I was a kid, and I watched all the Apollo landings on the moon.”

Born on Sept. 22, 1965, in Hampton, Va., Satcher is a physician, chemical engineer and former astronaut, who is on the orthopedic oncology faculty of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a doctoral degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. Satcher did his internship, residency and postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Calfornia, Berkeley, and an orthopedic oncology fellowship at the University of Florida from 2000-01.

He was an assistant professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Northwestern University before joining NASA. Satcher also held appointments as an attending physician in orthopedic surgery at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where he specialized in musculoskeletal oncology. He also held an adjunct appointment in the biomedical engineering department at Northwestern University’s School of Engineering.

Satcher was selected by NASA in May 2004 to be an astronaut candidate. In February 2006, he completed NASA’s astronaut candidate training that included scientific and technical briefings, as well as intensive instruction in shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training, flight training and water and wilderness survival training. In November 2009, Satcher flew on STS-129 and has logged more than 259 hours in space.

STS-129 was the 31st shuttle flight to the International Space Station. During the mission, Satcher performed two spacewalks for a total of 12 hours and 19 minutes of extravehicular activity, called EVA, which is any activity done by an astronaut outside of a spacecraft.

An in-depth interview with Satcher that was conducted by NASA before his space flight is available online. In the interview, he discusses the value of education in his life, his career goals and his decision to become an astronaut.

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Posted: 04/12/12 @ 10:40 AM | Updated: 04/12/12 @ 10:49 AM | Permalink