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Deborah Prothrow-Stith

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Information about Deborah Prothrow-Stith

Profile image of Deborah Prothrow-Stith

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Academic Administrator
State Government Appointee
Public Health Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Gumbo, Pie (Lemon Meringue), Chocolate
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
St. Martin, Bahamas
Favorite Quote:
Don't let perfect get in the way of good.

Birthplace

Born:
2/6/1954
Birth Location:
Marshall, Texas

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Academic Administrator
State Government Appointee
Public Health Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Gumbo, Pie (Lemon Meringue), Chocolate
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
St. Martin, Bahamas
Favorite Quote:
Don't let perfect get in the way of good.

Birthplace

Born:
2/6/1954
Birth Location:
Marshall
See how Deborah Prothrow-Stith is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith is a nationally recognized public health leader with applied and academic experience ranging from neighborhood clinics and inner city hospitals, to serving as a state commissioner of public health, to being a dean and professor at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) in Boston, Massachusetts. Prothrow-Stith is a pioneer in defining, researching, and treating violence, especially among youth, as a public health crisis/problem rather than as a law and order issue. Violence prevention via public health strategies is the hallmark of her work. Prothrow-Stith also serves as Associate Dean for Faculty Development at the HSPH.

Prothrow-Stith was born in Marshall, Texas on February 6, 1954. In 1959, she moved with her family to Atlanta and in 1969 back to Texas where she finished Jack Yates High School in Houston, Texas in 1971. Prothrow-Stith graduated from Spelman College in Atlanta in 1975 and went on to study medicine, graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1979.

Throughout her professional life, Prothrow-Stith has been involved with developing and implementing violence prevention programs ranging from local neighborhoods to statewide and national levels. Her interest in violence prevention was stimulated by her work as a resident at Boston City Hospital, where she discovered that street violence was as deadly to her patients as any disease or accident and led her to examine violence as a social “disease” that could be prevented by public health strategies. Prothrow-Stith developed and wrote the first violence prevention curriculum for schools entitled, Violence Prevention Curriculum for Adolescents.

Appointed in 1987 as the first woman and youngest-ever Commissioner of Public Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Prothrow-Stith expanded treatment programs for AIDS and drug rehabilitation, and oversaw a department of more than 4,500 employees. During her tenure as commissioner, she established the first-ever Office of Violence Prevention in a state department of public health. Prothrow-Stith was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the National Commission on Crime Control and Prevention in 1995.

In the 1990s, Prothrow-Stith was tapped to be part of a broad-based coalition in Boston that included leaders in government, education, health, law enforcement, religion, and civic life and business. Their collective work became known as the “Boston Model”. By the mid to late 1990s, Boston had gone almost three years without a single juvenile homicide. In Murder Is No Accident, co-authored with Dr. Howard Spivak, Prothrow-Stith describes the “Boston Model” as well as factors that affect youth violence, such as poverty and domestic violence, and the means for its prevention, such as conflict resolution programs.

Prothrow-Stith is married to Reverend Charles Stith, a former U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania (East Africa). They have a son, Percy, born in 1978 and a daughter, Mary Mildred, born in 1980. Prothrow-Stith and her husband also raised her two nephews, sons of her sister – Trey Edmondson, born in 1972, and Tony Franklin, born in 1975.

See how Deborah Prothrow-Stith is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Deborah Prothrow-Stith's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith lists her favorites, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her mother's upbringing, pt. 3
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her mother's teaching career, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her father's personality, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her father's experiences of segregation
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her family life in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes Collier Heights in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes Atlanta's Warren United Methodist Church and her older sister
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith remembers Anderson Park Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her teachers at Anderson Park Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes Collier Heights Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith recalls integrating Therrell High School in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith recalls integrating Therrell High School in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith recalls the impact of school integration in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith recalls political assassinations from her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her aspiration to be a doctor
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes Jack Yates High School in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her stint at Madison High School in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith recalls Atlanta's Spelman College and her decision to attend medical school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her medical school application process
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her courtship with HistoryMaker Reverend Charles Richard Stith
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her impression of Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith recalls HistoryMaker Alvin Poussaint's support
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her residency options
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes beginning her family with HistoryMaker Reverend Charles Richard Stith
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith shares an anecdote from her surgery rotation at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her medical focus
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes formative clinical and research aspects of her career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes becoming commissioner of public health for Massachusetts
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her contributions as commissioner of public health for Massachusetts
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith reflects upon her service as commissioner of public health for Massachusetts
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes joining a for-profit hospital management company
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith recalls joining the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her first book, 'Deadly Consequences'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her public health interest in violence prevention
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes the Blueprint for a Safer Philadelphia Initiative
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes media coverage of violence prevention efforts in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes antecedents to violent behavior
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes the PeaceZone curriculum
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her Violence Prevention Curriculum for Adolescents
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes 'Sugar and Spice and No Longer Nice: How We Can Stop Girls' Violence'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes similarities between girls' and boys' violent behaviors
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes alternating between Tanzania and Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her medical contributions in Tanzania
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes new strategies for faculty development at Harvard School of Public Health
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes public health issues she hopes to explore
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith considers the relationship between medicine and public health
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith shares advice for young people aspiring to a medical career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her non-career goals
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Deborah Prothrow-Stith narrates her photographs