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Dr. Annelle B. Primm

Annelle Beneé Primm was born on January 26, 1956 in Geneva, Switzerland. Her mother was a music teacher and her father a physician. She lived in Switzerland until she was four years old while her father was attending medical school. After earning his medical degree, her father moved the family to his native New York. She grew up in the bedroom community of New Rochelle and graduated from New Rochelle High School in 1972.

Although she received an academic scholarship to the University of Virginia, Primm decided to attend Harvard-Radcliffe in Boston. She earned her bachelor's of arts degree in biology in 1976. Despite taking off the second semester of her junior year to help care for her mother who was dying of cancer, she graduated with her class. In 1980, Primm earned her medical degree from Howard University. After completing her residency in psychiatry at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, she earned her MPH degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 1985.

While at Hopkins in 1985, she co-founded a program called COSTAR (Community Support Treatment and Rehabilitation), which provided in-home mental health treatment to patients. From 1985 until 1986, she worked as a psychiatrist at Provident Hospital in Baltimore. During this time she also worked as the director of the City Division of Springfield State Hospital, a Maryland psychiatric hospital. She also worked at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1980 until 2004. She held a variety of positions at Hopkins including, staff psychiatrist, associate professor and the Director of Community Psychiatry.

In 1999, Primm produced a videotape called Black and Blue that highlighted depression in the African American community and encouraged minorities to seek treatment for mental illness. In 2001, she produced Gray and Blue, which helps senior citizens recognize and treat depression.

Currently, Primm works as the Director of Minority and National Affairs for the American Psychiatric Association. She also maintains a small private practice and is a psychiatric consultant to On Our Own, a drop-in center for adults with mental illness. She is a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the recipient of numerous awards for her work in community psychiatry.

She lives in Baltimore, Maryland her husband, Herbert, and daughter, India.

Accession Number

A2004.109

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/26/2004 |and| 9/22/2004

Last Name

Primm

Maker Category
Middle Name

B.

Occupation
Schools

New Rochelle High School

Johns Hopkins University

Isaac E Young Middle School

Radcliffe College

Howard University

First Name

Annelle

Birth City, State, Country

Geneva

HM ID

PRI03

Favorite Season

Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

This Too Shall Pass.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

1/26/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

Switzerland

Favorite Food

Spaghetti

Short Description

Psychiatrist Dr. Annelle B. Primm (1956 - ) served as Director of the City Division of Springfield State Hospital, a Maryland psychiatric hospital. Primm also held a variety of positions at Johns Hopkins, including staff psychiatrist, associate professor and the Director of Community Psychiatry.

Employment

CoStar Group, Inc.

Provident Hospital

Springfield State Hospital

Johns Hopkins Hospital

American Psychiatric Association

Delete

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Annelle B. Primm's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm describes her ancestry and grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm describes childhood holidays and her mother teaching the children music

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in New Rochelle, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm describes her grade school experience in Huntington, New York and her childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm describes her sisters

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm talks about her elementary school teachers and aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm describes her religious education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm remembers her family's home in New Rochelle, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm talks about her experience at Isaac E. Young Middle School in New Rochelle, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm talks about her aspiration to become a physician during her early teenage years

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm talks about her experience at New Rochelle High School in New Rochelle, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm talks about New Rochelle, New York and her interest in Harvard-Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm remembers her University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia scholarship offer and her choice to attend Harvard-Radcliffe College

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm talks about her life at Harvard-Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm talks about her mother's struggle with breast cancer

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Annelle Primm talks about the black community at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm remembers coping with her mother's cancer and supporting her younger sisters

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm describes her experience at Howard University College of Medicine, her first experience at an all-black school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm explains how she chose to specialize in psychiatry

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm talks about COSTAR (Community Support Treatment and Rehabilitation) the first urban support program for the severely mentally ill

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm talks about mental health disparities in the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm reflects on the stigma around mental illness in the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm describes 'Black and Blue,' her video-series on depression in the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm talks about how collaboration between the religious and mental health communities can improve the quality of mental health services

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm talks about needed changes in the African American community's relationship to therapy and psychiatry

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm describes common mental illnesses in the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm talks about combatting stigma against mental healthcare in the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm reflects on the cost of mental healthcare

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm talks about the state of the field of psychiatry

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm gives advice about pursuing a mental health career as an African American

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm reflects upon her life

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Annelle B. Primm narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

2$2

DATape

3$3

DAStory

4$8

DATitle
Dr. Annelle B. Primm explains how she chose to specialize in psychiatry
Dr. Annelle B. Primm describes 'Black and Blue,' her video-series on depression in the African American community
Transcript
So while at Howard [University College of Medicine, Washington, D.C.], what were you thinking--what type of doctor were you thinking you wanted to be?$$Initially, at Howard I thought I would be an OB/GYN physician [obstetrics and gynecology] and, you know, I just had this fascination with the birth process, but it was interesting when I did my rotation in obstetrics, every single one of the deliveries except for one was a cesarean section, and I was not big on surgery and knew I didn't want to do that, and so that turned me off, as well as the hours that, that obstetricians have to keep and, I guess, now, you know, with their malpractice being so high, I think I made the right choice. So--$$How did you make the decision about psychiatry?$$You know, I'd always loved psychiatry, my psychiatry courses in medical school, and enjoyed reading the psychiatry text and, you know, took them to bed with me as if they were a pleasure book compared to some of the other text that were really, really rough to get through. But the psychiatry was actually enjoyable, and when I did my psychiatry rotation at Walter Reed [National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland], I just loved it. I mean, it came naturally. I enjoyed, you know, listening to the patients, talking with them, understanding their life stories and some of the psychological challenges they were dealing with. But still, I did not choose psychiatry outright for residency. I was going to do flexible medicine or surgery, which would have given me a little more time to make a decision about what I would ultimately do. But what happened was--I mean, I'll tell you why that is, because really psychiatry at that time and maybe still now a little bit, has been a thought of as a second class specialty in medicine, and you know, people don't think you're a real doctor if you're a psychiatrist. And we had to apply for what is called the residency match which is really like a lottery where you make a list of the programs that you want to apply to and be considered for, and then you go around doing interviews and those programs in turn rank you according to how much they want you in their program, and a computer puts together the best match between your top choices and the different program top choices. I didn't apply for enough places, really, in order to get any match, and so on match day when everybody was finding out where they were going to be, I did not match and what that meant was that I needed to go meet with a dean and find out from the book of programs that did not match all of their spaces--where might I go? So this was an opportunity for me to choose psychiatry because in the sort of unmatched space book, there were many psychiatry residency programs that had openings. Some of the best programs; Harvard [Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts], Yale [School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut], Baylor [College of Medicine, Houston, Texas], et cetera; and Johns Hopkins [School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland] which had an opening, and I ended up talking to the director of residency training and my dean spoke on my behalf. They were impressed with me, and so I ended up going into psychiatry after all, which was really the best decision for me.$And one of the ways you're reaching the African American community is through a videotape series called 'Black and Blue.' Can you tell us a little bit about that and how it came about?$$Yes. 'Black and Blue: Depression in the African American community' grew out of my awareness of lack of awareness of depression as an illness in African Americans. I was fortunate to have some patients of mine who were willing to be filmed talking about their own personal experiences with depression as a syndrome, a cluster of symptoms, and I'd asked each of them about their experience with it, how it affected their mood, how it affected their sense of self, their self-esteem, and how it affected their sense of well-being. In the video, I also included a pastor--a Baptist pastor, who, you know, talked about the fact that it's important for people to seek health for their mental health needs, there's nothing wrong with that in God's eyes. So I think that because the people who spoke on the video have had depression, have experienced it, that there's a certain sincerity or genuineness that comes across to the person who's watching; whether they're African American or regardless of, ethnic or racial background. I think it really goes a long way to educating people regardless of their literacy level because, you know, we often hand out all these pamphlets and written materials that are often written at a level much higher than the level that the average person reads, which is supposedly sixth grade. So using videotapes for public education, and, in particular, public mental health education is really effective, and I've used it as a tool and, you know, many different environments; in churches, in schools, even to educate health professionals about, you know, when--examples of African Americans who have are experiencing mental illness.