About Jeanne Spurlock, MD
Jeanne Marybeth Spurlock, MD (July 19, 1921 – November 25, 1999) was a child and adolescent psychiatrist, professor, author and researcher who specialized in treating women and children, specifically in the black community, working to analyze aspects of culture and race that influenced the treatment of mental illness. She became determined to dedicate her life to promoting caring and empathy in the medical profession after receiving indifferent care in a hospital when she broke a leg at the age of nine.
The eldest of seven children, Dr. Jeanne Spurlock was born in Sandusky, Ohio to Frank and Glodene Spurlock. Her family relocated to Detroit while she was still in grade school. After graduating from the public school system in Detroit, Dr. Spurlock attended Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Spurlock then entered medical school at Howard University College of Medicine, graduating in 1947. After graduation, Dr. Spurlock moved to Chicago to begin her residency at Provident Hospital. After selecting psychiatry as her primary practice, Dr. Spurlock accepted a residency at Cook County Psychopathic Hospital. Dr. Spurlock began her private practice in Chicago in 1953. She was later appointed Chief of the Child Psychiatry Clinic at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. In addition to her position at Reese, she served as Director of the Children’s Psychosomatic Unit of the Neuropsychiatric Institute of the University of Illinois. Dr. Spurlock’s career highlights also include serving as the deputy medical director of the American Psychiatric Association for seventeen years, chairing the Department of Psychiatry at Meharry Medical College, (during the 1960’s) and teaching at George Washington University as well as Howard University. She also operated her own private psychiatry practice.
In 1971, Dr. Spurlock became the first African American and the first woman to win the Edward A. Strecker, MD, Award for outstanding contributions to the field of clinical psychiatry. In 1988, she was awarded the Solomon Carter Fuller Award for the furtherance of the mental health of African Americans. In 1994, she won the Alexandra Symonds Association of Women Psychiatrists (AWP) Leadership award. Among her many publications, Dr. Spurlock edited Black Psychiatrists and American Psychiatry (1999), and co-wrote with Ian A. Canini, MD, "Culturally Diverse Children and Adolescents: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment" (2000); her many research papers and presentations covered topics such as single parent families, trends in U.S. policy and the consequences for African Americans, and black children in education. Dr. Spurlock paved the way for women in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.
Sources of the biography information:
Dr. Jeanne Spurlock. Changing the face of Medicine: Celebrating America’s Women Physicians. U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://cfmedicine.nlm.nih.gov/physicians/biography_306.html, June 2003.
Canino, Ian A. (June 2000). Jeanne Spurlock, M.D. (1921–1999). Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 39 (6): 804.
Helfgott, E. (2018, December 20). Jeanne Spurlock, M.D. (1921-1999). BlackPast.org. https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/spurlock-jeanne-m-d-1921-1999/
Dr. Jeanne Spurlock, a Leader in Psychiatric Medicine and Social Activism. Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. https://sanduskyhistory.blogspot.com/2021/02/dr-jeanne-spurlock-leader-in.html. February 2021
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