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Alvin Poussaint, MD

Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School

Alvin Poussaint headshot

About Dr. Alvin Poussaint

Alvin is a Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus. He served as Faculty Associate Dean for Student Affairs at Harvard Medical School until his retirement in 2019 and was the founding Director of the Office of Recruitment & Multicultural Affairs in 1969.

Alvin is a social commentator on race relations in America, the dynamics of prejudice, and issues of diversity as our society becomes increasingly multicultural. He believes that extreme (violent) racists suffer from a delusional mental illness. He has lectured widely on college campuses and also served as a consultant to government and private agencies. In addition, he has consulted the media on a wide range of social issues. He is concerned with media images and issues regarding the needs of children and the changing family. He is a strong proponent of nonviolent parenting and parenting education.

Background Experience 

  • Former Faculty Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Harvard Medical School 
  • Former Director of the Office of Recruitment & Multicultural Affairs, Harvard Medical School 
  • Author of Lay My Burden Down: Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African-Americans (2000), and Raising Black Children (1992)

FamilyEducation Area of Expertise 

Alvin is one of FamilyEducation's experts. He advises parents on how to talk to their children about difficult subjects, including social issues, racism, and violence. 

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