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Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine’s Child Study Center; Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Yale School of Medicine

MPH, University of Michigan; MD, Howard University School of Medicine; BA, Indiana University

Author/editor of: What I Learned in School: Reflections on Race, Child Development, and School Reform (2009); Waiting for a Miracle: Why Schools Can't Solve Our Problems—and How We Can (1997); School Power: Implications of an Intervention Project (1995); Raising Black Children (1992); School Power (1980); Beyond Black and White (1972)

Dr. James P. Comer is the Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine’s Child Study Center in New Haven, Connecticut. A native of East Chicago, Indiana, Comer was a medical doctor and child psychiatrist in the 1960s, before becoming an acclaimed leader of education reform and an expert on race relations. While volunteering at the Hospitality House in Washington, DC, Comer became passionate about child development and education, especially among disadvantaged students. He joined the medical faculty at Yale in 1968.

Comer is perhaps best known for his creation of the Comer School Development Program, also in 1968. This project arose from his efforts to improve the scholastic performance of children from lower-income and minority backgrounds. Used in more than 600 schools, the program promotes the collaboration of parents, educators, and the community to improve social, emotional, and academic outcomes for children that, in turn, helps them achieve greater school success.

Comer’s pioneering work in school restructuring has been featured in the media as well as in numerous academic journals. He is a co-founder and past president of the Black Psychiatrists of America and was a consultant to the Children's Television Workshop. In 2014, President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Comer to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans, and he has provided testimony before state and congressional legislative bodies.

He was a consultant to the Public Committee on Mental Health, chaired by Rosalyn Carter, as well as a member of both the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy. Since 1994, Comer has served as a member of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served on the boards of several universities, foundations, and corporations, devoting his efforts to organizations serving children.

A prolific writer, Dr. Comer has authored several books and written hundreds of articles on children’s health and development and race relations. In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Education. He also received a Legacy of Lifetime Achievement Award from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. In addition, Comer also has been awarded dozens of honorary degrees and recognized by numerous organizations. He is a Psychiatric Fellow at Yale University School of Medicine and Hillcrest Children’s Center. Other recognitions include the John Hope Franklin Award in 2006, the Howard University College of Medicine Dean's Recognition Award in 2005, and the John P. McGovern Behavioral Science Award, Smithsonian Institutes, in 2004.

Dr. Comer was invited to the KDP Laureate Chapter in 1994.
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