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December 15, 2010

Acclaimed psychiatrist, author to give MLK address

Alvin Poussaint
Pouissant

Harvard University psychiatrist and noted author Alvin Poussaint will deliver this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Address on Friday, Jan. 21. The free talk begins at 6 p.m. in Strong Auditorium on the River Campus.

Poussaint is perhaps best known for his decades-long collaborations with actor and comedian Bill Cosby. He served as a script consultant to both The Cosby Show and A Different World, ensuring that the humor in the sitcoms was appropriate for all ages and that the script portrayed a positive image of African Americans and avoided stereotypes. Poussaint and Cosby also cowrote the New York Times bestseller, Come On People! On the Path from Victims to Victors.

During the civil rights movement, Poussaint worked with the Medical Committee for Human Rights in Jackson, Miss., advocating for the desegregation of medical facilities in the South and providing health care for civil rights workers.

Poussaint served as the director of the media center at the Judge Baker Children’s Center in Boston, Mass., for 16 years and at Harvard currently serves as the faculty associate dean for student affairs and the director of the office of recruitment and multicultural affairs. Poussaint is both a life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

“We are honored to have Dr. Poussaint as our Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Address speaker,” says Norman Burnett, chair of the College Diversity Roundtable and director of the Office of Minority Student Affairs. “Poussaint’s work has posed important questions about how social and familial issues are portrayed in the media while serving as a powerful advocate for children.”

The culmination of a weeklong celebration of King’s life and the kickoff for Black History Month, the annual address is sponsored by the College Diversity Roundtable and the Office of the President. Updated information on planned events in King’s honor as well as for Black History Month will be posted as it arrives at www.rochester.edu/diversity/celebrations/blackhistory/index.html.

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