Felton Earls is Professor of Human Behavior and Development, Emeritus, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Professor of Social Medicine, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School. He joined the Harvard Medical School faculty in 1974, became the Blanche F. Ittleson Professor of Child Psychiatry and director of the Division of Child Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis in 1981, and returned to Harvard in 1989. Dr. Earls is a member of the Committee for Human Rights at the National Academy of Sciences and a member of the Institute of Medicine. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
From 1990 to 2005, Dr. Earls was Principal Investigator of a large-scale epidemiological project examining the causes and consequences of children’s exposure to community and family violence. This project was situated in the city of Chicago, where a team of researchers studied the physical health, educational and occupational achievement, and social relationships of children from birth to adulthood. Detailed attention was given to the social and physical characteristics of the neighborhoods in which they lived. The project represents one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of child and youth development ever undertaken. Dr. Earls and his colleagues have now turned their attention to the psychosocial impacts of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on children. Using methods developed for the Chicago study, an analysis of the role of community attitudes and perceptions about the disease and its impact on children is underway in Tanzania. The work is aimed at helping to devise more effective community-based interventions to support the well-being of children. All of his research is conceived from the perspectives of child rights and health promotion.