Eli Newberger, M.D., a leading figure in the movement to improve the protection and care of children, is renowned for his ability to bring together good sense and science on the main issues of family life. A pediatrician and author of many influential works on child abuse including The Men They Will Become: The Nature and Nurture of Male Character, he teaches at Harvard Medical School and founded the Child Protection Team and the Family Development Program at Children’s Hospital in Boston. From his research and practice he has derived a philosophy that focuses on the strength and resilience of parent-child relationships, and a practice oriented to compassion and understanding, rather than blame and punishment. Read More >
After growing up in New York, Dr. Newberger attended Yale University, where he majored in music theory. Although already an accomplished tuba player, Dr. Newberger wished to serve people directly, and in his sophomore year started taking premedical courses. Perhaps the prospect of counting rests in an orchestra for much of his professional life helped this decision. But his interests in music were both in performance and in critical analysis, and the latter seemed to fit well with a career in science. Dr. Newberger graduated from Yale Medical School in 1966, and spent another year there as a house officer in internal medicine.
He spent the next two years in the Peace Corps working in rural West Africa. After five years in a highly academic environment, this experience brought new perspectives on the realities of people’s lives. Working with other bright, socially aware and idealistic Peace Corps people strongly influenced his appreciation of medicine in a social context. During this time, his values and priorities crystallized and Dr. Newberger became interested in pediatrics. He returned to the U.S. to do his residency at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. During his pediatric training, Dr. Newberger was impressed by the many unmet needs of abused and neglected children and their families, and by the inadequate responses of the health and child welfare systems. Still a resident, he organized an interdisciplinary child maltreatment team in the hospital to improve the care of these children. This was the beginning of a commitment he has continued for two decades to the field of child maltreatment and family violence.
Always conscious of the ‘big picture,’ Dr. Newberger has been instrumental in drawing attention to the underlying environmental circumstances contributing to child maltreatment. This has been, and continues to be, a major struggle against a prevailing victim-perpetrator framework that is typically accusatory and narrowly focused on individual behavior. A degree in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health added more scientific rigor to Dr. Newberger’s quest for a deeper understanding of child maltreatment. His broad perspective on the context of family violence has further shaped his substantial contributions to this field.
In addition, Dr. Newberger speaks greatly on issues of men’s health. He acknowledges that many males ignore the early symptoms of health problems which unfortunately lead to unnecessary heart attacks and unnecessary strokes. Dr. Newberger enlightens audiences on the preventative measures men, with the aid of their family, can take in order to live healthier and better lives.
Dr. Newberger’s contributions have been acknowledged with many honors and awards, including induction into Alpha Omega Alpha medical honorary society; the annual award for improvement of the welfare of children from the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children; the Pantaleoni Award for the outstanding contribution to the betterment and welfare of children; the Commissioner’s Award for outstanding contributions in the prevention of child abuse and neglect, awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and the Humanitarian Award of the Massachusetts Psychological Association. Read Less ^