Dr. Chester Middlebrook Pierce (March 4, 1927 – September 23, 2016) was an American psychiatrist who was a tenured professor of education and psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He was the first African-American full professor at Massachusetts General Hospital and was past president of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Orthopsychiatric Association. He was a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was a senior consultant for the acclaimed educational children’s television series Sesame Street. He also coined and developed the term “microaggression.”

Dr. Pierce published over 180 books, articles, and reviews. In 1998, he was the topic of the book Race and Excellence: My Dialogue with Chester Pierce by Ezra E. H. Griffith. His work mostly surrounds areas of racism, societal tensions, sports medicine, and the media. He was a member of the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Science. Pierce guest lectured at over 100 universities in the United States. Although Pierce retired as a psychiatrist in 1997, one of his most recent accomplishments came in 2002 when he organized an “African Diaspora” conference that brought psychiatrists from around the globe to discuss issues and problems. Because of his efforts, the MGH Division of International Psychiatry was founded in 2003. The Harvard Foundation also commissioned a portrait of Pierce, which now hangs in the residence hall where he lived as an undergraduate at Harvard.

Dr. Pierce was a Commander in the U.S. Navy and later a senior consultant to multiple different health-related organizations and part of 22 editorial boards. He participated in the World Association of Social Psychiatry. Much of his time was spent working with organizations that help to promote human rights, conservation, and youth education. He was a consultant for the Children’s Television Network, the U.S. Air Force Surgeon General, the US Arctic Research Commission, the Peace Corps, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Dr. Pierce was a professor of education and psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He became the first African-American full professor at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Pierce was a past president of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in the American Orthopsychiatric Association and later a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 2001-2004 he was on the Carter Center Mental Health Taskforce and a founding president of the Black Psychiatrists of America. During that time, he was also the National Chairperson of the Child Development Associate Consortium. He spent much of his career as a Senior Psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and worked as a psychiatrist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 25 years. Dr.Pierce also worked in some capacity with the MK ULTRA program.

Dr. Pierce and Gail Allen defined childism as a fundamental form of oppression of children.

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