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You’re Invited to a Book Launch Party!

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

My new memoir, Something to Prove: A Daughter’s Journey to Fulfill a Father’s Legacy, is going to be available from my publisher a couple weeks earlier than originally scheduled. And I wanted to do something special for friends, family, and fans to mark its arrival in bookstores.

So, if you’re in the New York/New Jersey area, I hope you’ll come celebrate with me at my Book Launch Party, on the 4th Floor of the Palisades Center Mall, Tuesday, December 14, between 7:00pm – 10:00pm.

We’ll have a special section of the café blocked off for the event. I’ll give a little talk, just to bring everyone up to speed on the genesis of this book, and its predecessor, The Ditchdigger’s Daughters. I’ll read from the book, and sign copies. (I can also personalize the signing for anyone who you might want to give the book as a Christmas present). And if the event isn’t too crowded, we should also get plenty of opportunities to mingle and chat a bit.

So, please, come join me, and share this special day. Coffee, pastries and other goodies will be available. I look forward to seeing you there. Time, place and other details are below:

Something to Prove: A Daughter’s Journey to Fulfill a Father’s Legacy
The Palisades Center Mall
4416 Palisades Center Drive – 4th Floor
West Nyack, NY 10994
Exit 12 off the New York State Thruway. (Get driving directions here.)

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

My Memoir, Something To Prove, Will Be Available in Time for Christmas!

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Something to Prove: A Daughter’s Journey to Fulfill A Father’s Legacy, my new memoir, was to be officially published at the end of December. However, I just learned that the publisher is going to be shipping books earlier than that – in time for gift-giving at Christmas.

So, if you’re looking for a Christmas present, especially for anyone who is a fan of The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, you will be able to find Something To Prove in your local bookstore by December 14th.

Or just order online at either Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and you can have it gift-wrapped and shipped directly.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy for yourself as well. And please write to me and let me know your thoughts.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

I’m a Cover Girl!

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

I’m delighted to say that Color magazine is running a lengthy profile about me that mentions The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, and gives a taste of my new memoir, Something To Prove, in this month’s issue. The magazine’s cover also features a photograph of me in my surgical scrubs – you just can’t get better coverage than that.

But what I like best is the article, written by Bridgit Brown. Ms. Brown reviewed an advance copy of Something to Prove, and later interviewed me, and I’m happy to report that her story got to the essence of what I am trying to share.

Please check it out – and let me know what you think.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

The Ditchdigger’s Daughters on BET on July 11

Friday, July 9th, 2010

The Ditchdigger’s Daughters movie is scheduled to be re-broadcast this Sunday, July 11th at 5:30 pm (EDT), on BET.  Get your TIVO out, if you haven’t seen it before.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

The Ditchdigger’s Daughters film is back

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

In 1997, a movie version of my memoir, The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, aired on The Family Channel. And while the film covers only a fraction of the book, it was still a thrill to see the actors playing the roles of my family members and me.

The film was never released commercially on DVD and seemed all but forgotten. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that BET network was broadcasting my story – and lots of people on Facebook are talking about it. I caught the film version last weekend as a movie premiere on BET, which makes me think that it might be broadcast again, so you should check the schedules.

Of course, Hollywood likes to focus on the conflict, so the movie was more about the struggles between my father and my older sister, Jeanette and less about what made the book a bestseller: how my father and mother overcame incredible obstacles to build a better life for their daughters.

It’s fun to watch but if you really want the whole story, I hope you’ll read the book.

And if you want to know what happens after that book ends, please keep an eye out for my next memoir, Something to Prove, scheduled to be published in December.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

Babies I’ve delivered, all grown up

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Other doctors deal mostly with unhappy occasions, from a sniffle to serious illness, but obstetricians are there for the happiest times – the birth of a child – which is why I always say I have the best job ever.

I was reminded of just how wonderful my specialty has been to me by an e-mail from a patient transferred to my care 16 years ago, who eventually had to undergo a complicated cesarean delivery. As a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, I was called in by her obstetrician for difficult cases like hers.

She was carrying twins and had been in the hospital for a week. The night before the delivery, she’d had a very rough time. To help get through it, she’d watched “The Sound of Music” on TV.

The next day, in the delivery room, I delivered her babies by cesarean, fraternal twins, one boy, one girl. As I sent the babies off to the nursery, I noticed that her ovaries were very large and purple and asked if she’d been on fertility drugs. She hadn’t been but I called in two more specialists to consult and chatted with her as we reviewed the situation. Despite their enormous size and color, the ovaries did not pose a threat to her health and I decided to leave them where they were and just watch the situation.

We got to know each other better as I visited each day. When she mentioned the movie she’d seen the night before the delivery, I told her that it was one of my favorites and that I’d copied Maria’s wedding veil for my own wedding. After she and her babies went home, we stayed in touch and I sent her a copy of my first memoir, THE DITCHDIGGER’S DAUGHTERS.

Just last week, those twin babies turned 16 and my patient sent me some photographs of them looking all grown up.  It brightened up my day to see them, and to know that I had a hand in bringing them into the world. She also spoke of how she loved my book. So I can’t wait until my new memoir, SOMETHING TO PROVE, is published this fall. She’s going to be one of the first people I send a copy to.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

A lovely letter from a reader – and a reminder of why I’ve shared my life story

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

I still hear from readers who were inspired by my first memoir, The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, although it was originally published almost 15 years ago.

The latest to come to me via email really touched me. It’s from Mr. Fred Belknap, whose lovely words make me think that he appreciates the values that my father instilled in his children in almost the same way I do:

    What an example this can be for our children relative to today, in that many think everything should be handed to them and meeting goals and beating the odds is a birth right. It seems your father did a special job to prepare you and your sisters for this world though perhaps his message was questioned at times as a result of his methods. Even though his vision, now a reality through his daughters, speaks to the strength of having a plan and carrying it through.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and I pray the many messages engraved within them are seen by the upcoming generation.

Thank you Mr. Belknap. Your kinds words have made my day, week and month.

And a big thanks to all those who have read The Ditchdigger’s Daughters and taken its lessons to heart. I hope you’ll all continue the journey with me and read Something to Prove, my next memoir, which picks up where The Ditchdigger’s Daughters left off. It’s scheduled to be published by Kaplan Publishing in Fall 2010.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

ANNOUNCING: My new memoir, the sequel to The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, to be published by Kaplan Publishing

Monday, October 26th, 2009

This is the news I’ve wanted to share with you for months but I had to wait until the contracts were signed. Now I can shout it to the world.

My new memoir, SOMETHING TO PROVE: Memoirs of a Ditchdigger’s Daughter, by Yvonne S. Thornton, M.D., with Anita Bartholomew, will be published by Kaplan Publishing in Fall 2010.

The book sold at auction, meaning that more than one publisher wanted to publish it. I decided to accept Kaplan’s offer over the others because the team at Kaplan really seemed to get what I was saying and what I was about. And Kaplan has published a number of other memoirs by physicians and medical professionals, so I feel that it’s a good match.

SOMETHING TO PROVE: Memoirs of A Ditchdigger’s Daughter, builds on the foundation of my earlier book and shows that what was true as I was growing up is true today: despite bias, despite setbacks, with hard work and determination, we can accomplish whatever we set out to do.

The book begins with the challenges I encountered when, in the early 1980s, I entered what was still an all white boy’s club of academic medicine. Although I faced bias for both my gender and color, I had a secret weapon: my father’s wisdom. The essence of what he drummed into me as a child was that, as a female, and an African-American, I’d have to work twice as hard as anyone else to be thought to be half as good (a sentiment that later became a mantra for the women’s movement). And I did.

SOMETHING TO PROVE will also document how I handled the personal struggles that every working mother must confront, of juggling a career and family life.

And because I’m a specialist in high-risk pregnancies, SOMETHING TO PROVE will offer plenty of edge-of-your-seat medical drama.

It won’t focus solely on the challenges though. Yes, I’ve dealt with setbacks and pain, but I have also enjoyed great success in my career. I have a supportive, wonderful husband, and two children who are poised to follow their parents into careers in medicine.

And that’s the ultimately uplifting message of SOMETHING TO PROVE, in life lessons passed down from my father to me, and from me to my own children.

It’s been a great journey and I look forward to sharing it with you in SOMETHING TO PROVE.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

A reader “adopts” my father

Friday, September 11th, 2009

I recently heard from a reader of The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, named Sheila. Like so many who have sought me out over the years, Sheila had words of admiration for my father. But for her, my book about how my blue collar laborer, high school dropout father instilled the importance of an education is his daughters provided an especially poignant inspiration:

I grew up in the projects and never had a father. I purchased your book and Donald Thornton became my father. Whenever I wanted to give up or thought I was not smart enough I would remember his stern words and teachings. Your dad is the father every little black girl in America needs. I am soon to finish my Bachelors Degree in Nursing and going for a Ph.D.

It’s letters like this that keep me going through the tough times, knowing I’ve made a difference in the lives of others by sharing my story.

And that’s why I wish I didn’t have to wait to announce some major, and very exciting news. I hope you will bear with me for a little while longer. That announcement should be coming very soon.

– Yvonne Thornton, MD, MPH

Should schools provide voluntary testing for STDs?

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Yesterday, I was on Dr. Nancy’s noontime show on MSNBC, as one of two medical expert guests, to discuss whether schools should be permitted to offer voluntary testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) to their students.

As you’ll see from the video, we three physicians (who are also all mothers) — Dr. Nancy, myself, and a doctor from the Medical Institute for Sexual Health in Austin, Texas — agreed that this is a no-brainer. Of course, we should allow schools to offer voluntary testing for STDs.

Why should we test? Because, in a pilot program at eight high schools in the Washington, D.C. area, 13 percent of the teens who took advantage of voluntary testing were found to be infected, most often with chlamydia and gonorrhea. Chlamydia often causes no symptoms but, if left untreated, can lead to chronic pelvic pain due to pelvic inflammatory disease, an increase in ectopic (abnormal) pregnancy and infertility. Only by testing can we be certain to discover and treat it.

This does not mean we want our teens to be intimate at such a young age. But we must face the fact that, despite our best efforts, some are becoming intimate. And, because of this, some teens face the risk of sexually transmitted diseases that, if left untreated, can cause lifelong damage.

No one would be forced to get a test and no one is suggesting anything but that we make the tests available to kids who wish to know whether they’ve been exposed. If they fear that they are infected, we must give them a way to find out for sure so that they can get treatment.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH