Yvonne S. Thornton, M.D.
Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
New York Medical College
Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, N.Y.
Yvonne S. Thornton, M.D., battled her way through sexism and racism to become the first Black woman in the United States to be board-certified in high-risk obstetrics and the first to be accepted into The New York Obstetrical Society. Today, with more than 5,000 babies delivered, she is double board-certified in her field, and is a clinical professor of OB/GYN at New York Medical College at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York.
Entering the twilight of her 40-year career, she serves as precept and supervises residents and medical students in high-risk obstetrics. “I leave the 3 a.m. phone calls to my younger counterparts,” she says. “You have to have a certain temperament to teach, because it’s time consuming to teach the proper approach to any procedure. But I need to give back. People taught me, and I need to teach the future.”
In addition to authoring medical research papers and health books, Dr. Thornton in 1995 wrote the family memoir, The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, as a tribute to her parents. The book received national acclaim and was made into a movie. In 2011 she wrote her own memoir, Something to Prove, chronicling her life as a doctor, wife and mother. It was the grand prizewinner at the 2011 New York
After graduating with honors from Monmouth College in New Jersey, Thornton received a Doctor of Medicine degree with honors from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and in 1996 received a master’s in public health from Columbia University. Her favorite pastime is ballroom dancing, strutting her stuff at her dance studio’s many showcases, pausing during a performance to render a solo on her alto sax.
Thornton was commissioned as a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy at The National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, hospital of the U.S. president.