From Prison Cells to Ph.D. feat. Dr. Stanley Andrisse

Season 1 | Episode 9
28m | Jan 16, 2024

As a kid, we all make mistakes. For some reason, the consequences can be life-changing, for better or for worse. For Dr. Stanley Andrisse, his mistakes led him to three felony convictions where he faced a 20-year prison sentence.

It was his father's battle with diabetes and his own intellectual curiosity that took him from one cell to another. The study of human cells. Specifically, endocrinology the study of hormones. 

Dr. Stanley Andrisse is an endocrinologist, scientist, and professor at the Howard University College of Medicine. He joins host Frank Tramble today to chat about his incredible life pivot, dealing with grief and human emotion in prison, the power and privilege of being a Black doctor, and education as a form of therapy. 

From HU2U Podcast is a production of Howard University and is produced by University FM.

Episode Quotes:

Nurturing compassionate medical leaders

[14:37] We need to understand that at Howard, we should be doing all that we can to educate, train, and support people who have been impacted by the system. So, I'm constantly sharing with my students the idea of, you can't just focus on being a medical doctor because you're too much to the world. You have to understand the history of what happened to us in this country and in the world.

Breaking free from the prison within

[08:28] Although my body was physically locked in this prison cell, my mind was freely roaming around the human cell. And, you know, as you opened up with that, it allowed me to free myself from thinking of me as this career criminal. So that was the beginning of the change.

From incarceration to education

[21:36] The traumas of incarceration lead you to believe that you can't bring value to this world, that you can't bring value to yourself, and that your self-worth is diminished. And education helps repair some of those things and those beliefs. So it was this therapeutic healing thing.

Advice on moving in the right direction

[24:56] Frank Tramble: So for the student who may be listening, or the parent that may be listening of a young individual who may be going down the wrong path and may face, you know, as the tale say of the face of two paths in the woods, what do you want to tell them about what can help inspire them to move in the right direction?

[27:11] Dr. Stanley Andrisse: I would tell them, "It's never too late to do good." I would ask them to understand what that truly means. I would ask them to have patience and compassion. So, although your child may be making poor decisions at this moment, have that faith, that patience, and that belief that they have as human beings. You know, we are not static creatures. We are dynamic, and we are constantly changing.

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