Felton James ‘Tony’ Earls MD is a child psychiatrist and epidemiologist, currently Professor of Social Medicine, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School, and Professor of Human Behavior and Development, Emeritus, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is known for directing the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, exploring the causes of antisocial behavior.
Prior to his current positions, he was the Blanche F. Ittleson Professor of Child Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Academy of Political and Social Science, American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Earls is best known for directing the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. Supported by unprecedented funding (over $52 million) through a public/private partnership of the federal National Institute of Justice, the MacArthur Foundation and others, the project explored the roles of neighborhood environments, family influences, and individual differences in explaining the causes of antisocial behavior. The project’s major finding was the power of neighborhoods with high “collective efficacy” to ameliorate antisocial behavior. In such neighborhoods, the residents—regardless of race, income, or the percentage of single-parent households—trust each other, share common values, and are willing to intervene on behalf of the common good; for example, in supervising children and protecting public order.