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- Jonnie McLeod oral history interview 2, 2002 July 11
Jonnie McLeod oral history interview 2, 2002 July 11
Dr. Jonnie McLeod, the pediatrician who pioneered the treatment of substance abuse and the teaching of sex education in Charlotte, reflects on her life and career. Growing up in a small town in Mississippi, Dr. McLeod explains how she assisted in her father's medical practice before going on to earn her M.D. and specializing in pediatrics. After moving to Charlotte in the early 1950s, she recounts how she was brought in as a consultant to teach sex education in the public schools and how that eventually led to her hosting the "Family Talk" television show on WTVI during the 1960s. She explains how few of her colleagues were willing to speak about sex education openly, so the public often viewed her sex education work with the school system as controversial. Dr. McLeod explains that her transition from pediatrics to drug addiction treatment was prompted by the lack of appropriate resources, education, and treatment options for young people and their families. Starting with only four volunteers and some extra space at the local YMCA, she explains how the McLeod Addictive Disease Center evolved as a treatment center and describes the important role families play in the rehabilitation process there. Dr. McLeod recounts her frustration with how most rehab programs for adolescents at the time had a criminal justice orientation. She describes her preferred approach focused on education and prevention, which led to the development of the Substance Abuse Prevention Services of the Carolinas. Dr. McLeod concludes with her belief that the McLeod Center was her most important contribution to Charlotte and to medicine.