Weaving Women's Words Baltimore Stories
Laurie Schwab Zabin

The women one respects are always going to be the best nurturers and the best lovers and the best at whatever they do. And I think that is going to make for stress. I hope it doesn't mean that they are going to give up any of those roles. I'd rather be stressed than give them up.

Laurie Schwab Zabin

Laurie Schwab Zabin's interest in reproductive health began in a volunteer capacity and then led to a distinguished professional career at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Born in 1926 and raised in Manhattan, Laurie obtained a degree in English literature from Vassar and a master's degree from Harvard. After marrying her first husband, Lewis Straus, in 1948, she came to Baltimore and began studying English literature at Johns Hopkins. A meeting with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1951 prompted a dramatic shift in her professional attention. Beginning as a dedicated volunteer, Laurie became the full-time director of a clinic for reproductive health in downtown Baltimore. She has held a variety of local and national positions with Planned Parenthood and the Alan Guttmacher Institute. Laurie and her husband had three children, Lewis, Jeremy and Jessica. After their divorce, Laurie married James Zabin in 1963. An accomplished and focused visionary, she obtained her Ph.D. in Population Dynamics from Hopkins in 1979 and gained a position at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. In 1999, she became Director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Laurie stepped down from the Director position in 2002, but continues to serve on the faculty, maintaining an active work and travel schedule.


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© 2004 Jewish Women's Archive. Photograph by Joan Roth