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 continued to serve on the faculty, maintaining an active work and travel schedule. She died on May 11, 2020.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Laurie Schwab Zabin." (Viewed on October 3, 2023) <https://jwa.org/communitystories/baltimore/narrators/zabin-laurie-schwab>.