Harvard Doctor | Boston Marathon Hero | Mentor | Runner | International Humanitarian | Speaker

Dr. Natalie Stavas
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Dr. Natalie Stavas At A Glance:

Dr. Natalie Stavas is a Harvard Doctor, Boston Marathon Hero, Mentor, Mother, Runner, and International Humanitarian.

Dr. Natalie Stavas is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego.  She specializes in work with vulnerable children, victims of abuse, and decreasing youth violence.

Described as a healer, educator, and Boston community leader she received the 2012 Change Maker award from The Boston Foundation.

On April 15, 2013, Dr. Stavas approached the finish line of her fifth Boston marathon. Just blocks away, she heard explosions and ran towards them. Arriving at the scene she went to work administering CPR, applying tourniquets, and triaging the wounded.

Following this event, President Barack Obama, Katie Couric, and Anderson Cooper honored her for her actions. Improper Bostonian magazine named Dr. Stavas one of “Boston’s Best” and The Boston Globe awarded her with “2013 Bostonian of the Year” – an honor bestowed upon those that shape the biggest story of the year in a remarkable way.

After the bombings, Dr. Stavas increased her efforts in preventing childhood violence. She became a weekly medical contributor for Boston’s Fox 25- discussing issues affecting children and young adults, a mentor for Sole Train- a non-profit guiding inner-city youth on a path towards their full potential through running. In early 2014 she helped partner Prescription for the Outdoors with Boston Medical Center’s pediatric team.

This advocacy goes beyond borders- traveling to Haiti throughout the year Dr. Stavas provided medical care to children and helped strengthen their fragile medical infrastructure. A documentary featuring this work as a medical pioneer premiered at the 2014 South by Southwest film festival.

Dr. Stavas is currently a leader in education and research. She serves as the Program Director for Child Protection Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego. In this role she mentors medical students, residents, and fellows towards a path of fulfillment in medicine. Her research on caring for vulnerable children has won awards and been highlighted on multiple media outlets. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Stavas has focused her research on how COVID-19 is affecting children’s health as well as physical wellbeing.

Dr. Stavas has been featured in Runner’s World, The New York Times, LA Times, The Boston Globe, The New Yorker, Time, and People magazine.

  • Running Toward Chaos

    Natalie Stavas was born on a farm in Nebraska. She was once told that people from Nebraska don’t do well in places like Boston. She proved them wrong.

    Natalie was the first person from Nebraska to be accepted into the Harvard Pediatric Training program at Boston Children’s Hospital. One year after moving to Boston she received the Boston Foundation’s Change Maker award and in 2013 she received the Bostonian Of The Year Award. This award is given to Bostonians who impact their community in a remarkable way.

    An avid runner, Natalie’s philosophy for success is…. “You Run Toward.” This philosophy was never more apparent than on April 15th 2013. She had just run 26 miles and was about to finish the Boston marathon when the bombs detonated at the finish line. Instead of turning around and running away with the crowd, she ran towards the chaos and saved 4 lives that day.

    Natalie has been honored by President Obama, as well as featured on CNN, BBC, CBC, and Fox news. She has also appeared on the cover of Runner’s World Magazine and Sports Illustrated.

    Natalie Stavas attacks every obstacle with the same attitude: “You run towards that which you fear, that which challenges you, that which is oppositional.” Natalie speaks to audiences about her experience as a first responder and what ultimately led her to make that fateful decision to run into a terrorist attack.

    This presentation will:

    -Begin by showing a challenging situation and posing a question
    -Ask the audience to reflect on chaos in their own life and how they respond
    -Incorporate Natalie’s humorous upbringing on a farm in Nebraska to demonstrate challenges we face
    -Talk about real life chaos both internal and external
    -Discuss the ultimate decision of literally “running into chaos” and how to deal with the consequences
    -Explore why we should all consider ourselves people who “run towards”
    -Discuss how we find meaning in our chaotic lives

    And audiences will learn:

    -That, although counterintuitive, running towards chaos actually makes chaos more manageable
    -Why humans are genetically predisposed to be selfless and how to incorporate that into everyday life
    -How internal chaos can paralyze us from achieving our full potential
    -How we find meaning in the chaotic world that surrounds us
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