Dr. Thornton is a double-Board Certified specialist in obstetrics, gynecology and maternal-fetal medicine. She has risen to the academic rank of Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a member of the Association of Women Surgeons, a life member of The New York Academy of Medicine, and is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Surgeons.

Her biography is presently in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World. She has been listed in The Best Doctors -- New York Metro Area. She was also listed in New York Magazine as one of the Top Ten Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialists in New York City.

Doctor Thornton was the first black woman in the United States to be Board-certified in High-Risk obstetrics and to be accepted into The New York Obstetrical Society.


Dr. Thornton is the national best-selling author of the heartwarming memoir, "The Ditchdigger's Daughters" published in 1995 and has never been out of print. The book, "The Ditchdigger's Daughters" was also featured on the "Oprah Winfrey Show". This family biography (co-authored with Jo Coudert) is a tribute to her parents and was condensed in The Reader's Digest, translated into 19 languages, adapted into a World Premiere Movie and nominated for the Peabody Award and the Cable ACE Award for Best Picture.

In 1996, the American Library Association named it as one of the Best Books for Young Adults and Doctor Thornton was given the "Excellence in Literature" Award by the New Jersey Education Association. She has also authored the medical text entitled, "Primary Care for the Obstetrician and Gynecologist".

As senior perinatologist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, Dr. Thornton established and developed the program for a new form of early prenatal diagnostic testing known as CVS (chorionic villus sampling). Dr. Thornton was one of the original American investigators whose CVS results were relied upon by the FDA prior to its granting approval for the procedure in 1989.

For many years Dr. Thornton has been an outspoken advocate on women's health issues, and a spokesperson for The March of Dimes.


She has hosted her own television show on women's health, broadcast from New York City, and has appeared on such popular television shows as "The Oprah Winfrey Show", "The TODAY Show" and "Good Morning, America".

Before her career in medicine, Dr. Thornton performed with her family orchestra, known as "The Thornton Sisters" throughout high school, college, medical school and residency. The family story was the subject of a Reader's Digest article entitled, "Donald Thornton's Magnificent Dream" in February of 1987 and is cited in the Congressional Record of the United States House of Representatives.


Dr. Thornton has been awarded several honorary doctorate degrees--most recently, the Doctor of Science (Sc.D) from Tuskegee University. In 1996, she and her husband received their Executive Masters (M.P.H.) Degree in Health Policy and Management from Columbia University.

After graduating with honors from Monmouth College in New Jersey, she received her M.D. degree with honors from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Doctor Thornton was the first American woman to be accepted into the OB/GYN residency program at The Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. She then completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at The Sloane Hospital for Women and The Babies Hospital at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.

Dr. Thornton has been married for over 35 years. Her husband is an orthopedic surgeon and she is the mother of two children.

Her daughter is a graduate of Stanford University, earned her Master's degree in sociomedical science at The Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia and is presently a first-year medical student. Her son, also a physician, was a cum laude graduate of Harvard University, received his M. D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and plans to become a neurosurgeon.