John J. Ratey, MD is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an internationally recognized expert in Neuropsychiatry. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles, and 11 books published in 14 languages, including the groundbreaking “Driven to Distraction”, “Answers to Distraction” and “Delivered from Distraction” series with Ned Hallowell, MD. With the publication of “Spark-The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,” Dr. Ratey established himself as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the brain-fitness connection. His latest book, “Go Wild” explores how we can achieve optimal physical and mental health by getting in touch with our caveman roots, and how we can “re-wild” our lives.
In high school Dr. Ratey was a national tennis player and competed in the US National Juniors and was offered a number of tennis scholarships. He went on to attend Colgate University where he received his BA in philosophy. After graduating he was offered a position in Boston, MA at Harvard Medical School, after two years there he went on to obtain his Medical degree at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, then back to Harvard Medical School for his psychiatric training. After completing his training at Harvard Medical School he was appointed Assistant Director of Residency and Medical Student Training for Harvard Medical School. Around this time Dr. Ratey began his groundbreaking research on aggression, autism and ADHD, and began speaking and teaching around the world.
With the publication of Driven to Distraction, Dr. Ratey opened the door to the diagnosis and awareness of ADHD and it still is today, considered the bible around the world, for people diagnosed with ADHD and parents with children diagnosed with ADHD. Dr. Ratey’s and his co-author, Dr. Edward Hallowell went on to write two more books on the subject and both Dr. Ratey and Dr. Hollowell have been recognized as world authorities on ADHD.
Dr. Ratey then embarked on a ten-year mission to write his book “A Users’ Guide to the Brain”, which explains in laymen’s terms how the brain works and how we might understand it and help to manage it. Dr. Ratey has had a long time awareness of the importance of physical activity and play, and its effect on the brain, which led to the publication of “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain”. More recently, Dr. Ratey has published a Children’s version of “SPARK” in Taiwan with 40,000 copies commissioned and distributed by President Ma to every school in Taiwan, which resulted in one hour of physical education per week added to all Taiwan schools. He has been involved closely in the set up of an all Asia Conference in Taipei for the past two years based on “SPARK”, with 800 professors attending each year and visiting speakers from the US and Europe, He has been invited to South Korea to speak and share his message in “SPARK” which inspired the South Korea Minister of Education to re-design the school day so that one hour of physical education daily was incorporated into the curriculum. He has spent his career teaching and helping many audiences to understand how to take charge of their brains and focus on exercise as a tool as well as making the complexities of neuroscience understandable and relevant.
Dr. Ratey serves as an Adjunct Professor of Sport Science at the National Taiwan Sport University, Consultant to the Governor’s Council on Fitness and Sport for the State of California, Reebok-BOKS ambassador for Active Kids, Consultant to ANTA kids in China as well as sits on the Board of Directors for Sparking Life, who’s mission is to transform America’s sedentary lifestyle and to improve children’s learning capacity.
He has lectured on and assisted in constructing new programs across the United States, Europe and Asia, and has reached over 50,000 teachers, and principals since the release of SPARK, as well as worked with BOKS, Canada to secure a 4 million dollar grant form the Minister of Health to put the BOKS program in elementary schools in Canada.
Throughout his career he has lectured to teachers, legislators, business leaders, parents, and children world-wide on learning, academic achievement, attention, autism, aggression, play, exercise, and how we might understand and change our brains to improve the condition of our life.
Dr. Ratey has been recognized by his peers as one of the Best Doctors in America since 1997, and is recently named “Outstanding Psychiatrist of the 2016”by the Massachusetts Psychiatry Society. His work is frequently profiled in the media, where he’s been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and NPR, as well as in The New York Times, Newsweek, The Washington Post, US News and World Report, Men’s Health, and other national publications.