In the flesh...

I’m a pediatrician and writer in Santa Rosa, California. Children’s health has been a big part of my life since 1979, when I started my pediatric internship at the University of Michigan. Over the years I’ve become fascinated with the science, history, and politics of children’s health: the “how” and “why” children are born, grow, and develop the way that they do, and how the people around them (the village raising our kids, if you will) grow and change right along with them. Describing all of that–and doing so in a way that keeps readers awake and alert–is the purpose of my blog.

My book, Birth Day: A Pediatrician Explores the Science, the History, and the Wonder of Childbirth (Ballantine Books, 2009) examines a brief but critically important time of life through the prisms of science, history, politics and my personal experiences as a doctor and dad. There’s a lot of humor, too, and a host of rather odd historical characters, from a cross-dressing British Army surgeon to the questionably sane 19th-century California doctor who single-handedly made the United States one of the most circumcised nations in the world. Oh, and Queen Victoria, too. And Henry VIII and a few of his unfortunate wives. Birth Day has been very well-received by readers and reviewers.*

In addition to my pediatric practice and writing, I love to teach Family Medicine residents and medical students from the University of California, San Francisco, and medical students from Touro University in Vallejo, California. I have given lectures to physicians, nurses, midwives, health educators, doulas and students of all these disciplines. Most recently I spoke on the immune system benefits of vaginal birth in Vancouver at Turning the Tide: Balancing Birth Experience & Interventions for Best Outcomes, a conference sponsored by the Collaboration for Maternal and Newborn Health.

So there you have it. I hope you will enjoy my blog, share it with friends, and comment when the spirit moves you. I welcome all constructive discussion/disagreement and will happily act as bouncer, tossing out the mean-spirited and inconsiderate at the drop of a hat. Oh, the power!

Mark Sloan, M.D.

*Birth Day has been praised by the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, Publishers Weekly (starred review), theNew England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet (England’s premiere medical journal), The Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, and Fit Pregnancy Magazine, among other publications. Birth Day was a Northern California Book Awards finalist.