Dr. Spock’s name is now Robert Needlman

1:07 pm by | 2 Comments

Benjamin Spock died in 1998 and soon after that, his famous book has had one co-author: Dr. Robert Needlman.

Needlman is a pediatrician at MetroHealth Medical Center and associate professor of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University. He’s also a graduate of Yale Medical School and worked at Boston City Hospital. He’d been part of a team working on Drspock.com and got the job as the new Dr. Spock when he interviewed with Spock’s widow.

Needlman already was among a team of medical experts developing content for www.drspock.com when he went to dinner with Morgan more than a decade ago to discuss becoming the revising author of the eighth edition of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care.

During the dinner, Needlman suddenly told Morgan he needed to leave.

Morgan was perplexed — until he explained that he had a nightly tradition of reading with his daughter, Grace, then 10, even when he was out of town and had to read over the phone.

He got the job.

“I said, ‘This is the kind of person that Ben would want to carry on his work,’ ” Morgan recalled.

Needlman has been sharing top billing with Spock for years on various books and handled the eighth edition of Spock’s famous book as well. The ninth edition of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care, released Tuesday, adds advice on everything from immunizations and obesity to special needs children and video games.

Needlman had a literary reputation beyond Dr. Spock. His undergraduate degree at Yale was in English literature. While in Boston he helped start Reach out and Read, a  nonprofit that promotes the value of reading out loud to children. He’s also written for Yahoo! and Parent and Child Magazine.

[Photos courtesy of Wikimedia commons and Primrose Schools]

UPDATE: Morgan writes with these addendums.

“I hired Robert Needlman in 2000 to be the principle author of our new website, www.drspock.com. When I interviewed him, it was for that position. Later I asked Robert to be the co-author of the 8th edition.  There were no editors doing the 8th edition.
Robert did a major revision of the 8th edition which took him 3 years to complete, and his name appears on the cover as “fully revised and updated by Robert Needlman”.  I wouldn’t want to take that away from him.  It was  a job that editors could never had done.”
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Chris Seper

By Chris Seper MedCity News

Chris Seper runs MedCityNews.com and contributes regularly to the site. He is the vice president of healthcare for Breaking Media, MedCity's corporate owners. Reach him at [email protected]
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Susan Stoffko
Susan Stoffko

I have recommended Dr Needleman as a Behavioral Specialist Pediatrician numerous times over the past 15 years. I have become aware of the many barriers to succesful education children with ADHD face and the behaviors these children often develop as they navigate thru the education system. Parenting our bright, but struggling ADHD son has had it's challenges. I can not even imagine what would have been the outcome of trying to navigate thru the medical and education systems without Dr. Needleman! I will always remember how skillfully he helped our then 10 yr. old son understand his body's responses to stress.He spent the time to help him problem solve to find and then implement self stress management skills. As a health professional ,I have difficulty teaching adults these skills! He not only helped our son, but was invaluable helping us as parents-- provided never ending encouragement. When we observed our "happy-go lucky" child become fruatrated with school ; labeled " lazy,not motivated" along with other incorrect labels; and develop poor self esteem--we worried about depression and consequences of inmature poor choices . Dr Needleman and his staff always provided prompt assistance-- everything from an expidited office visit, follow-up phone calls, parent consult meetings , faxed letter or requested school forms, to E-mails with references and contacts . Dr. Spock's books helped us thru parenting our two older children, but we were priveleged to have Dr. Needleman help with our youngest! I can not find the words to express my graditue to Dr Needleman. Our son, now a high school senior, has matured into a fine young man with a great personallity and compassion for others. He recently claims he is thinking about becoming a school guidance counselor or psychologist! No matter what he chooses to do, we are already so proud of him! I thank Dr Needleman for all the care he has given to our son and family over the years and wish him all the best as he continues his practice and many professional endeavors.

Mary Morgan
Mary Morgan

Robert Needlman was the co-author who fully revised and updated the 8th editon of Dr. Spock's Baby and CHild Care, a job which no hand full of editors could ever have accomplished. He has also revised Dr.Spock's BAby and CHild care for India, which will be relased in 2012. For the first time in history, the new e-book will be published. Mary Morgan, Dr. Spock's widow.