Watching families bond with their babies, with other families, and with health care providers is the best part of her work as a general pediatrician, says Marjorie S. Rosenthal, MD, MPH.
“I love being there for important moments. When children are healthy, there’s nothing better than seeing families connect to their child in a new way, in a different way, or validating the ways that they're already connecting with their children,” says Dr. Rosenthal, who sees patients in the Pediatric Primary Care Center. “Whether it’s something parents are showing me that their child is doing, like crawling or laughing, or a moment of joy for the parents, or something I’m pointing out to them, it’s great.”
Even when children are sick, Dr. Rosenthal values the ability to help families through difficult times. “We do our best to make the illness go away, to try to help the babies and the children be healthier, and to support the families through it all,” she says.
Dr. Rosenthal is an associate professor of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine and conducts research on decreasing health inequities for young, vulnerable families. She also studies ways in which nontraditional health educators (such as child care providers and peers in group health appointments) can help transcend barriers to good health.
Through a model called “group well child care,” four to eight families with babies (up to 15 months) within three weeks of age of each other meet for a 90-minute visit with two doctors, a nurse, and sometimes, social workers, child life specialists, or lactation consultants. “It’s a great way for families and trainees to see there are so many different types of normal,” Dr. Rosenthal says. “One of our goals is to increase their self-esteem as parents. Our families who participate love it. It’s peer education, where everyone realizes they have expertise."