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T. Berry Brazelton, MD

T. Berry Brazelton, MD, is clinical professor of pediatrics, emeritus at Harvard Medical School, in Boston, where he teaches and conducts research, and professor of psychiatry and human development at Brown University in Providence, R.I. In 1995, Harvard University Medical School established the T. Berry Brazelton Chair in Pediatrics. Brazelton is actively involved with the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, a preventive outreach program that trains professionals nationwide to better serve families of infants and toddlers. He also is on the faculty of the Brazelton Institute, where he continues to be involved in teaching and research with the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale.

Brazelton graduated in 1943 from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City and accepted a medical internship there. In 1945, he moved to Boston to serve his medical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital before undertaking pediatric training at Children's Hospital. His interest in child development led to training in child psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and the James Jackson Putnam Children's Center. He subsequently served as a fellow with professor Jerome Bruner at the Center for Cognitive Studies at Harvard University. There, the process of integrating his dual interests -- primary care pediatrics and child psychiatry -- culminated in 1972 when he established the child development unit, a pediatric training and research center, at Children's Hospital.

Over the years, Brazelton has published more than 200 scientific papers and chapters. Among his 28 books on pediatrics and child development are Infants and Mothers, which has been translated into 18 languages, Working and Caring, To Listen to a Child, The Earliest Relationship, Families: Crisis and Caring, Going to the Doctor, and Touchpoints. His most recent book is The Irreducible Needs of Children: What Every Child Must Have to Grow, Learn, and Flourish, co-authored with noted child psychiatrist Stanley I. Greenspan, MD.

Brazelton was president of the Society for Research in Child Development for the 1987-1989 term, and the National Center for Clinical Infant Programs from 1988 to 1991. In recent years, his growing concern about the pressures and stresses that families face has led to frequent appearances before congressional committees in support of parental and medical leave bills. He also has worked to improve child care support for all working parents. In 1989, Congress appointed him to the National Commission on Children, where he advocated with vigor for disadvantaged children.

One of Brazelton's foremost achievements in pediatrics is the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS), published in 1973 and revised in 1984 and in 1995. Known as "the Brazelton," this evaluation tool is used worldwide, clinically and in research, to assess not only the physical and neurological responses of newborns, but also their emotional well-being and individual differences. Increasingly, the NBAS is being used as an intervention to help parents understand and relate to their new babies, and new research is under way to study how it can be used to enhance early discharge from the newborn hospital.

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