Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Robert Needlman ’81, ’85MD: “The new Dr. Spock” updates the parents’ bible.

In the 65 years since Benjamin Spock ’25 published his bestseller Baby and Child Care, babies and children probably haven’t changed much. But their care has. And their environment. And their parents. So much that “the new Dr. Spock”—Robert Needlman ’81, ’85MD, the Ohio pediatrician who revised and updated the classic owners’ manual for well-meaning parents—has added sections on ADHD, obesity, nontraditional families, and other contemporary concerns.

An English major at Yale who went on to medical school, Needlman never lost his love for books. In Boston, he cofounded a charity that enlists pediatricians to give free books to parents of young children. In an interview with an Akron newspaper, Needlman compares revising Spock to “working on the translation of the Bible.” He once interrupted dinner with Spock’s widow, Mary Morgan—essentially a job interview for revising the book—so he could read a bedtime story to his daughter, Grace, over the phone.

That was years ago, during preparations for the eighth edition, published in 2004. This week the 65th anniversary edition was released. The illustrator: Yale art major Grace Needlman ’11.

Filed under Yale School of Medicine
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