Teens and Their Doctors
The Story of the Development of Adolescent Medicine

Henry Berman, MD & Hannah Dashefsky, BSN, RN

October 2017, ISBN 978-0-88135-392-1, $25.95

Teens and Their Doctors

$25.95 + $10 Shipping & Handling

Teens and Their Doctors: The Story of the Development of Adolescent Medicine, by Henry Berman, MD, and Hannah Dashefsky, BSN, RN, traces the development of the field from the first program, opened by Ros Gallagher at Boston Children’s Hospital, in 1951, to the creation of the Society for Adolescent Medicine (SAM), in 1968.

The book describes the growth of the specialty in those two decades, including how it was influenced by changes in society, and how practitioners responded to social change with approaches created to care for alienated youth, such as free clinics, mobile medical vans, and teen hotlines. The core of the book is composed of interviews with more than eighty specialists in adolescent medicine, all of whom were trained by the pioneers of the field.

It also tackles the question asked of specialists in adolescent medicine: “What is adolescent medicine, anyway?” No simple answer is proposed, but the role these physicians play in caring for teens, and the characteristics of those who choose the field, are dramatized by scores of stories—from the humorous, to the poignant, to the heart-breaking. David Bennett, a physician who trained in the US and then returned to his native country to establish the first hospital-based adolescent medical unit in Australia in 1977, wrote a Forward to the book that says, in part,

“This book tells the story of the inaugural efforts to create the specialty of adolescent medicine in a way that will engage the interest of thoughtful readers everywhere, both within and beyond the health and medical professions. Not only has Henry Berman brought to life the characters involved in launching our field – and their protégés – but he has also vividly outlined the attitudes, mores and happenings of those early years in an analysis that is both rich and illuminating.

“This is a seminal work, a unique and timely contribution to our understanding of the origins and underpinnings of our field, crafted with intelligence and love. It feels like a gift to the people who have devoted themselves to the cause.”

Senior author: Henry Berman, MD, FAAP, FSAHM
A practitioner of adolescent medicine since 1971
Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine
Division of Adolescent Medicine, Seattle Children’s Hospital


The voices of these 44 practitioners drive the book and its analysis, and not always in the directions that one might expect. Precisely because the field of adolescent medicine is still attempting to assert its relevance, this book provides a unique window into profession-formation from the perspective of a still very much (spatially and financially) marginalised speciality…The authors have a clear grasp of the different threads within the history of adolescent medicine, and Berman’s situation within the field has undoubtedly been beneficial in gaining interview access to a range of colleagues. The book would make an excellent aid for teaching, given its sources and (perhaps a rare occurrence) medics reflecting quite profoundly on their own lives and practice. It could also serve as a provocative source for opening up historiographical debates around medical professionalisation in the twentieth century, and the tracing of professional genealogies or networks within medicine.

Hannah Dashefsky

Teens and their Doctors is a masterful collection of observations, reflections, and perspectives, all framed in the context of the 1950s and 1960s with more women beginning to enter medical careers, free clinics established in major cities, and an appreciation for confidentiality in the adolescent patient-doctor visit.

This book will be of interest not only to all adolescent medicine specialists but also to pediatricians, internists, and family medicine physicians, multidisciplinary teams, students of the history of medicine, particularly those who have a different perspective on the social movements of the 1950s and 1960s, and those who were once an adolescent!

Jean Emans, MD, FSAHM

This is a seminal work, a unique and timely contribution to our understanding of the origins and underpinnings of our field, crafted with intelligence and love. It feels like a gift to the people who have devoted themselves to the cause.

David Bennett, AO FRACP FSAHM

First-person accounts from the physicians who developed the field of adolescent medicine give Teens and Their Doctors an immediate appeal. In addition, Berman and Dashefsky shape a definition of adolescence that informs the relationship between teens and their doctors. Teens rebel while they seek a worldview of their own. Thus, listening becomes the key to treatment. The universal implications of this theme will interest parents, teachers, doctors, and any adult with a memory.

Alan Bernstein, Emeritus Professor of History

The book is the quintessential approach to writing the history of Adolescent Medicine – thoughtful interviews with a structured approach that brought out the best histories and future hopes of those involved.  Through reading it, you could feel the characteristics of an adolescent medicine physician at their core.

Jeff Sperring, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Seattle Children’s Hospital

Table of Contents

Foreword  xi

Preface     xiii

Introduction                xvii

Chapter One

What is Adolescent Medicine Anyway?               1

Chapter Two

How the Field Began             31

Chapter Three

Early Leaders         71

Chapter Four

Adolescent Medicine Outside of the United States            121

Chapter Five

Adolescence and Society 1951–1968 141

Chapter Six

“1968: The Year That Rocked the World”          169

Chapter Seven

Overcoming Challenges       201

Chapter Eight

Learning about Adolescence                 217

Chapter Nine

Is Adolescent Medicine Truly a Medical Specialty?          241

Acknowledgments       261

Guide to Cast of Characters         263

Academic information for U.S. faculty interviewed         285

Notes         293

Bibliography               305

Index         307

About the authors        325