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The Pediatric Forum
December 2003

Acknowledging Past Contributions

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003;157(12):1242-1243. doi:10.1001/archpedi.157.12.1242

The article by Wissow et al1 in the May issue of the ARCHIVES focused on how ethnicity and gender barriers in disclosing psychosocial information dissipate with longitudinal care, adding important information to the literature in this area. What I found noticeably absent from the article were references to the pediatrician who deserves credit for putting doctor-patient communication research on the map in pediatrics, namely, Barbara Korsch.25 She videotaped resident interviews with parents/patients, used interaction analysis to determine what was occurring in those sessions, and assessed parent satisfaction by conducting exit interviews. Korsch's seminal work is, unfortunately, largely unknown to many of today's trainees, yet her research helped to frame 3 questions that every pediatrician should be asking his or her patients or parents, ie, "Why did you bring your child to the office today?" "What concerns you most about your child?" and "Why does that concern you?" These questions have been shown to demonstrate the willingness of the busy physician to listen to what really is most concerning to the patient or parent for that visit. I know that space limits the number of references and text that authors can use in any journal publication. However, too often I worry that we lose a sense of history when we publish contemporary research and don't cite early pioneers. Here's a vote for making links to those who trailblazed in the past.

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