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50 Robert WoodJohnson
mphasizing the dizzying evolution
of today's technology and the
rapid pace of modern life, he groups
parental options into five spheres:
nutrition, screen time, disposable
income, family responsibility, and,
finally, a balance of extracurricular
activities, academics, and unstructured
In 2010, 28 years into his career,
Dr. Smolen decided to enter the blog-
osphere, "morphing old-world skills
into a new-world career," he says. His
homegrown blog, ","
started as an experiment in "Studio
1E"--his son's old bedroom. Draw-
ing on the diverse expertise of his
family, Dr. Smolen developed a high-
ly successful series of podcasts in
which he shares his knowledge on a
wide variety of subjects with a global
audience. He has researched, written,
and recorded 350 "portable, practi-
cal, pediatric `pedcasts.'" By the
spring of 2015, was log-
ging 40,000 visitors a month (many
returning regularly), with an average
viewing time of six minutes per visit.
The podcasts provide time-tested
answers to parents' commonly asked
questions, including "Straight Talk
about Sleep in Infancy," "The Potty
Refuser," and "The Tired Teen."
"Every morning I get up and add new
topics," he says. "The list is endless."
"I love to teach, and, after all, that
really is what pediatricians do," says
Dr. Smolen, who also serves as an
adjunct associate professor of pedi-
atrics at the University of North
Chapel Hill. "An informed
parent is a good parent, and the pod-
casts give me the opportunity to teach
both parents about a lot of things that
there just isn't time for during a rou-
tine office visit. Extending the con-
versation beyond the office was my
original concept, and it worked!"
Rutgers Medical School (now
Robert Wood Johnson Medical
School) was an excellent choice for
him, says Dr. Smolen. He originally
planned to practice family medicine.
Then, during his clinical rotations, he
worked with Paul Winokur, MD, a
Can Doesn't Mean Should
Through Blog and Book, Paul Smolen, MD '78,
Counsels Thousands of Parents
B Y K A T E O ' N E I L L
he 21st century offers myriad "cans"--or possibili-
ties--for families. But these aren't necessarily the healthiest
"shoulds"--or choices--for growing children, says pediatri-
cian Paul Smolen, MD '78. In his parenting book, Can
Doesn't Mean Should: Essential Knowledge for 21st Century
Parents, published in March 2015, Dr. Smolen discusses how
parents can best balance the cans with the shoulds.