2019 Top Docs Spotlight: Rebecca Baum

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Rebecca Baum

What is developmental-behavioral pediatrics?

Developmental-behavioral pediatrics is a subspecialty of the field of pediatrics. Conditions commonly seen in developmental behavioral pediatrics include autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities. … It is a relatively new specialty, and there are only around 700 board-certified developmental-behavioral pediatricians in the country. We face a significant shortage of developmental-behavioral pediatricians in our region and also nationally.

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What would you have been if not a doctor?

Starting college, I was interested in food science. I really enjoyed chemistry and was fascinated with how chemistry could be used to make things taste really good! I majored in biochemistry, but then became interested in microbiology, cancer research, medicine and finally … pediatrics.

How has your field changed since you started practicing?

I started my career around 20 years ago as a general pediatrician in a small town. We had very few mental health providers in our community, and so I tried to do the best I could for my patients with the resources that we had. Ultimately, that was what got me interested in the field of developmental-behavioral pediatrics. Over the last few years, we’ve seen an alarming increase in symptoms related to anxiety and depression. Many of the kids we see are now struggling with significant mental health issues. Those issues can be particularly difficult to sort out in children with autism spectrum disorders or intellectual disabilities.


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