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How has research in the past 5 years changed my practice?
  1. Mitch Blair
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr M Blair
    Imperial College, Northwick Park Hospital Campus, Watford Road, Middlesex Harrow HA1 3UJ, UK; m.blair{at}

Statistics from

The outcome of any serious research can only be to make two questions grow where only one grew before
Thorsten Veblen, US sociologist (1857–1929).

My starting point for this article is defining my “practice”. Over the past 5 years, I would describe myself as an academic general paediatrician with specialist expertise in child public health. My job divides up roughly into one third each of clinical practice (outpatient work, child public health practice and acute on call), teaching and research. I started off as a senior lecturer in community paediatrics in Nottingham and changed direction but not philosophy in 1998, when I moved back to London to take up a senior lecturer’s post at Imperial College with my clinical base at the Northwick Park Hospital campus in North London—a large teaching district general hospital with integrated acute and community services.

What is my philosophy? To use my skills to manage and prevent ill health, and to promote positive health in the child and family in whichever setting I see them. I wish to highlight the influence of research on specific aspects of both the clinical and teaching aspects of my post as I see it over the past 5 years. I will use three specific examples; the under fives clinic, my teaching clinic and my current child public health practice.


In response to the increasing demands from primary-care staff to see children with behavioural and emotional difficulties, I decided to focus my attention on supporting children and their parents in the early years, and set up my under fives clinic in London. This clinic was set up as a training clinic for undergraduates and postgraduates, with a particular remit for managing emotional and behavioural problems referred from primary care. My interest in this area started in Nottingham, where I had …

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