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Monday, November 14, 2011

A Pioneer in Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics

At the Raleigh News-Observer, Elizabeth Shestak remembers a pediatric pioneer who recently passed away at the age of 70.
Thanks to the work of Dr. Sudesh Kataria, children who struggled with academics, taking direction or both have gone on to be doctors, lawyers and engineers.

Kataria was on the forefront of establishing a subspecialty in medicine called development behavior pediatrics - an area of study that focuses on how conditions such as autism and attention deficit disorder are diagnosed and treated.

Early in her career, Sudesh Kataria's interest was met with skepticism by her colleagues. Her husband, Dr. Yash Kataria, a pulmonologist, said she was told it was a "voodoo" science and not worth establishing a career around.

"I remember her having to convince people there was this developmental pediatrics area," her daughter said.

She had the chance to study with world-renowned cardiologists, "but that didn't inspire her," Yash Kataria said.

She persisted, studying children with then-undiagnosed learning disabilities and a host of other amorphous medical conditions that would not necessarily respond to prescriptions, but often required a lot more than just patience from parents.