Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Mark Sloan  

Pen Name: None

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Illinois Connection

Mark Sloan received his MD degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago in 1979.

Biographical and Professional Information

Sloan has been a pediatrician and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics for more than 25 years. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1975 with a biology degree, and received a MD degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago in 1979. Following pediatric residency training at the University of Michigan, he joined The Permanente Medical Group in Sacramento, California, in 1982 and has been The Permanente Medical Group in Santa Rosa, California since 1990. There, he served as Chief of Pediatrics until 2002.Sloan also mentors high school and college students interested in a career in medicine, and teaches medical students and family practice residents in Santa Rosa. He is currently, an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.His writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Examiner, Notre Dame Magazine and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. He is a member of the editorial board of Sonoma Medicine and a frequent contributor to that award-winning magazine.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Birth Day: A Pediatrician Explores the Science, the History, and the Wonder of Childbirth
ISBN: 0345502868

Ballantine Books. 2009

I delivered twenty babies in the summer of 1977. I was hardly more than a baby myself, just turned twenty-four and starting my third year of medical school.”—from Birth Day

So began Mark Sloan’s three-decades-long exploration of the wonders and oddities of human childbirth. Pediatrician, husband, and father, the author has attended nearly three thousand births since that long-ago summer, encountering everything from routine deliveries to tense labor-room dramas. In Birth Day, Sloan draws on his personal and professional experience to weave the strands of memoir, history, science, and culture into a fascinating—and often funny—tapestry of this fundamental human passage.

Birth Day takes the reader on a remarkable journey, from the dawn of human history to the quiet efficiency of a modern operating room

from Aristotle and Julius Caesar to a trailblazing, cross-dressing British army surgeon

from a recent past filled with the horrors of childbirth gone wrong to a present day, in which every pregnancy is expected to end happily. Some of Birth Day’s many topics include

• The evolution of human childbirth—or, why do gorillas have it so easy?
• The first five minutes of life—scuba divers, astronauts, and the amazing adaptations that transform a fetus into an air-breathing, out-in-the-world baby
• Cesarean section—a look at its origins, its future, and how it came to be the most frequently performed operation in American hospitals
• Pain and politics—the age-old quest for painless childbirth, starring Adam and Eve, Queen Victoria, a nineteenth-century medical brawl, and the rise of today’s “epidural monoculture”
• Daddies—raging paternal hormones, hidden anxieties, and the emotional evolution of men (including the author, his father, and grandfather) as they approach fatherhood
• The five senses at birth—does light enter the womb? how loud is it in there? what is a newborn baby searching for with those first anxious glances?
• A tour of the newborn body—springy skulls, hairy ears, innies and outies, the advantages (and disadvantages) of looking like your father, and why the United States is one of the world’s most circumcised nations

Delightfully instructive and entertaining, Birth Day offers a fresh, sometimes irreverent take on a universally familiar topic. Warm, reassuring, and packed with stories from the author’s work and life, this unique book is one pediatrician’s meditation on the hiding-in-plain-sight marvels of human birth.