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Margaret PollakDavid Quentin BorseyEdward James HorganAnnabel Joyce-JenkinsRobert KnoxElizabeth Susan Lear (née Allen)Eric Samuel MachellDonald Watt MacLeanDonald Cameron Watson

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 21 October 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1024

Margaret Pollak

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Paediatrician London (b 1923; q Leeds 1950; FRCPCH, FRCGP, DObstRCOG), d 4 September 2000. Margaret was a special doctor with an outstanding personality and academic ability. She completed her preclinical training at technical colleges before going to Leeds, where she met her husband, Benno Pollak. They set up a family practice in Brixton and began carrying out research. She soon realised that a major problem facing children in the area was emotional deprivation caused by social deprivation and the number of single mothers, many in the West Indian community. She designed a project looking at the social family dynamics of various ethnic groups in her practice. She was awarded a Nuffield scholarship and completed a similar assessment on children of Cherokee Indian and black American families in Chicago. Her book, Three to Five Year Olds in London, was a statement of the problems faced by many ethnic families.

Her self developed skills were not only in the field of social family dynamics but also in developmental assessment of children and were related to the way in which children responded to her kind approach to them and their mothers. She had always worked closely with the department of paediatrics at King's College Hospital, and when the child assessment centre was established Margaret was invited to become a member of the academic staff; so a family doctor became a consultant paediatrician. The centre soon acquired a reputation for the way in which it cared for children with learning disabilities. She was initially a senior lecturer, but later became reader and reader emeritus when she retired. Her interest in learning problems continued after she retired and she was involved in producing learning videos at the time of her death.

She continued to help Benno, who survives her, in their exemplary practice. She …

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