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About the Recommendations Newsletter

Berkeley Parents Network > Help & Frequently Asked Questions > Recommendations newsletter

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Policies for the Recommendations newsletter

What goes in the Recommendations newsletter?

Why do you allow topic X to be included in the forum?

This question comes up sometimes - here are some examples we've had in the past:
Re: the request for mohel reviews ... I'm wondering how fair it is to people who have very strong feelings against circumcision to have this topic on this forum. I respectfully request that the moderators consider whether this topic is really appropriate for the very diverse subscriber group that you have.
Re: seeking African American pediatrician ... I really enjoy the parents network and all the work you do; however, I have slight unease with the post for an African-American pediatrician. Would you run a post for a "white" real estate agent wanted. Not sure what your policy is on the issue.
We do not have any rules about what kinds of referrals people can ask for in the Recommendations newsletter. As long as it's a question we think is useful for parents, we take the request. People often ask for referrals for things that other parents do not need or want. Over the years, we've had requests for Swedish-speaking playgroups, woman ObGyns, male therapists, vegetarian caterers, African-American hair salons, Catholic schools, Jewish wedding planners, not to mention all manner of more mundane requests such as mechanics for specific makes of cars. These questions all meet our policy of being helpful to parents, which is really the only goal of the newsletters. We try not to restrict what is considered "helpful". Maybe it isn't helpful to me, but it's helpful to some parent and that is why they asked the question.

Why do we think a request for an African American pediatrician is helpful, but a request for a white pediatrician isn't? It's pretty easy to find a white pediatrician, because in the Bay Area at least, almost all of the pediatricians are white. So answers to that question would not be particularly helpful to anyone. It is a lot harder to find an African American pediatrician, so it's very useful to hear from parents who know where to find one.

Is it reasonable for someone to want to specify the race or gender of their doctor, or ask for practitioners of a particular religion? Yes, we think it is. There are many parents who specifically seek a woman ObGyn or an African American doctor, perhaps because they feel the doctor will more closely understand their needs. Or perhaps they want to provide a particular role model for their children. Our policy is that we don't make judgements about whether a request for referrals is appropriate. We assume that if someone asks, it's something they want or need, and that any replies they get to their question will be useful for them and other parents on the list.

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this page was last updated: Jan 2, 2014

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