He Wrote the Book on That

Waldman’s wealth of textbooks fills needs in practice, education

“HE WROTE THE BOOK ON THAT” usually is a figure of speech. But when it comes to diagnosing, treating and managing pain, Steve Waldman, M.D. ’77, did write the book — dozens, in fact.

His “Interventional Pain Management,” published in 1996, was the first textbook on the new subspecialty of interventional pain management, said Waldman, the School of Medicine’s associate dean of international programs and chair of the Department of Medical Humanities & Bioethics. Other groundbreaking works followed.

Waldman coined the term interventional pain management, for treating pain as the primary focus instead of as a symptom, like fever.

“That was a big shift in pain management,” said Waldman, a clinical professor of anesthesiology at the School of Medicine since 1992. “There were great advances in medical knowledge in the field but the literature really lagged. There was a need and I wrote the book.”

Steven Waldman and book collection.

Steven Waldman, M.D. ’77, has published 29 medical textbooks, in addition to hundreds of peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.

For more than 20 years, Waldman has kept seeing such needs and writing books to meet them, on pain management and on his other area of expertise, diagnostic ultrasound. His published writings have grown to 29 leading medical textbooks, chapters in dozens of others, and more than 240 articles, reviews and other contributions to peer-reviewed journals.

Several of his books have gone into multiple editions, a sign that they are filling vital medical needs and that Waldman is committed to keeping them up to date. Besides topping medical-text sales charts, the books have won awards such as the 2016 British Medical Association Book Award for the third edition of “Physical Diagnosis of Pain: An Atlas of Signs and Symptoms.”

How does an author become so prolific, while also teaching and fulfilling two key administrative posts at the School of Medicine? His longtime editor at W.B. Saunders Co., Michael Houston, said Waldman combined practical knowledge with a keen focus on thoroughness and maximum efficiency.

“Dr. Waldman is one of our most productive and dependable authors,” Houston said. “He is very much aware of what the practicing pain management physician needs to know day to day.”

One physician who values Waldman’s deep knowledge and ability to explain and display medical concepts is Commander Ian M. Fowler, M.D., the head of pain medicine and anesthesiology for the U.S. Navy.

“The anatomic illustrations, radiographic and ultrasound images and detailed explanations in Dr. Waldman’s procedural and comprehensive pain management textbooks have improved my care of patients and improved the learning of my trainees,” Fowler said. “He has kept these informative textbooks up to date with frequent new editions and text on emerging technologies such as ultrasound guided procedures.”

On many of his books, Waldman’s productivity has been enhanced with the help of his three sons and daughter. They’ve done everything from acting as a sounding board for ideas and models for photo illustrations to co-writing, editing and proofreading.

Waldman’s efforts are far from finished. His latest project is a textbook on the use of technology in medical education, which he is writing with a professor at Trakya University in Turkey. Several faculty at UMKC also are contributing.

How much Waldman’s texts have helped medical education and practice is impossible to measure. But his books have been translated into a dozen languages, so their reach is global.

“When I was in China last year representing UMKC at the Edgar Snow Symposium, we toured the hospital at Peking University,” Waldman said. “It was gratifying to see a copy of one of my books, in Chinese, being used in a procedure there.”