Dr. Paul Smolen,

also known as Doc Smo by his friends, is a pediatrician with 38 years of experience caring for children and families.  He is a graduate of Duke University (1974), Rutgers Medical School (1978), and Wake Forest University-N.C. Baptist Hospital (1982).  At Wake Forest University he completed a residency in general pediatrics, served as chief resident, and completed a fellowship in ambulatory pediatrics. Subsequently, he became board certified in the American Academy of Pediatrics (1983) and completed his re-certification in 2014 and 2019. For the last 38 years, he has been an Adjunct Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, helping to train a generation of medical students and pediatric residents as well as author several research papers. He is also the author of two parenting books,  Can Doesn’t Mean Should (2015) and Great Kids Don’t Just Happen (2019).  With 38 years under his belt, Doc Smo is a bona-fide expert in knowing what parents want and need to know about parenting and child health.  Imparting practical and useful advice is the goal of every “Pedcast”.  Smiling along the way can’t hurt!


The Doc Smo Team:

Doc Smo Team Photo




(top L-R) The Rocket-Man Barrister, Seth Jaffe; The Maestro, Ben Smolen; Doc Smo;

(bottom L-R) The Digital Wizard, Sarah Smolen; Head Legal Counsel, Wendy Smolen



Sarah Smolen,


the daughter of DocSmo, is also known as the digital “Wizard” at the blog. She is the webmaster, managing all the digital content for the “Portable, Practical, Pediatrics” website. She comes at her work with great credentials having a Photojournalism and Art history degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2010), as well as a webmaster certificate from North Carolina State University (2011). She is also an award winning photographer with exhibits in art galleries and museums.  She is currently working as a search engine optimization, website design, and internal marketing specialist at a web design firm in Carboro, NC. Check out some of her other work at www.sarahpsmolen.com.



Benjamin Smolen


is the son of DocSmo and the previous occupant of studio 1E. He serves as the resident musician, content editor, and one of the creative forces behind “Portable, Practical, Pediatrics”. He has a Music degrees from Princeton University (2007) and The New England Conservatory of Music (2009). Benjamin’s accomplishments are numerous, the latest of which include playing principal flutist for the Pacific Symphony in Los Angeles, CA., playing on numerous movie soundtracks, and releasing his first CD, “Bach to Beaser, by Duo Musagete. Check out his other pursuits at www.BenjaminSmolen.com.



Wendy Smolen

is the wife of Dr Paul Smolen and the manager of the DocSmo.com LLC. She is a graduate of the following universities: Duke University BA 1974, Princeton Seminary M Div 1978, and Wake Forest School of Law JD 1982. She has practiced law for many years and served on numerous boards during her career. She edited Doc Smo’s first book, Can Doesn’t Mean Should.  Her amazing talents provide direction and guidance to the family project we call DocSmo.com.



Seth Jaffe,


nephew extraordinaire, is the jack of all trades at Docsmo.com. He does a little editing here, a bit of webmastering there, and pitches in where he can. Seth brings to the table 15 years experience as a NASA flight controller for the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. He has also been a professional fashion photographer, designed robotic cameras, and developed security systems for a living. For his fifth act, Seth has become an intellectual property attorney and cybersecurity expert.  Learn more about Seth at www.sethjaffe.com.




Anne Gessner, MSN, CPNP, IBCLC

has worked with Doc Smo for the past 17 years after earning her undergraduate degree (1994) and a Masters in Nursing (1998), both from the University of Virginia School of Nursing. In 2005, she completed the training to become a certified lactation consultant; at Providence Pediatrics, she has been able to combine both practices. Currently she is a graduate of the Haden Institute of the Episcopal Church in Flat Rock, NC. This will allow her to be a spiritual director, helping others with life’s hard issues. In Anne’s free time you will find her in the clay studio or knitting.  Her two school aged boys also keep her busy.







Nathaniel Horlick,

is the nephew of Doc Smo. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a degree in biochemistry. He is currently studying optometry in New England. Nate spends some of his time in studio 1G creating the DocSmo videos. He also digitally edits many of the pedcasts you hear on the website.





Sonya Williams,

Sonya Williams is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park where she studied Bioengineering. She is a Southern California native who is hoping to pursue a future career in medicine. She loves reading, running, cooking and sunshine. Sonya is a research assistant and content editor for Portable Practical Pediatrics.