I am a final year PhD student supervised by Dr Sarah Lloyd-Fox (CBCD) and Prof Jane Barlow (SPI – Oxford) , funded through the University of Warwick as an International Chancellor’s Scholar. My main academic interests are newborn social abilities and the well-being of new mothers and fathers. My thesis considers the relationship between newborn social behavior, parents’ mental health before and after birth, and parent-child interaction (PCI) in the earliest months.
Within the BRIGHT project, my main role has been in the preparing and contextualizing the Mental Health Questionnaires (MHQs) and the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) for the Kiang West setting, and in training colleagues in Keneba in these measures. To this end, I spent ten months at the Keneba Field Station. During my first two months, I and a small team of driven, experienced field assistants and translators conducted semi-structured interviews to understand parents’ daily experiences and their perceptions of newborn behavior, and carried out pilot NBAS sessions to gather feedback on the items’ acceptability to parents and grandparents in Keneba. Across the following eight months, I lead another perseverant local team in translating and field testing the five mental health questionnaires into Mandinka; trained and supervised colleagues in the administration of these questionnaires; collected NBAS data; and supervised and supported training of two Keneba colleagues in administering, scoring and filming NBAS’s. I handed over MHQ and NBAS data collection with confidence to our adept and extremely hard-working Keneba colleagues in September 2016 and am now based in Cambridge to work toward thesis completion.