Dr. Susan Foster-Cohen is the Director of the Champion Centre and Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Canterbury. She is engaged in active research into the outcomes of parent-partnership interventions at the Centre. She has also been a member of a research team at the University of Canterbury exploring the long-term outcomes of prematurity, with a particular focus on communication and language development. She has held academic positions in universities in the UK, USA, France and New Zealand and has published widely on language development in both pure and applied journals and books. Susan joined us in a joint venture between the Rethinking Childhood Cluster and the Family Health Cluster on the 6th June to talk about:
Bio-psycho-social consequences of premature birth: family and professional partnerships in early intervention
The short, medium and long-term impacts of premature birth on the infant, the mother, the family and their educational and social communities are the active subjects of research in a number of academic fields. Such research is revealing trends and likelihoods of developmental, educational, mental health and social consequences of prematurity that can, and must, be addressed in early intervention. Particularly difficult, however, is predicting which children will have which, or any, lasting consequences of their prematurity. This presents a challenge for health, education and social welfare practitioners to translate the research evidence into the best support for each child, the families that raise them, and the teachers that educate them. Susan’s talk reviewed the bio-psycho-social consequences of premature birth and then describde the multi-disciplinary support provided to children born prematurely, their families and their teachers at The Champion Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand. It focused on the challenges encountered in assessment, monitoring, and intervention; and the importance of developing families as ‘advocates for life’ for their children.
Approximately 50 – 60 delegates attended from across the country and from diverse disciplines including collaborative partners from BLISS charity and Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Positive feedback from delegates included comments such as:
“Thank you for organising this excellent event. So much useful information for teaching and for my book. Also useful networking, I do hope that Barbara and I move our research idea forward. Thank you also for the delicious lunch.” (an HE Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood)
“Thank you for inviting us to the talk yesterday it was really fascinating. It was also fantastic to hear about the amazing programme Susan runs in New Zealand, I thought it really complemented some of the things Bliss believes in like having the family at the centre of the babies care.” (A charity Research Manager)
As a practising independent midwife, I found the event very illuminating. I will be using the knowledge gained (and revisited) in my work; especially in the postnatal period.
I focus on ‘growing and birthing healthy babies’. In this timely space, I place a large emphasis on supporting mothers (and their partners) to realise the critical importance of the antenatal period, enjoying good diet, exercise, and managing positive energies etc.
I look forward to the video and sharing this with my team. (a Mimosa Midwife)
What an excellent event, ands such a wonderful presentation I was like many in the audience bowled over and learnt such a lot.. Id be very happy to get involved in any future/potential research with BCU , around this field (health practitioner from Birmingham Children’s Hospital)
Dr. Foster-Cohen said of her visit to the UK:
“A true highlight of my trip was my visit to Birmingham City University and the chance to present my research work in prematurity and the model of professional service delivery for premature infants at the Champion Centre.
I was very impressed with the wide range of professional backgrounds in the audience that attended the lecture and extend my thanks to Dr. Carolyn Blackburn, my host, for promoting the importance of the path that premature infants take from the prenatal stage through early childhood. The questions at the lecture and the discussion afterwards over lunch made it clear that there is considerable intelligent interest in the needs of young children at BCU and a genuine contribution that I can make to the courses and training that it offers.
Dr. Blackburn’s visit to the Champion Centre on her Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship last year has opened up significant opportunities for collaborative research between us and I look forward to building on this first exchange of visits in the future.”