Results for Development Senior Fellow Dr. Maureen Samms-Vaughan is a professor of child health, child development and behavior at the University of the West Indies, a development consultant and behavioral pediatrician. As the first chair of Jamaica’s Early Childhood Commission, she led the transformation of Jamaica’s early childhood sector, through the development and implementation of the first cross-sectoral national strategic plan for ECD in Jamaica. She is an advocate for vulnerable children, particularly children with disabilities and those impacted by violence, and has published significant research in these areas. Her research has influenced public policy in the areas of parenting, early childhood development, mitigation of exposure to violence and the development of early childhood indicators. She has undertaken a number of consultancies for UNICEF, the World Bank, the IDB and other international development partners, and has received research funding from these partners and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Samms-Vaughan has over 100 publications including books, book chapters, technical reports and original peer-reviewed publications. She has completed numerous international, regional and local speaking engagements on childhood matters and also does frequent media appearances.
Dr. Samms-Vaughan’s most recent completed project is the Know Violence Initiative, an international project aimed at reducing violence against children, in which she served as a learning group co-chair. Among the outputs of that project were a publication entitled “Global Report 2017: Ending Violence in Childhood,” that synthesizes current evidence and interventions; publication of a special issue of the Journal of Psychology, Health & Medicine on violence against children; and the development of a network of over 100 academics from around the world, across disciplines and geography, who bring their collective knowledge and work to the issue of violence prevention.
Her current research projects include JAKIDS, the Jamaican Birth Cohort Study (funded by the IDB) which has followed some 9,500 children’s health, development, behavior and family life since their birth in 2011; and the NIH-funded Epidemiology of Autism in Jamaica study.
Dr Samms-Vaughan holds an MD and DM in pediatrics from the University of the West Indies and a PhD in epidemiology from the University of Bristol.
Dr. Samms-Vaughan has received a number of local and international awards, including awards for research and public service from The University of the West Indies. In 2007,the government of Jamaica awarded her the Commander of the Order of Distinction for pioneering work in early childhood development and child health care.