2016 in Review - NBO and NBAS Achievements and Milestones

NBO and NBAS: 2016 in Review


J. Kevin Nugent, Director, the Brazelton Institute

The year 2015 was a singularly unique year of “firsts” for everyone involved in NBONBASInternational (see below).  The highlight of that year was undoubtedly the NBO and NBAS International Trainers Meeting at Harvard.  While experienced long-time Trainers from many countries were in attendance, the meeting also drew a whole new generation of trainers and aspiring trainers to Boston from across the globe, for the first time.  Brilliant presentations by the invited speakers, Leonard Rappaport, Heidelise Als, Jerome Kagan, Terrie Inder, Jack Shonkoff and Charles Nelson reflected the newest advances in the field, while Berry Brazelton’s presence and engagement enhanced the occasion for all participants.  Perhaps more than anything, it was the level of participation by all attendees that was its enduring legacy, such that that the momentum from that meeting carried forward into 2016, when new studies began to take shape, new international trainings were initiated, different study groups began to work together and more NBO and NBAS trainings were offered.  It was another year of "firsts" for NBONBASInternational.

The most notable training "first" of 2016 must surely be that in the UK alone, Joanna Hawthorne and her colleagues offered 43 NBO courses and two NBAS courses. Another significant 2016 "first" for WAIMH and for our NBONBASInternational group was that our colleague, NBO Trainer Campbell Paul was appointed President-elect of WAIMH in June of this year.  A noteworthy milestone of 2016 was that many of the November Harvard Meeting 2015 participants met again in Prague on the occasion of the 15th World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) Congress, where NBO and NBAS papers made a notable contribution to the Congress.   The “Firsts” for 2016 also included the first NBO trainings to be offered in Denmark, Hong Kong, Japan and New Zealand, the initiation of new NBO trainers in Norway, a new NBAS trainer for Australia and New Zealand, the introduction of the NBO to the Mallee District Aboriginal Services (MDAS) in regional Victoria, Australia for the first time and the development of an E-learning platform for the NBO in Norway. In this year, Berry Brazelton received the ZERO TO THREE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD "for unwavering commitment to advancing research, practice, and policies benefiting America's babies".  Not his "first", of course, but in this the year of his 98th birthday a worthy accolade in addition to the many national and international awards he has received over the course of his lifetime. 


PORTUGAL: Our new year began in earnest with an international conference in Lisbon organized by NBAS Pioneer and Trainer Professor Joao Gomes Pedro and the Fundaçâo Brazelton/GomesPedro.  The three-day conference, The Love Synapses: Building Strong Children, Families and Communities, drew over 800 health care and education professionals to Lisbon from all over Portugal. Speakers included: Ana Teresa Brito, Joao Gomes Pedro, Maria do Céu Machado, Charles Nelson, J. Kevin Nugent, Emilio Salgueiro, Adriana Sampaio, Danile Sampaio, Isabel Soares and Joshua Sparrow.  From the inspirational opening address delivered by Joao Gomes Pedro himself, which included a tribute to Berry Brazelton, to the final address by former Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, the conference presented many challenging ideas in relation to our work with infants and families. President Sampaio’s words captured the spirit of the meeting when he argued that it is necessary to teach tolerance from the very beginning of life - "I do not know what the world will be like five or ten years from now, but I hope you can look back and realize ... that we have been able to preserve the values of democracy, rights, freedom and tolerance that we believe in and come back to the troubled page of the first two pages of the twenty-first century”.  (See News for photo and more information)

BRAZIL: A new book for parents, Cuidar & Crescar Juntos was developed by NBO practitioners Claudia Lindgren Alves and Livia de Castro Magalhães, Sofia Feldman Hospital, Belo Horizonte, Argentina, in their roles as coordinators of the "Care and Grow Together" project, funded by Grand Challenges Canada-Saving Brains, in partnership with Sofia Feldman Hospital.


USA: Kevin Nugent, Beth McManus and Yvette Blanchard received a research grant from the Deborah Munroe Noonan Memorial Research Fund to test the effectiveness of the NBO as a model of care in a large sample of infants served by Early Intervention programs for infants with developmental disabilities or delays in the State of Massachusetts. The purpose of the study is to determine the effects of the NBO on infant cognitive and social-emotional function and maternal depression. NBO Trainer Jayne Singer is a consultant on the grant and responsible for the training and mentoring of the EI practitioners.

NBO Training took place in Boston at the Charles River Community Health Center on February 15-16th, 2016 with Connie Keefer and Kevin Nugent serving as trainers.

Two articles by NBO Trainer Beth McManus and her colleagues were published in February.  The first was: State Medicaid Eligibility Criteria and Unmet Preventive Dental Care Need for CSHCN and appeared in the Maternal Child Health Journal. 2016 Feb; 20(2): 456-65. doi: 10.1007/s10995-015-1843-6. PMID: 26520157.  The second of these was “Which Children Are Not Getting Their Needs for Therapy or Mobility Aids Met? Data From the 2009-2010 National Survey of Children With Special Health Care Needs) and published in Physical Therapy, 96(2): 222-31. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20150055.


NORWAY: A meeting of Nordic Newborn Behavioral Observations (NBO) practitioners was organized by NBO Trainers Unni Tranaas Vannebo and Kari Slinning and took place in Oslo this month.  Eighty-five NBO practitioners from all over Norway attended.  While Kevin Nugent was the keynote speaker at the meeting, the highlight of the meeting featured NBO practitioners reporting on their logs and describing their work with the NBO. Many speakers reported that learning the NBO has been “life-changing” for them and has transformed their practices, so that they cannot “take off their NBO glasses”. Others discussed the challenge of “unlearning being an advice-giver and telling people what to do” and “bringing forward the baby’s voice” and “making parents more visible and allowing parents to take the lead”. All participants reported on the strong sense of community and camaraderie that exists between all the NBO practitioners and added that the NBO has made a significant contribution to their confidence in their work. 

The 25th Nordic Infant Mental Health (NFSU) Jubilee Conference took place in Oslo, Norway on March 10th, 2016. Unni Tranaas Vannebo, President of the Nordic Association for Infant Mental Health and NBO Trainer, introduced Kevin Nugent as the keynote Speaker.  The title of his talk was: Beginning in the Perinatal Period – a unique opportunity for preventive intervention and support for parents. Participants came from all over Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Finland. Other speakers included Professor Emeritus Lars Smith, Sari Ahlqvist-Björkroth and Mette Sund Sjøvold.

Three new Norway trainers received their NBO Trainer certificates in Oslo this month – undoubtedly a reflection of the dynamism of the NBO Training program in Norway.  The new trainers are Nina Cheetham Bøhle, Rakel Aasheim Greve and Hege Sandtrø. (See Norway: News from Around the World for photograph and further information)

USA: In the United States, NBO training led by Drs. Keefer and Nugent took place at the University of California Davis Extension's Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship Program in Napa, CA, which is directed by Dr. Kristie Brandt. This first NBO training in the Napa-based Fellowship program was offered over 12 years ago and the multidisciplinary program now draws participants from all over California and from all over the US and abroad. 

NBO training also took place as part of the Infant-Parent Mental Health Postgraduate Fellowship/Certificate Program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston on March 4th, 2016. Professor Ed Tronick is the Faculty Chief and Dr. Dorothy Richardson is the Program Director. Participants from many countries include psychologists, physicians, social workers, marriage-family therapists, educators, occupational therapists, physical therapists, nurses, speech/language & communication therapists, and other professionals attended.  The training was led by Drs. Keefer and Nugent. 

Two articles by Beth McManus were published this month:  “Identifying Infants and Toddlers at High Risk for Persistent Delays”, which appeared in the Maternal Child Health Journal, 20(3):639-45. doi: 10.1007/s10995-015-1863-2. PMID: 26518005.  The second was an article (with Dawn Magnusson as first author) called, “Capturing Unmet Therapy Need Among Young Children With Developmental Delay Using National Survey Data”. It was published in March in Academia Pediatrica, 16(2):145-53. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2015.05.003. PMID: 26183004 .


USA: Two NBO trainings took place in Boston in April 2016 (one with the DULCE group) with Connie Keefer, Kevin Nugent and new NBO trainers Nancy Deacon and Aditi Subramaniam and Trainer-in-training Carmen Noruna.  DULCE Family Specialists will use the NBO to partner with parents of newborns – with the dual goals of improving child development and reducing maltreatment.

Data collection on the new RCT study (Kevin Nugent and Beth McManus and Yvette Blanchard) ‘The Effects of the Newborn Behavioral Observations system-Early Intervention (NBO_EI) Model of Care” began this month. 

NORWAY: NBAS Trainer Jorunn Tunby reports that in Tromso, Norway, Hege Syversen Smerud and Heidi Fjeldheim, completed the NBAS training and were certified in April 2016.  They are both working with newborn infants of mothers who need support during the crucial first months of their children’s lives.

SLOVENIA:  NBAS-trained pediatrician Professor Darja Paro Panjan reports that there are five NBAS or NBO trained professionals at the Neonatal Department of the University Children’s Hospital in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Three of them routinely performed NBAS or NBO as an intervention to promote the understanding of newborn behavior to parents. In the future they plan to continue using both the NBAS and NBO and to evaluate the parent’s experiences with NBAS or NBO using the Parent Questionnaire, which was translated in 2016.  Additionally, at the neonatal department they have regular weekly supportive group sessions for parents with NBAS-trained nurses and clinical psychologists


UK: NBO Training was presented by the Royal Society of Medicine in London on May 5-6th. The two-day workshop was presented by Brazelton Centre UK faculty, Betty Hutchon and Libe Deller. 

UK/GERMANY: Joanna Hawthorne visited the University Medical Centre Hamburg, Germany on June 2nd -3rd, 2016 to certify Susanne Mudra and her colleague Susanne Malcherek on the NBAS.  Afterwards, Joanna Hawthorne presented a lecture on the NBAS and NBO for nurses, psychiatrists and psychologists at the Mother and Baby Unit, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy.  The NBAS is used in Hamburg in clinical work with mothers and babies and is implemented during home-visits 3 weeks after birth as part of an ongoing prospective perinatal study on parental anxiety and infant emotional development, conducted by Susanne Mudra in cooperation with the Department of Obstetrics and Fetal Medicine, UKE Hamburg.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Among the 1600 delegates who attended the 15th World Association for Infant Mental Health Congress in the historic city of Prague - "the city of a hundred spires" - from May 29th to June 3rd., 2016, were over 70 NBO and NBAS Trainers and personnel, from 18 different countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America. Two symposia, one poster workshop, a series of individual posters and oral presentations featured work with the NBO and NBAS, while Kevin Nugent and Eva Cignacco delivered Master Lectures.  Our colleague, Campbell Paul, served as Chair of the Scientific Committee and reiterated the consensus view that it was a most successful and inspiring meeting and that the NBONBASInternational papers made a notable contribution to the Congress. 

On the eve of the Congress, a meeting of NBAS and NBO trainers was also held at the WAIMH Conference Hotel on Sunday morning, May 29th.  The meeting was co-chaired by Kevin Nugent and Joanna Hawthorne and moderated by Susan Nicolson.  Conference presenters discussed their WAIMH presentations and this was followed by NBO and NBAS trainers discussing their training programs, followed by reports on on-going or planned research studies. Brief reports on a number of randomized controlled trials on the effects of the NBO on a range of outcomes, postpartum depression in particular, were presented: Denmark (Hanne Kronberg and Merethe Winter); Norway (Kari Slinning and colleagues); US (Beth McManus, Kevin Nugent and Yvette Blanchard)Australia (Susan Nicolson and Campbell Paul & colleagues); South Africa (Katherine Frost, Nicky Dawson and Jade Richards); Brazil (Livia Magalhaes & Claudia Lindgren Alves). 

There was further discussion on the importance of reviewing NBO training and the critical role of mentoring and reflective practice.  A range of training models are in place, so that there was a strong recommendation that provision be made for further on-going on-line discussions on both training and on research.  This site will provide a forum for these discussions. 

On the same Sunday night, fifty-one NBAS and NBO trainers and friends gathered for dinner at the Francouzská Restaurace Art Nouveau in the old city. Trainers and future trainers from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden (represented by future Sweden trainer, Johanna Mansson), Switzerland, UK and USA were represented. Guests included, Bob Emde, Honorary President of WAIMH, Linda Gilkerson and her colleagues Mary Claire Hefron and Alison Steier, Roseanne Clark and Jeff, Linda Tuchman and Alan (US), Alex Harrison (US) and her colleagues, Alayne Stieglitz (US) and Neena Lyall (India), Patricia O'Rourke and Chris Rawlinson (Australia), Susanne Malcherek (Germany), Hanne Braarud (Norway), Dorith Wieczorek-Deering (Ireland) and Lynn Pridis (Australia).  A message from Joao Gomes-Pedro was read to all and greetings were sent to Berry Brazelton in Cape Cod, to Joao in Portugal and to other absent friends. 

In the Congress itself, two symposia and a poster workshop featured research with the NBO.  An international symposium entitled, “The Newborn Behavioural Observations (NBO): Focussing on community-based promotion of the parent infant relationship” was convened by Susan Nicolson, while Kevin Nugent served as discussant.  Presenters included: Kari Slinning, Unni Vannebo & Frances Drozd (Norway), Katherine Frost (South Africa), Merethe Vinter & Inge Nickell (Denmark), Susan Nicolson, Campbell Paul & Danielle Dougherty (Australia).  The second symposium was “Meeting the very sick baby in NICU and beyond: applying the Newborn Behavioural Observation (NBO) in supporting vulnerable relationships between the baby and her parents, from diverse international settings” and was moderated by Campbell Paul.  Presenters included: Yvette Blanchard, Beth McManus, Jayne Singer & Kevin Nugent (USA), Deanna Gibbs & Emily Hills (UK), Livia Magalhaes, E. Dittz, M. Guimaraes & Claudia Lindgren Alves (Brazil), Megan Chapman & Campbell Paul (Australia).  The Poster Workshop was convened by Joanna Hawthorne, (United Kingdom) & Susan Nicolson (Australia) and included presentations by Jeanette Appleton & Inge Nickell (UK), Katherine Frost, Nicky Dawson and Jade Richards (South Africa), Joanna Hawthorne (UK), Betty Hutchon and Susana Nicolau (UK). 

Other NBO and NBAS related presentations included papers by Rakel Greve, Hanne Braarud & Kari Slinning (Norway); Zhang, H. P., Zu, S.E., Sun, H. L., Duan, X. F., Zeng, J. A., Zhang, H. F., Sheresta, A., Zhu, Z.L., Li, H. (China); Natalie M. Duffy, Campbell Paul & Susan Nicolson (Australia); Beulah Warren and M. Birch (Australia); Alexanda Harrison, Alayne Stieglitz, N. Lyall (USA and India); R.A. Belot, A Caron, S. Richard and D. Vennat France and Belgium); M. Barbosa, Anna-Terese Brito & Joao Gomes-Pedro (Portugal); Lynn Priddis (Australia); Johanna Mansson & Karin Stjernqvist (Sweden); K. A. Frankel, Carmen Norona, K. Thomas & M. St. John (USA); Roseanne Clark (USA); Megan Chapman and Campbell Paul (Australia); Marie-Paule Durieux and A. B. Johansson (Belgium); H. Verpe, S. Skotheim, M. Søvik, M. K. Malde, K. M. Stormark, U. Vannebo, L. Smith, V. Moe (Norway); Patricia O'Rourke (Australia).

(For more details on the symposia and the workshop and the individual presentations see In the News on the Brazelton Institute website).

USA: Yvette Blanchard offered NBAS training to Megan Bradley, Post-doc fellow in Psychology at Frostburg University in Maryland, Isabel Miranda, pediatrician from Chile and Dr. Oladiji (Diji) Vaughan, pediatrician from Phoenix, originally from Nigeria, who also works with high-risk infants in NICU follow-up.  NBO training was presented at the University of New Mexico School of Nursing by Connie Keefer and Ann Stadtler on June 21-22nd.   

USA: An article, “Urban/Rural Differences in Therapy Service Use Among Medicaid Children Aged 0-3 With Developmental Conditions in Colorado” by Beth McManus and colleagues was published this month in Acad Pediatr. May-Jun;16(4):358-65. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2015.10.010. PMID: 26546856

AUSTRALIA: At the 8th International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health at NUS University Cultural Centre and University Town, Singapore on 19 - 23 June 2016, Susan Nicolson presented a paper entitled, “Yogabond Project: An Innovation of the Young Women Health Program at the tertiary obstetric hospital in Melbourne, Australia”.

It was announced this month that Campbell Paul was appointed as President-Elect of the World Association for Infant Mental Health. 


IRELAND: On the occasion of being awarded a doctorate from the University of Ulster on July 5th, 2016, our colleague, NBAS and NBO trainer, Betty Hutchon was invited to present the graduation address.  In her moving address – peppered with typical Betty humour – she outlined her journey in the field and humbly acknowledged the role her mentors and colleagues played on that journey.  She ended her address with the following story directed to her fellow graduates: A traveller was walking along a beach when he saw a woman scoping up starfish off the sand and tossing them into the waves, and curious he asked her what she was doing.  The woman replied, “when the tide goes out it leaves these starfish stranded on the beach and they will dry up and die before the tide comes back in so I'm throwing them back into the sea where they can live”. The traveller then asked her, “but this beach is miles long and there are 100s of stranded starfish many will die before you reach them - do you really think throwing back a few starfish is really going to make a difference?” The woman picked up a starfish and looked at it then she threw it into the waves. “Well, it makes a difference to that one” she said.”

DENMARK:  This month marked the formal beginning of the longitudinal NBO study by Professor Hanne Kronborg from the Department of Public Health, Aarhus University.  This Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) is designed to examine the effects of the NBO in a preventive primary care setting.  The study will be carried out in six medium sized municipalities in Jutland in northern Denmark.  NBO trainers, Inge Nickell and Merethe Vintner are carrying out the training of the Health visitors.   The study began this July with the randomization of health visitors to intervention and comparison groups.  The study will continue until July 2019.

ICELAND: This month In Iceland, NBO practitioner/researcher, Stefanía Arnardóttir, began data collection on her study on the effects of the NBO on a sample of mothers with high EPDS score during pregnancy or have history of trauma or depression/anxiety.  


New Zealand: In August, Campbell Paul and Susan Nicolson presented the first ever NBO training in New Zealand in Christchurch!  The participants, they reported, included “an unusually large proportion of psychiatrists and early intervention workers”.

USA: At the Brazelton Touchpoints Center 2016 National Forum, which took place in Providence, Rhode Island, NBO trainer Claudia Quigg discussed the use of the NBO as a model for the strategy of “using the child’s behavior as our language” when working with families.  More than 150 people from all over the U.S. gathered for the meeting.  During the same month, Connie Keefer and Yvette Blanchard presented NBO training to the Kootenai tribe in Montana. 

NORWAY: In an article published this month, Kari Slinning and Unni Tranaas Vannebo were co-authors on an article entitled, “Precursors of social emotional functioning among full-term and preterm infants at 12 months: Early infant withdrawal behavior and symptoms of maternal depression.” It appeared in Infant Behavior and Development, 6;44:159-68. Epub 2016. 

Another article with Kari Slinning as co-author, “The Impact of Perinatal Depression on Children’s Social-Emotional Development: A Longitudinal Study” was published this month in the Maternal and Child Health Journal. DOI: 10.1007/s10995-016-2146-2.

USA: Beth McManus was a co-author on a paper on “The Role of Physical Therapists in Reducing Hospital Readmissions: Optimizing Outcomes for Older Adults During Care Transitions From Hospital to Community” by Falvey et al. which appeared this month in Physical Therapy, 96(8):1125-34. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20150526.


HONG KONG: The first NBO training to take place in Hong Kong was hosted by the Hong Kong Association for Infant Mental Health (HKAIMH) and was coordinated by Joyce MOK, President of HKAIMH, assisted by K.H. Chung, from the Executive Committee of HKAIMH. Trainers were J. Kevin Nugent and Campbell Paul.  Campbell had been consulting with the group for some time so that the thirty participants who came from a range of professions including midwives, psychologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians, social workers, physical therapists & occupational therapists were very well prepared for the training.  The evaluations of the training were extremely positive and trainees were excited about the possibility of learning to integrate the NBO into their respective settings.  For all participants the live NBO sessions, which were facilitated by Joyce Mok and her colleagues and took place at the United Christian Hospital in Kowloon, were especially revealing in that they highlighted the strength-based relational character of the NBO philosophy and the importance of including the parents as partners in the NBO session (See In the News and Around the World for photos).  

JAPAN: An initiative by Professor Shohei Ohgi, Director of NBAS and NBO training in Japan, has led to Dr. Eiko Saito and Dr. Mariko Iwayama being trained and installed as the first NBO trainers for Japan. Eiko was first trained on the NBO in Boston and Mariko was trained in the UK and both have been using the NBO for a number of years.  Eiko is a nurse midwife and is an Associate Professor in the graduate School of Nursing at the Japanese Red Cross College of Nursing.  Mariko Iwayama is a clinical psychologist and teaches at Kyushu University and is a member of the Japan Association of Perinatal Mental Health.  The NBO program was established by and is under the direction of Professor Shohei Ohgi, Director of NBAS training in Japan. The new program, NBOJapan, (see nbojapan@hyahoo.co.jp) was inaugurated on the occasion of the first NBO training to be offered in Japan in September 2016.  Along with Professors Campbell Paul and Kevin Nugent, Eiko and Mariko assisted in the delivery of NBO training in Tokyo and in Nagoya.   They provided translation and demonstrated the NBO in live sessions during the training and offered supervision during the virtual NBO sessions.   Thirty trainees participated in NBO training in Tokyo at the Japanese Red Cross College of Nursing on September 12-13th.  Thirty participants also joined the University of Nagoya training later that week at the Japanese Red Cross Nagoya Daini Hospital.  NBAS Trainers Dr. Masako Nagata and Dr. Yukio Nagai hosted this training.  A special Open Lecture took place on Sunday September 18th at Nagoya University, Higashiyama Campus, which featured lectures by Professors Paul, Nugent and Nagata (See In the News and Around the World for photos and more information).

DENMARK: Inge Nickell and Merethe Vinter delivered NBO training in Denmark to 57 health visitors from four different municipalities during September and October. The training is part of a large RCT project, directed by Hanne Kronborg at the Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, which is examining the short-term and long-term effects of a universal intervention using the NBO delivered by a Health Visitor on child and family outcomes. “The health visitors arrived at the training with lots of interest and enthusiasm. They all received an introduction to the NBO by the research team prior to the two-day training to inform them of expectations of the project and the training”.

UK: On the 22nd September, Kim Benn, Midwife and NBO evaluator, represented The Brazelton Centre at the Birthlight Conference held at Girton College, Cambridge.  Then on the 30th September at the 20th Birthday Celebratory Conference of the Association of Infant Mental Health UK (AIMH UK), Susana Nicolau and Joanna Hawthorne presented a poster about health visitors using the NBO with families.  Findings revealed that in 84% of the families visited in their homes, both mother and father were present for the NBO session.

NORWAY: In Norway, physiotherapist Cathrine Labori was certified on the NBAS in September and is participating in a research project conducted by Gunn Kristin Øberg, an intervention study inspired by NBAS.

AUSTRALIA: Campbell Paul was co-author on a paper, “Family Impact and Infant Emotional Outcomes Following Diagnosis of Serious Liver Disease or Transplantation in Infancy”, published this month in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.  Campbell also chaired a symposium at the 2016 Marcé Society Biennial Scientific Conference which took place this month in Melbourne, Australia, entitled, “WAIMH Symposium Intervening with the Troubled Early Infant-Parent Relationship through Supporting the Development of Reflective Capacity and Emotional Regulation.”

USA: In this month NBO trainer Claudia Quigg wrote and published a resource for professionals working with infants and families in the State of Illinois.  Professionals Partnering with Newborns and their Families provides “basic information about the many opportunities in working with families during the critical prenatal and newborn periods”. This book was disseminated throughout many program funding streams and professional groups.

The Little Company of Mary Hospital in Chicago hosted NBO training, which was conducted by Ann Stadtler on Sept 20th—21st.  NBO training was also presented at Russell Child Development Center, Garden City, Kansas on September 13-14, 2016.  Yvette Blanchard and Aditi Subramaniam made up the faculty.

On September 16th, NBAS trainer Nadia Bruschweiler-Stern and The Boston Change Process Study Group (BCPSG) presented a workshop on “On Engagement” at the Austen Riggs Center. Mass.  The key objective of the workshop was to enable participants to critique how engagement is part of development and how engagement happens in relationships, including therapeutic ones.

AUSTRALIA: Susan Nicolson presented a paper,The AMPLE intervention for adolescent parents” at the BIENNIAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE INTERNATIONAL MARCÉ SOCIETY FOR PERINATAL MENTAL HEALTH, Melbourne, Australia, Sept 26-28th, 2016.

NORWAY: Kari Slinning was a co-author on a study on “The Implementation of Internet Interventions for Depression: A Scoping Review”, which was published this month in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(9): e236.


USA:  On October 17th, the ZERO TO THREE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD was presented to T. Berry Brazelton “for unwavering commitment to advancing research, practice and policies benefitting all of America’s babies”.

NORWAY: The Norway NBO trainers team - Kari Slinning, Unni Tranaas Vannebo, Inger-Pauline Landsem, Nina Cheetham and Hege Sandtrø - gathered for a 4-day workshop to continue their work on the development of an E-learning platform for the NBO, an initiative by NBO trainer, Rakel Greve. (See In the News for more details).

USA: NBO Training was conducted at the University of Wisconsin Capstone Certificate Program in Infant, Early Childhood and Family Mental Health in October 2016.  NBO training has been an integral part of the program since it was inaugurated seven years ago. The program, founded in 2009 by Dr. Roseanne Clark, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and by Dr. Linda Tuchman-Ginsberg, who has contributed to early childhood professional development for almost 35 years, continues to flourish.  This year, NBO training was presented to the Capstone fellows and a group of home visitors by Dr. Constance Keefer and Kevin Nugent, while Michele Meier, Amber Evenson and Sarah Strong are also involved in mentoring support (See News for more details)

NBO trainer Susan Minear and NBO and NBAS practitioner Cathleen Dehn are using the Newborn Behavior Observation (NBO) to develop the consolability aspect of a new tool which will be standardized as part of a research project at Boston Medical Center (BMC).  Also at Boston Medical Center, Carmen Noruña and Cathleen Dehn introduced the NBO to a group of social work interns. 

AUSTRALIA: In the month of October in Australia, NBO trainer Susan Nicolson and Patricia O’Rourke presented a Master Class on “Innovative Practice with Newborn Families: Identifying Difficulties and Promoting Bonding” at the Australian College of Children and Young People’s Nurses at the Conference in Adelaide, South Australia.  The three-hour workshop featured Susan’s work on the NBO and the Maternal Looking Glass, developed by Patricia O’Rourke.

BELGIUM: NBAS Trainers, Drs. Claire De Vriendt-Goldman and Marie-Paule Durieux presented their annual, "Brazelton Day", an encounter organized every year in October with the current and former NBAS trainees. During this event, they welcome questions about the uses of the NBAS in challenging clinical situations.


UK: At the UK NorPIP Annual conference - Perinatal Mental Health and Infant Mental Health: Intrinsic links and Integrated strategies - Inge Nickell, Specialist health visitor in infant mental health and NBAS and NBO trainer presented a workshop:  ‘Approaches to embedding parent-infant observation in the healthcare system: Using the Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scale (NBAS) & Newborn Behavioural Observation (NBO)’.  Then on the 15th and 16th November at the CPHVA Conference (Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association), Susana Nicolau represented The Brazelton Centre UK, with the poster: 'Practitioners use of the NBO six months after the training course' 

NBAS and NBO trainer Maggie Wood reports that another cohort in Middlesbrough received training in the NBO this month.  “Baby Stars (NBO and NBAS) is used on regular basis and as nearly all our staff are now trained, aspects and underpinning concepts are used throughout practice for all babies/families”, she adds. 

Jeanette Appleton authored a chapter on incorporating the NBAS/NBO into the Examination of the Newborn, which is done with all babies by midwives, nurses within 72 hours of birth and again by GP's at 6-8 weeks old, in the UK:  Examination of the Newborn: An Evidence-Based Guide, Ed: Anne Lomax, Wiley Blackwell.  First edition 2011; Second edition 2015.

NORWAY: NBO trainers Unni Tranaas Vannebo and Rakel Aasheim Greve presented NBO training to nurses in the district of Romsdal area on the north west coast of Norway. The NBO training was covered by the Romsdals Budstikke newspaper.   An article with NBO Trainer Kari Slinning as co-author, “Association between maternal postnatal depressive symptoms and infants’ communication skills: A longitudinal study” was published this month in Infant behavior & development 45(Pt A):83-90.

AUSTRALIA: At the Tresillian Family Care Centre in Sydney, Australia in November of this year, NBO training was conducted by trainers Campbell Paul, Susan Nicolson and Beulah Warren.  Over twenty participants attended the training (See Around the World for photo).

EL SALVADOR/INDIA/CHINA: Alex Harrison introduced the NBO to nursing students in El Salvador and in India.  In India, Alex and her team have placed the NBO at the “heart” of the infant mental health mini-course they teach at the nursing school and in Shanghai in November, along with Joshua Sparrow, Alex introduced the NBO to a class of infant mental health students.


UK: On the 12th of December the Brazelton Centre UK joined Babies in Mind, a Maternal Mental Health Alliance project to present a “Babies in Mind Seminar”.  Sally Hogg, Strategic Lead, Mums and Babies In Mind, introduced the event, while Joanna Hawthorne described the NBO (and NBAS) and Catherine Mee also spoke about the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health pathway in Tameside. Deborah O’Dea presented a moving case study describing the use of the NBO with a depressed mother in Blackpool, and Catherine Whitcombe from Gloucestershire described the introduction of NBO training to Gloucestershire and gaining funding to train all health visitors there.   The Q&A session highlighted the need to disseminate information about baby behaviour widely to other as yet unreached professionals in the UK.

CHINA: On Dec 10, Prof. Hui Li and her group in Xi’an presented a conference “Mother and Infant Mental Behavior and Emotion Management.”

USA: Claudia Gold joined Kevin Nugent to present NBO training in Boston in December 2016.   At the Zero to Three Annual Conference in New Orleans, NBO Trainer-in-training, Carmen Noruña and her colleagues presented on “Deepening Self-Awareness to Create Organizational Change and Promote Equity: Using the Diversity- Informed Tenets”. In this month, Kevin Nugent also presented an introductory workshop on the NBO to The Infant-Parent Training Institute (IPTI) Fellows at the Jewish Family and Children’s Service, Waltham, Mass.  The IPTI offers integrated clinical and theoretical training in infant mental health to professionals from multiple disciplines including social work, psychology, counselling, psychiatry, pediatrics, early education/child care, nursing, and allied health fields. 

In rural western MA, under the sponsorship of the Austen Riggs Center, Claudia Gold is also developing a model of community intervention with the NBO as its centerpiece. In the proposed research project, they will first assess, among other measures, baseline levels of parenting stress, co-parenting and postpartum depression in the community. They will continue to collect data- both prenatally and postpartum- following the training, thus allowing them to study the effects of the NBO both within an individual family as well as in the community as a whole. 

NORWAY: In Tromsø - considered the northernmost city in the world – the NBO-intervention study led by professor Catharina Wang, with NBO trainers Inger Pauline Landsem and Kari Slinning, serving as collaborators, continues.  The intervention group receive three serial NBOs: 1) Routine care plus the NBO at the hospital within two days post-delivery; 2) Routine home visit plus the NBO by a public health nurse when the infant is 7-10 days old; and 3) NBO at the well-baby clinic when the infant is about 4 weeks old. Main outcome measures are EPDS, PSI and EAS. 

Inger Pauline Landsem’s book (“En bedre start”/”A better start”) will be translated into Russian and Inger Pauline will be involved in a project in the northwestern part of Russia, where she will share her knowledge of premature infant development and the use of the NBO and NBAS.

SWEDEN: NBAS Trainer, Professor Karin Stjernqvist and her colleague Johanna Mansson, Dept. of Psychology, Lund University, Sweden continue to work on reporting the results from the 6-years follow-up of EXPRESS (Extremely Preterm Infants in Sweden Study) and are also planning the 12-years follow-up program.

AUSTRALIA: Susan Nicolson reports that in 2017, two research projects on the NBO will get underway in Melbourne, and our collaboration with the Mallee District Aboriginal Health Service to see the NBO embedded in their Early Years Program will continue. The ‘UNA’ (Understanding your Newborn and Adapting to parenthood) research project will examine the impact of the NBO among mothers with a history of depression in pregnancy will begin recruitment in 2017. The ‘NINA’ research project is a feasibility study aiming to get a better understanding of the NBO’s place in NICU. Recruitment is in progress.

BRAZIL: NBO practitioners Livia de Castro Magalhães and Claudia Regina L. Alves and their colleagues completed two studies on the NBO in 2016.  Erika da Silva Dittz, Claudia Regina L. Alves, Elysângela Dittz Duarte,  Lívia de Castro Magalhães are the authors of a qualitative study on the effects of the NBO on the care of preterm infants. Marina A. P. Guimarães, Claudia Regina L. Alves, Ana Amélia Cardoso, Lívia de C. Magalhães conducted another study to develop a cross-cultural adaptation for Brazilian-Portuguese of the Newborn Behavioral Observations (NBO), which involved a methodological study of the translation and cultural adaptation of the NBO system, which includes the Recording Form with 18 items, Recording Guidelines with instructions to score each item, the Summary Form to record suggestions based on the observation, and a Parent Questionnaire, to record the parents´ experiences. 

A brief review of 2015 by J. Kevin Nugent

A Year of “firsts”

While 2014 was a year of many “firsts” in our work with the NBO and NBAS - a year remembered as much for the friendships forged in Edinburgh and for Berry Brazelton's presence there, as for the ideas shared and collaborations planned, for our first trainings in China, Denmark and Iceland and for the launch of Joao Gomes-Pedro’s book, Valuing Baby and Family Passion, among other achievements. But I think you will agree - when we look back on the year that has just gone by - 2015 was a singularly unique year of “firsts”. We can’t claim that the Harvard NBO and NBAS International Trainers Meeting in 2015 was a “first” – actually it was the 30th anniversary of the first International Trainers meeting which took place in Berlin in 1985 – but it was a “first” in that it drew a whole new generation of trainers and aspiring trainers to Boston from across the globe, for the first time. So, I would now like to invite you to join me in reviewing the 2015 NBO and NBAS training and research activities and other related achievements throughout the year, beginning in January. 


The United Kingdom: Joanna Hawthorne and Betty Hutchon organized the first special UK Training of Trainers Meeting at the Møller Centre, Churchill College, at the University of Cambridge. I (JKN) joined the trainers, who included Jeanette Appleton, Libi Deller, Megan Eccleson, Melanie Gunning, Inge Nickell, Emily Hills, Stephanie Hunt, Lisa Hodge, Maureen Lancaster, Gui Marquine, Alison Pritchard, Maggie Wood and Maggie Redshaw. The emphasis was on quality control and the focus was on mentoring Trainers in order to maintain the highest standards in our NBAS and NBO training. That the National Health Service (NHS) England recommended NBAS and NBO training for all health visitors working with babies in the first 3 months of life is undoubtedly due to the indefatigable work of Joanna Hawthorne and Betty Hutchon and a testament to the dedication of the Trainers and administrative staff who make up the Brazelton Centre UK.


Brazil: The first NBO Training to take place in Brazil was presented at the Department of Pediatrics, Universidad Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte on March 27-28th, 2015. The trainers were Lise Johnson and Beth McManus, while the facilitators were Claudia Regina Lindgren Alves and Lívia C.Magalhães, who attended the Harvard Meeting. Claudia and Livia are conducting a study to examine the effects of the NBO on the parent-infant relationship among at-risk infants and their families.

Italy: The international conference “Mi fido di te – I TRUST YOU! ” – A tribute to T. Berry Brazelton was organized by Gherardo Rapisardi, NBAS trainer and long-time colleague and took place in Rome on March 13-14th. Seven to eight hundred health care and education professionals from all over Italy attended the conference. I was given the privilege of presenting the keynote address: “The Development of the Sense of Trust and the Gift of Hope: the contribution of T. Berry Brazelton”. Our colleague, NBAS Trainer, Nadia Bruschweiler-Stern spoke on “Supporting Early Relationships and the Birth of the Family”, while future NBO trainers Luca Migliaccio and Fabia Banella, part of the new generation who participated in our November meeting, each delivered inspiring presentations on their work with infants and families.

United States: In March, there was another NBO “first” in the United States. While NBO training has been an integral part of Kristie Brandt’s Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship Napa program for the past 10 years, the program is now affiliated with the University of California at Davis - the UC Davis Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship program - under Kristi’s direction. Connie Keefer and I made up the faculty for the training, which took place on March 29th at Napa, California.

Sweden: Kari Slinning was invited to speak at the 2015 Stockholm Conference on Ultra-early Intervention: Commonalities and differences of interventions; cost-benefit analyses; collaboration and partnership in patient and family-centred developmentally supportive care. Kari’s presentation was on the NBO and its uses with at-risk infants.


United States: Jessica Dym-Bartlett presented a paper on the NBO at the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) meeting in April. The paper entitled, “A Randomized Study of the Effects of a Short-Term Strengths-Based Newborn Intervention on Mother-Infant Interaction” was presented at the Biennial Meeting of SRCD in Philadelphia, USA.

Australia: NBO trainer Campbell Paul’s article, “Seeing Things Through My Eyes”: Understanding the Baby’s Perspective and Contribution to Psychodynamic Couple and Family Work”, was published in Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 5, 1, 1-5 (2015). The article, which was included in the November Meeting folder, focuses on the use of the NBO and on Esther Bick’s Infant Observations approach. “These two powerful training tools can be very helpful in developing the therapist’s capacity to effectively communicate with babies and parents”, he writes.


South Africa: The first NBO training to take place in Africa was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on May 11-12th, 2015, at the Ububele Parent-Infant Programme. The NBO training team consisted of Campbell Paul and Susan Nicolson. Ububele is an educational and psychotherapy trust providing training and services to improve the emotional development of children under 7 years. The program is directed by Katherine Frost and Tony Hamburger, who hosted the training. It was such a pleasure having Katherine and Niki Dawson join us for the Harvard meeting. They are planning to set up an NBO training site at Ububele.

United States: An Introduction to the NBO workshop was presented by Connie Keefer at the 26th Annual Partners in Perinatal Health Conference in Norwood, Massachusetts. 


Australia: Susan Nicolson conducted the first NBO training with Aboriginal workers in Northern Victoria, Australia, in June. (See the attached NBO Australia Newsletter for further information).

United Kingdom: An article by NBO practitioners, Amanda Holland and Dianne Watkins, based on an evaluation of the use of the NBO by Health Visitors in Wales, “Flying Start Health visitors: views of implementing the NBO: barriers and facilitating factors”, appeared in the UK published journal, Community Practitioner, 88, 4, 33-35. Results of their study revealed that a majority of practitioners felt that NBO implementation benefited parents and enhanced the parent-infant relationship. (This article was also included in the readings folder for the November Harvard meeting).


United States: The first NBO training with the Salish & Kootenai tribes, Montana, the United States, took place in August 2015. Constance Keefer and Yvette Blanchard conducted the training. The Flathead Indian Reservation is their home and of the approximately 7,753 enrolled tribal members, about 5,000 live on or near the reservation.

United Kingdom: An article by our colleague and Trainer, Deanna Gibbs, “Supporting the Parent-infant relationship: using the Neonatal Behavioral Observations in the Intensive Care Unit” was published in the Journal of the Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists, Volume 6, Number 1, 26-34, 2015. This paper highlights the impact of a NICU admission on parenting and explores how the NBO can be implemented by therapists to promote positive parent-infant interaction. (Deanna’s article was also included in the Harvard Meeting folder). An article by Pauline Lee and Catherine Mee, on the Tameside and Glossop Early Attachment Service, which appeared in Community Practitioner, August, 2015, describes how the NBAS and NBO are being used by Health Visitors, Midwives, Community Nursery Nurses, Social Workers and Early Years Workers to support the parent-infant attachment process in a comprehensive parent-infant mental health service based on a psychodynamic model. (This article also appeared in the November meeting folder). 

Hong Kong: Betty Hutchon offered training on the NBAS to the Hong Kong Occupational Therapy Association. 


United States, UK, Australia, Norway: The Zero to Three Journal, bestowed a significant “first” on us by featuring five original articles on the NBO in their September issue, the theme of which was Supporting Parents Through Relationship-based Interventions. The first featured article was “The Newborn Behavioral Observations (NBO) system as a form of intervention and support for new parents” (by JKN), while Beth McManus’s article was entitled, “Integrating the NBO into Care Settings for High-Risk Newborns”, and describes the uses of the NBO with at-risk infants. Joanna Hawthorne described how the NBO and NBAS came to be recommended by the National Health Visiting Service in the UK in her article on “Influencing health policy in the antenatal and postnatal period: the UK experience”. Susan Nicolson described their work with the NBO in Australia in “Let’s meet your baby as a person: From research to Preventive Perinatal Practice with the NBO”, while Kari Slinning and Unni Tranaas Vannebo’s article “The Training of Infant Mental Health Professionals: the Norway experience” was based on their experience with NBO training in Norway. (All these articles appeared in the NBONBASInternational November Meeting folder)

Norway: Gunn Kristin Øberg was certified as an NBAS trainer for Norway by Yvette Blanchard. Gunn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health and Care Sciences, at the University of Tromsø, The Arctic University of Norway. Yvette and Gunn’s article, Physical therapy with newborns and infants: applying concepts of phenomenology and synactive theory to guide interventions, was published in Physiotherapy, Theory and Practice, Early Online, 1-5, http://informahealthcare.com/ptp
United States: In the same month, Claudia Quigg and Ann Stadtler conducted the first NBO training at the Little Company of Mary Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. Participants included Baby TALK professionals, Touchpoints practitioners, Fussy Baby personnel and occupational/physical therapists among other personnel working with infants and families.

United Kingdom: Topun Austin, Addenbrookes, Cambridge and colleagues received a grant from the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation to carry out a study about nutrition and cognitive development in the UK and The Gambia, using the NBAS as a measure. The research with George Washington and Cambridge Universities, will select the most malnourished children and compare them with the best-nourished children to explore why the two groups differ despite the same environmental influences. Three researchers on the project received NBAS training from Joanna Hawthorne in Cambridge, England.


World Wide Web: I was invited to be the featured presenter on the first Zero to Three Author Spotlight Webinar and was asked to speak about our work with the NBO. I described the NBO, its content and uses and went on to summarise the content of all five Zero to Three Journal articles. This was followed by questions from the webinar participants.

Spain: A research paper on the NBAS written by our Barcelona colleagues, Alicia Alvarez-Garcia (who, as part of the new generation of trainers, joined us for the November meeting) and long-time NBAS Trainer Carme Costas and their colleagues, entitled, Neurobehavioral conditions and effects of gender, weight and severity in preterm infants according to the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale, was published in the Annals of Psychology, 31, 3 in 2015. The preterm group showed significantly lower scores than the control group on 2 of the 5 clusters, but preterm babies performed better in habituation to disturbing stimuli (light and sound) during sleep. In relation to the influence of sex, premature girls performed better in the Social-Interactive cluster.

United States: Beth McManus and her colleagues had their paper on Identifying infants and toddlers at high risk for persistent delays published in the Maternal Child Health Journal.

Australia: NBO practitioners, Patricia O’Rourke, Lynly Mader and Valerie Aylesbury presented their work at the Australian Marcé Society Meeting in Adelaide from Oct 22-24th. See the NBO Australia Newsletter for more details on the Australia - New Zealand training site activities in 2015.

United Kingdom: An article by Joanna Hawthorne, Learning to observe baby behaviour: Using the NBAS and NBO was published in the International Journal of Birth and Parent Education, London, Vol. 3, (1), 23-28.

Norway: NBAS and NBO Trainer, Inger-Pauline Landsem and her colleagues had their paper, Early intervention influences positively quality of life as reported by prematurely born children at age nine and their parents; a randomized clinical trial, published in Health and Quality of Life Ootcomes, 13, 25. The newborn component of the Tromsø Intervention Study on Preterms was based on the NBAS and the training was provided by NBAS Trainer Emeritus, Jean Cole. This early intervention appears to have generated long-lasting positive effects, improving perceived physical well-being among prematurely born children and parent’s perception of these children’s Quality of Life measures in middle childhood.


United States: The International NBO and NBAS Trainers Meeting, planned by Joanna Hawthorne, Lise Johnson, Beth McManus and myself, was held at Harvard Medical School from Nov 2nd-4th. Over sixty of you from twenty countries attended, many attending for the first time. I know you will agree that we were very fortunate to have had such a brilliant line-up of speakers, to have had Berry Brazelton with us, along with all the eminent long-time serving international Trainers such as Joao Gomes-Pedro, Joanna Hawthorne, Carme Costas, Betty Hutchon, Gherardo Rapisardi, Nittaya Kotchabkhakdi, Shohei Ohgi, Nadia Bruschweiler-Stern, Marie Fabre-Grenet, Yvette Blanchard and Connie Keefer.

But, as the focus is on “firsts”, I would now like to single out the welcome presence of all of you who were participating for the first time: Danielle Atkins from New Zealand, Claudia Regina Lindgren Alves and Livia Magalhaes from Brazil, Regina Elton from Chile, Sui Chen from China, Merethe Vinter from Denmark, Susanne Mudra from Germany, Stefania Arnardottir from Iceland, Luca Migliacco, Fabia Banella and Maria Luce Cioni from Italy, Yukiyo Nagai and Mariko Iwayama from Japan, Alexis Reyes and Rita Vallodolid from the Philippines, Ana-Teresa Brito and Rita Silveira Machado from Portugal, Katherine Frost and Nicky Dawson from South Africa, Alicia Alvarez-Garcia from Spain, Laetitia Chansel from Switzerland, Pat Rojmahamongkol and Pornchanok Wantanakorn from Thailand and Karen Fehringer, Nancy Deacon and Nina Burtchen from the United States. Thank you for honouring us with your presence and for sharing your ideas with us!  For others of you, this was a “second time” as you had attended the Edinburgh meeting and this number included Hu Li, Eiko Saito, Kari Slinning, Campbell Paul, Lise Johnson, Kristie Brandt, Unni Tranaas Vannebo, Inger-Pauline Landsem, Susan Nicolson, Eileen Hayes, Ann Stadtler, Jeanette Appleton, Inge Nickell, Emily Hills, Deanna Gibbs, Jayne Singer, Claudia Quigg, Guillermina Marquine, Rita Al Minwayi and Gaylen Plant.

The organizing committee, which included Joanna Hawthorne, Lise Johnson, Beth McManus and myself, would like to take this opportunity to offer a special word of public thanks to our colleagues who worked behind the scenes to make the November meeting such a success: Ann Stadtler, Mai Nguyen, Gaylen Plant, Aditi Subramaniam, Alisa Serraton and Allison Duarte.

Switzerland: Kari Slinning and I presented the first NBO training in Switzerland at the University of Bern on Nov 19-20th. The training included nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, physiotherapists and infant specialists from all over Switzerland. The very successful training was hosted and organized by Professor Eva Cignacco Mülller and Natascha Schütz Hämmerli and Nadia Bruschweiler-Stern also participated.

Ireland: I was invited to testify on Infant Mental Health before the National Parliament of Ireland (Oireachtas) Joint Committee on Health and Children, Government Buildings, Leinster House, Dublin, and took the opportunity to speak of the value of the NBO as a form of parent-infant mental health promotion. I also presented the keynote address to the Psychological Society of Ireland Annual Meeting in Galway, Towards science-based interventions in the first years of life: Supporting infant-parent mental health and gave an introductory workshop on the NBO in Dublin. The meeting was hosted by the Psychological Society of Ireland, under the Presidency of Paul D’Alton in partnership with the Irish Association for Infant Mental Health, under the leadership of Catherine Maguire. Plans are in place to present NBO training in Ireland in 2016.

Hong Kong: Campbell Paul presented a workshop on the NBO at the inaugural meeting of the Hong Kong Association for Infant Mental Health.

United Kingdom: The Brazelton Centre UK was invited to train 250 health visitors in Cambridgeshire, UK in the NBO. Another request for NBO training came from Derbyshire where all health visitors will be trained over the next few years.

United States: Two articles by Beth McManus and colleagues appeared this month. Rural/Urban differences in therapy service use among Medicaid children with developmental conditions, ages 0-3, in Colorado, was published in Acta Pediatrica, while, Which Children Are Not Getting Their Needs for Therapy or Mobility Aids Met? Data From the 2009-2010 National Survey of Children With Special Health Care Needs, was published in Physical Therapy in the same month.


United States: “Using The Newborn Behavior Observation (NBO) In An Urban Early Intervention Program With At-Risk Infants” by Gaylen Plant and Aditi Subramaniam was presented at the ZERO TO THREE's 30th National Training Institute (NTI) in Seattle, Washington, December 2-4, 2015. 

Egypt: Joanna Hawthorne was a keynote speaker at the 6th annual Infant Psychiatry Conference, INFANT PSYCHIATRY: From Prevention to Early Intervention, held in Cairo. Her talks were entitled: 'Listening to the Baby's voice: Infant mental health in practice' and 'Influencing health policy in the UK'. NBAS/NBO trainer Rita Al-Minyawi gave a talk entitled: 'Using the NBAS in the Neonatal Unit'. The next day, both Joanna and Rita held a day's workshop attended by 60 practitioners entitled: 'Understanding and supporting parent-baby relationships'.

Australia: Eight NBO training workshops were held in Australia this year. At the end of the year, Susan Nicolson and Campbell Paul published the NBO Australia newsletter, which I am including here. It is a very impressive publication and I am very happy to share it with you as this year of “firsts” comes to an end.

Other significant 2015 events – not “firsts” - but equally notable!

Australia, Belgium, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Spain, UK & USA: NBO and NBAS Training took place across many NBAS and NBO sites in 2015, which may not have been “firsts” but are equally significant in terms of fulfilling our mission to provide training to researchers and clinicians around the world.

USA: In the United States, NBO and NBAS trainings were conducted at Boston Children’s Hospital as part of our on-going series of offerings at the Brazelton Institute. During the year, we also provided NBO training to three key Infant Mental Health Fellowship programs. In March, we provided training to Kristie Brandt’s Napa UC Davis Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship program, as described above, and in the same month, NBO training was presented by Connie Keefer and Kevin Nugent to Ed Tronick’s Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship program at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Then in September Connie Keefer and Kevin Nugent presented NBO training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Infant Mental Health Fellowship. Participants included Fellows in the University of Wisconsin Infant, Early Childhood and Family Mental Health Capstone Certificate Program and practitioners from many of the Home Visiting Programs in Wisconsin. The training was coordinated by Drs. Roseanne Clark and Linda Tuchmann.

In December, Beth McManus and I received a research grant from the Noonan Family Foundation to test the effectiveness of the NBO as a model of care in a large sample of infants served by Early Intervention programs for infants with developmental disabilities or delays in the State of Massachusetts. The purpose of the study is to determine the effects of the NBO on infant cognitive and social-emotional function and maternal depression. Trainer Yvette Blanchard is a consultant on the grant and Trainer Jayne Singer will be involved in the training of the EI practitioners.

Looking forward to 2016

As we welcome the New Year, I look forward to meeting you in Prague in May, as many of you are presenting symposia and papers at the World Association for Infant Mental Health meeting. In the meantime, we will try to set up a Trainers meeting for even a half day, either before or after the meeting proper. By that time, too, NBO NBAS International will have a more significant and more accessible presence on-line, so that we can communicate and plan for this event together.
As for a new year’s wish or set of wishes for NBO NBAS International, it is my sincere hope that we can
  • Continue to reflect on and refine our theoretical model
  • Further develop our approach to mentoring and training
  • Use on-line technology more effectively as part of our training
  • Commit ourselves to generating more research to support evidence-based practice
  • Promote more research with the NBAS and the NBO
  • Aspire towards consolidating our NBO NBAS International network.

I feel very honoured to be working with you and to be able to call you my colleagues and I look forward to continuing our work together as we move into the future.