About us

“It is time to think about the competence and the excitement that a newborn brings to his or her parents and to prepare parents for understanding their baby’s individuality at birth.”

- Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, Emeritus Paediatrician, Harvard Medical School

Brazelton Centre UK

The Brazelton Centre in Great Britain (in 2015 the Brazelton Centre UK) was launched on the 23rd June, 1997 by Dr. Berry Brazelton and Professor Kevin Nugent, Director of the Brazelton Institute, Boston at a Conference at Addenbrookes’ Hospital, Cambridge. The opportunity to set up a Brazelton Centre in the UK was made possible by Johnson and Johnson, who had funded an International NBAS Trainers’ meeting in Brussels in 1995 led by Professor Nugent.

Study Days and Conferences took place in the UK in order to disseminate information about using the NBAS in clinical work and in research, and the number of NBAS courses requested continued to grow. In March, 2004, the Johnson and Johnson Pediatric Institute supported an international conference in London, ‘Enriching early parent-infant relationships’. In 2007 and in 2012, Dr. Brazelton and Dr. Joshua Sparrow were keynote speakers at a conference held at King’s College, Cambridge, and a Symposium at the Royal Society of Medicine in London, introducing the theory and concepts of the Touchpoints model. Members of the Brazelton Centre took NBO training in Boston in 2007, and in 2009 invited Professor Nugent to launch the NBO training programme in the UK.

In 2009, the NBAS was recommended in the Healthy Child Programme, and both the NBAS and the NBO are recommended in the National Health Visiting Service Specification 2014/2015, NHS England. Increasing numbers of practitioners in the UK are trained in the NBAS or NBO or both. The NBO is usually used at the new birth visit by health visitors, but many practitioners use these tools in the first 3 months of life to support parents in reading their baby’s behavioural cues.


Our Founder Dr. T. Berry Brazelton


The Brazelton Centre UK is founded upon the pioneering work of T. Berry Brazelton, MD, Professor of Pediatrics Emeritus at Harvard Medical School, and one of the most influential scientists, clinicians, and advocates in pediatrics and child development of the twentieth century.

Author of over 200 scholarly papers, he has written over 30 books on pediatrics, child development and parenting, including Infants and Mothers and the bestselling Touchpoints series.

Dr. Brazelton’s keen insights and observations contributed entirely new understandings of newborns—their behavior, their temperament, their interactions with family and other caregivers—and new awareness of the complexity and reciprocal influences of human development. Dr. Brazelton’s findings and ideas, many of which are now fully integrated into mainstream research and practice, were ahead of their time and faced considerable opposition from the medical establishment of the early 1950s.

In describing Brazelton’s work as a paradigm shift analogous to the Copernican revolution, noted psychologist Dr. Barry Lester wrote in Nurturing Children and Families: Building on the Legacy of T. Berry Brazelton, “T. Berry Brazelton put the baby at the center of the universe of the science of child development, and revolutionized how we think about, understand and study children.”

In 1950, Brazelton began a private pediatrics practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts and became interested in understanding children beyond pathology and disease. He began conducting research with parents and babies with the goal of achieving a better understanding of infants’ behavioral and developmental progression. In 1972, Brazelton established the Child Development Unit (CDU), a pediatric training and research center at Boston Children’s Hospital. Now a division in the Department of Medicine (Division of Developmental Medicine), the CDU offered doctors the opportunity to conduct research on child development and train for clinical work with parents and children. In 1973, he published his Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS), used worldwide in research and in clinical interventions to facilitate parent-infant understanding and interactions. The NBAS has inspired numerous infant assessment tools and hundreds of research publications.

Dr. Brazelton has been honored with numerous distinguished awards, including in recent years:

  • Living Legend, Library of Congress 200th Anniversary
  • René Spitz Award for Lifetime Contributions to Infant Mental Health, World Association for Infant Mental Health, Amsterdam
  • Cardinal Health Children’s Care Hannah Neil World of Children Award, World of Children, Inc. New Albany, OH. for significant lifetime contribution to the health and well-being of children
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine, Boston
  • Humanitarian of the Year Award, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Boston
  • Edna Reiss-Sophie Greenberg Chair, Recognizing Outstanding Professionals in the Field of Child/Adolescent Mental Health
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Zero to Three
  • Distinguished Contributions to the Lives of Children Award, Society for Research in Child Development
  • White House Champion of Change

Over the years, Dr. Brazelton was able to take his scientific findings, and those of his colleagues, and help parlay them into dramatic, nationwide changes in practice, service delivery, and policy.
In 2013, on the eve of his 95th birthday, Dr. Brazelton received the Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second highest civilian honour.


Committee members

  • Madeleine Cassidy
    Chief Executive
  • Joanna Hawthorne
    Co-founder and Master Trainer
  • Betty Hutchon
    Co-founder and Master Trainer
  • Emily Savage-McGlynn
    Research Adviser

Office members

  • Tiffany Kerr
    Office Administrator
  • Kim Benn
    BA (Hons) Midwifery, NBO Evaluator
  • Susana Nicolau
    Research and Development Coordinator
  • Sarah Lam
    Communication and Engagement Coordinator

Trustees

  • Eileen Hayes, MBE
    MSc, Independent Parenting Adviser, Chair of the Trustees
  • Mark Hodgson
    Audit Director, Ernst & Young
  • Kathryn Hollins
    Consultant Psychiatrist & Psychotherapist: pregnancy, parenthood & early years
  • Susan Pawlby
    Clinical and Developmental Psychologist, Visiting Appointment held at King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Maggie Redshaw
    Developmental and Health Psychologist, Co-founder
  • Rodney Rivers
    Medical Doctor (retired), Past President, BLISS
  • Victoria Whelan
    Partner, Advisory Services, Ernst & Young

Patrons

  • Lesley Page, CBE
    Visiting Professor of Midwifery KCL, Adjunct Professor UTS and Griffith University Australia, Past President of the Royal College of Midwives
  • Topun Austin
    Consultant Neonatologist, Rosie Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals

Picture of Trustees

UK Trainers’ Meeting – January, 2015

(Front Row - Left to Right) Megan Eccleson, Inge Nickell, Kevin Nugent (Director, Brazelton Institute, Boston), Jeanette Appleton, Libi Deller, Gui Marquine, Melanie Gunning, Betty Hutchon.
(Back Row - Left to Right) Joanna Hawthorne, Christine Bartram (researcher), Alison Pritchard, Emily Hills, Maggie Wood, Maureen Lancaster, Lisa Hodge, Maggie Redshaw