Profile on Staff Members (Management & Team)

Maureen Samms-Vaughan – Principal Investigator

Maureen is known locally, regionally and internationally for her seminal research, clinical work and policy development in the field of child health, child development and behaviour. She is also recognised as an advocate for the well-being of all children, but particularly so for those at the early childhood level and those with disabilities.

She has served in a number of academic and administrative positions at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and was appointed UWI's first Professor of Child Health, Child Development and Behaviour in 2006. She has been Consultant Developmental and Behavioural Paediatrician at UHWI and Director of the weekly Child and Family Clinic for children with developmental and behavioural disorders since 1993. She has taught at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels throughout the UWI and has supervised doctoral students at the UWI and at several universities in the USA in child development research. She has Adjunct Professorial status at universities in the USA.

She was appointed the first Chairman of the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), a body established by the Government of Jamaica to develop the country’s early childhood sector in 2003. Under her leadership, the ECC has developed and implemented Jamaica's first cross-sectoral National Strategic Plan for Early Childhood Development (ECD), addressing parenting, well-child care and nutrition, screening and early intervention, regulation of early childhood institutions, training of EC practitioners, co-ordinated sector-wide planning and budgeting and monitoring and evaluation of child development.  She has also guided the ECC in the development of Jamaica's National Parenting Policy and is in the process of guiding the development of Jamaica's ECD Policy.

As a developmental and behavioural paediatrician, Maureen manages children with autism, ADHD and developmental disabilities of childhood. She has recently completed research on the aetiology of autism as a collaborator on an NIH grant. This research investigated the association with blood levels of heavy metals with a diagnosis of autism.

Maureen and her husband, Kenneth, have 3 children, Stephanie, Nicholas and Kristina.