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J. Kevin Nugent, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. NugentDr. J. Kevin Nugent is the Founder and Director of the Brazelton Institute in the Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital and is on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School. He is also Emeritus Professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has been on the faculty there since 1986.

Dr. Nugent was educated in Ireland and received his doctorate in Developmental Psychology from Boston College. He has worked at the Children's Hospital in Boston since 1978, conducting research on newborn behavior and early parent-infant relations. Dr. Nugent is co-author with Dr. Brazelton, of the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale, third and fourth editions (1995 and 2011), published by Mac Keith Press, London and has been the director of training on the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale since 1978. He and his colleagues, Drs. Keefer, O'Brien, Johnson and Blanchard, developed the Newborn Behavioral Observations (NBO) system, which was published by Brookes in 2007. This observational set is intended for use by clinicians in pediatric and intervention settings, as a way of sensitizing parents to the competencies and individuality of their infants. It is comprised of 18 neurobehavioral observations and is based on an individualized, infant-focused, family-centered approach to working with infants and families in the early months of life.

Dr. Nugent's areas of research include the effects of a range of prenatal teratogens on neonatal and developmental outcome, the impact of melatonin on newborn behavior, the transition to parenthood and the role of fathers. He is involved in a study of the origins of temperament, with Jerome Kagan and Nancy Snidman. Dr. Nugent continues to conduct research in a variety of cultural settings. He is co-investigator with Professor Sheila Greene at Trinity College, Dublin, in a 20-year longitudinal study of child development in Ireland. Dr. Nugent is currently engaged in an examination of the effects of the NBO as a form of preventative intervention in both hospital and Early Intervention settings. Dr. Nugent is the editor of Ab Initio, the international newsletter of the Brazelton Institute. Dr. Nugent is a senior editor of the two-volume series, "The Cultural Context of Infancy" and co-editor with Joao Gomes-Pedro, Berry Brazelton and Jerry Young, of "The Baby in the 21st Century" (2002). Shortly after the NBO Handbook was published, along with Bonnie Petrauskas and Berry Brazelton, Dr. Nugent edited "The Newborn as a Person: enabling healthy infant development worldwide", which is published by Wiley and describes newborn research and practice in settings across the globe (2009). In 2011, with photographer Abelardo Morell, Dr. Nugent wrote "Your Baby is speaking to You: A Visual Guide to the Amazing Behaviors of Your Newborn and Growing Baby", a book for new parents, published by Houghton Mifflin and designed to help parents interpret their baby's communication cues.

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