This month, we warmly welcome another member to the SalfordFASD research team – Ruth Morrello!
Ruth is a community midwife who works in central Manchester who has recently carried out a Masters in Public Health at the University of Salford. As a midwife, a large part of her role involves giving health advice to pregnant women to optimise maternal and infant wellbeing. As part of her Masters, she was keen to take up the opportunity to research the prevention of FASD, as she felt that was a key activity for a midwife to be involved in. As part of her master’s dissertation, Ruth worked with the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership to evaluate their ‘Reducing Alcohol Exposed Pregnancy (AEP) Programme’ on midwifery practice. The preventing AEP programme was a suite of activities that had been trialled in two NHS Foundation Trust geographic areas. Ruth’s research explored the effect of the programme on midwifery practice in the intervention areas.
As we enter February, it is slightly late to post reviews of the previous year. However, it was an eventful year, and we feel that it is worth reflecting on some of the achievements. We have made significant progress as a research team over the last year. There are several things to be proud of:
Recently, the SalfordFASD research team received very exciting news: an additional professor has been added to our research team.
Dr Raja Mukherjee (now professor!) was conferred with an Honorary Professorship from the University of Salford. Professor Penny Cook says:
“The University of Salford has awarded Raja Mukherjee Honorary Professor because of his massive contribution to our FASD research at the University of Salford, and because he is a giant in the field of FASD. Thank you for all your hard work, Professor Mukherjee!”
Professor Mukherjee is a consultant psychiatrist with interest in the management of developmental disorders across the lifespan. He is is one of the pioneers of the SalfordFASD research team. Prof. Mukherjee has acted as an advisor to the British Medical Association Board of Science, the Department of Health and the World Health Organisation on the subject of FASD.
Professor Mukherjee and the team at Salford have together produced three book chapters and more than six peer reviewed publications. We have successfully acquired three research grants and have completed two major projects. Professor Mukherjee has also helped supervise Salford PhD students. This has been a highly productive collaboration, and the Honorary Professor position is in recognition of this.
It is with great pleasure that we announce the enlargement of the FASDSalford research team. Cutting across all disciplines and levels of study, our research team is growing bigger with the addition of new members. This month, we are excited to warmly welcome Nicola Hickman.
Nicola Hickman is an Undergraduate student within the School of Health and Society at the University of Salford. Nicola’s previous experience of supporting primary school children with Special Educational Needs within mainstream education has provided her with the opportunity to gain understanding of the difficulties in cognitive functioning that children face daily. Her passion for wanting to raise awareness about cognitive issues in children has motivated her to become a mature student in higher education.
Last month (September, 2021) was filled with activity here at the SalfordFASD research team, as we remain passionate to always talk about fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). We had our much anticipated prevalence study published which attracted significant media attention, the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care published a Needs Assessment report for FASD which mentioned our research, and we donned our FASD T-shirts to celebrate FASD awareness day! Media organisations such as the BBC and other local media outlets published interesting stories and it was heartwarming to realise the positive attention our research is creating. You can hear Penny Cook’s interview here; Robyn McCarthy’s podcast can also be accessed here, while Alan Price participated in a panel of discussion.
Every year around the world, in the month of September, people, organisations, and communities gather to celebrate the world awareness month for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). FASD describes a condition that is associated with the drinking of alcohol during pregnancy. The alcohol can damage the unborn baby’s brain, and sometimes lead to behavioural problems in the affected child. The damage can also cause a range of physical health problems.
Although FASD is more common than Downs syndrome or Autism, it is widely under-recognised and under-diagnosed. See more about our research on the prevalence of FASD here.
FASD is usually described as an ‘invisible disability’. This means that for many people with FASD, their disability is not recognised in society because they appear normal and talk normally. However, people with FASD often experience difficulties in everyday functioning because of their FASD. This means that in schools and workplaces, people with FASD may go unnoticed, and their difficulties may be blamed on a ‘bad attitude’ or ‘bad behaviour’. Some of the outcomes of FASD in children include poor academic performance, poor social behaviours, and constant encounters with the police. See more about our research on FASD and the criminal justice system here.
FASD awareness day began in September 1999 and has been used as an opportunity to create awareness about FASD and inform people about the dangers of drinking alcohol in pregnancy. The choice of the ninth day of the ninth month signifies the nine months of pregnancy. Different organisations and communities in different parts of the world organise presentations, dances, walks, runs and different activities to create awareness about FASD.
Therefore, this year we, the University of Salford FASD research team will join forces with individuals, communities and organisations around the world to create awareness about FASD.
Please get in touch if you wish to know more about FASD: FASD21@salford.ac.uk