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Professor Mark Tomlinson is the co-Director of the Institute of Child and Adolescent Health Research at Sellenbosch University. His scholarly work has involved a diverse range of topics that have in common an interest in factors that contribute to compromised maternal health, to understanding infant and child development in contexts of high adversity, to understand the impact of maternal depression on infant and child health and development, and how to develop community based home visiting intervention programmes. He was elected as a member of the Academy of Science in South Africa in 2017. He has published over 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals, edited two books and published numerous chapters. He is the lead editor of Child and Adolescent Development: An Expanded Focus for Public Health in Africa from University of Cape Town Press. He is on the Editorial Board of PLoS Medicine; is an Associate Editor of Infant Mental Health Journal, and is also on the Editorial Board of Psychology, Health and Medicine.

1-004 - “It’s more complicated than that”. Child Development Across the Life-course in High Adversity Settings

Thu, March 21, 9:30 to 11:00am, Baltimore Convention Center, Floor: Level 3, Room 310

Session Type: Invited Address

Integrative Statement

Unlocking human potential depends on sensitive parental care that is responsive to the needs of children. In contexts of high adversity, the capacity of parents to provide the kind of care that promotes positive child developmental outcomes can be severely compromised. Even though early interventions can have direct or indirect long-term consequences, high levels of developmental risk can overwhelm the effects of normally protective influences, which provide potential explanations for early intervention gains fading in high-risk populations. In this presentation I will discuss findings from a number of longitudinal studies (one across 18 years), conducted in South Africa and Lesotho in order to highlight the complexities of delivering interventions in contexts of adversity, and to draw attention to gaps in our knowledge about mechanism, dose, timing and duration of interventions to ensure that children and adolescents in low and middle income countries are able to meet their developmental potential.

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