Researchers at the University of Rhode Island’s School of Nursing, who have been studying infant brain and child development, are featured in a new documentary entitled “Baby Talk: Unlocking the Secrets of the Baby Brain.” Set to air Nov. 14th on WSBE-TV Rhode Island PBS, the documentary looks at the research conducted by Mary Sullivan, Interim Dean of URI’s College of Nursing, and Judith Mercer, URI Clinical Nursing Professor Emerita.
With $7 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health, Sullivan and her team have studied premature infants for more than two decades at Women & Infants Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. The team also includes Margaret McGrath, URI nursing professor emerita, and Suzy Winchester, the project’s manager for 17 years. Findings from the research show that the delays premature infants can experience in their physical, academic and social development can be offset by supportive, nurturing environments and guardians.
Mercer’s research has shown that delayed clamping of umbilical cords in pre-term babies results in health benefits for the child. A current, second study, funded with $2.4 million form the NIH, is looking at the impact of delayed clamping on full-term babies.
The documentary was co-produced by URI’s New Media, Department of Marketing and Communications and Rosewood Productions. It is the first in a new collaboration between URI and WSBE, which will highlight research projects at the university.