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FPG Lecture Series Welcomes Dr. Asia Maselko

young boy with children in background

Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute is pleased to welcome Dr. Joanna “Asia” Maselko as the third speaker in our 2018-2019 lecture series Child Development in a Global Context.

Maternal Mental Health, the Social Context, and Child Development: The Promise and Limitations of Maternal Depression Treatment

Maternal depression is an established risk factor for worse child developmental outcomes, yet it is not clear whether treating depression is enough to improve developmental trajectories. The Bachpan (‘childhood’ in Urdu) cohort was established to rigorously examine the impact of maternal depression, and its treatment, on children living in a rural, low-resource setting in Pakistan. In this talk I will present key initial findings about the impact of the intervention on child outcomes, potential biological mechanisms, and the role of the social and family context in child development in the first two years of life.

Dr. Joanna “Asia” Maselko is a social and psychiatric epidemiologist at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She studies the mechanisms through which the social environment shapes the risk for common mental disorders. Anchored in a life-course framework, a large portion of her research focuses on the intergenerational transmission of risk and the role of the environment in altering socioemotional developmental trajectories in children. Dr. Maselko currently is the Principal Investigator of the SHARE CHILD study, a cluster RCT set in rural Pakistan, which investigates mechanisms through which maternal depression impacts early child development. The study also examines the role of social contextual factors such as socioeconomic status, family composition, and parenting. In another research project in Sri Lanka, Dr. Maselko studies caregiving provided by grandparents and its impact on the health of both grandparent and grandchild.

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