PODCAST Episode 1: How NICU Babies Communicate

Heidelise Als, PhD, talks about the behavioral language of infants in the NICU, and about the ways infant behavior shapes caregiving during hospitalization.

Heidelise Als, PhD, Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Senior Associate in Psychiatry, and Director of Neurobehavioral Infant and Child Studies, Boston Children’s Hospital Boston, Boston Massachusetts, and Research Associate in Newborn Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Als is a clinician and researcher, who is concerned with the neurodevelopment of fullterm, high risk and preterm newborns, as well as the effect of environment and care and the parents’ role on brain development. Her goal is to improve the future for all newborns and especially those born early and/or with special challenges requiring intensive medical care.

Dr. Als is the originator of the Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP) and the director of the first NICU based program dedicated to training and implementing this approach, established in 1982, the National NIDCAP Training Center, based at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is the founder of the NIDCAP Federation International (NFI), a charitable organization with the mission to assure NIDCAP care for all newborns and families world-wide. Her research has documented significant improvement in the health and neurodevelopment of preterm infants, who receive NIDCAP care compared to those, cared for in traditional ways. Her work has changed the training and education of staff as well as the design of and care delivered in NICUs in the US and globally.