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Dr Fiona Mensah
Dr Mensah began working in children's development over the period of 2005-2009 within the department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York, UK.
Together with Professor Kathleen Kiernan and Professor John Hobcraft she worked on examining the relationships between children's development, and strengths and adversities in their family environment. This research examined the influences of socioeconomic resources and poverty, family social capital and support, parental care and investment in development, and parental health and mental health. This work was focused on the British Birth Cohort Studies, primarily the Millennium Cohort Study. Through this research Dr Mensah was awarded her PhD in 2011.
Since 2010 Dr Mensah has been working at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital and Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, based within the Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit (CEBU). Dr Mensah works with the Murdoch Childrens Population Health theme groups: Language and Literacy, Community Health Services Research, Healthy Mothers Healthy Families, and Policy Equity and Translation. She advises on study design, analysis, presentation and publication and has a role in research training and capacity building.
Dr Mensah collaborates with academic research groups across Melbourne including The University of Melbourne and Deakin University, and internationally including the UK Universities of Newcastle, Warwick and York. Dr Mensah works collaboratively with a broad network of community health care organisations and government departments in study implementation and knowledge translation. Dr Mensah is a member of The International Network for Research on Inequalities in Child Health (INRICH).
- Honorary Research Affiliate, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne
- British Educational Research Journal prize for paper of the year. Kiernan K.E., Mensah F.K. (2011) Poverty, Family Resources and Children's Early Educational Attainment: The Mediating Role of Parenting . British Educational Research Journal 37(2), 317-336.
- NHMRC Early Career Fellowship: Developing and applying quantitative methods for obtaining new insights into children's health inequalities from longitudinal cohort studies (Awarded 2011). Supervisor – John Carlin. Advisory group: Sheena Reilly, Melissa Wake, Jan Nicholson
Dr Mensah's research is about understanding children's development from early life through to adolescence. She uses longitudinal cohort studies to examine children's health and developmental pathways over this time and how these may be influenced by their experiences and the family and community environments around them.
Her research considers how family and community strengths, vulnerabilities and resilience may affect children's development, looking at many aspects of children's health and development including language and cognitive development, socio-emotional well being, mental health and behaviour, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and obesity.
This research is used to inform studies of programs to promote family well being and children's health and development. Dr Mensah is working on community based trials including right@home which evaluates sustained home nurse visiting during pregnancy and early childhood; and Bridging the Gap which aims to improve the quality of maternity and early childhood health care for families of refugee background.
- Centre of Research Excellence in Child Language
- Early Language in Victoria Study (ELVS) and Follow-up Studies
- Longitudinal Study of Australian Children's Child Health CheckPoint
- Maternal Health Study
- Bridging the Gap
Wake M., Clifford S., York E., Mensah F., Gold L., Burgner D., Davies S., and the Child Health CheckPoint Team (2014) Introducing Growing Up in Australia's Child Health CheckPoint A physical health and biomarkers module for the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children Family Matters. 94 (15): 15-23
Woolhouse, H., Gartland, D., Mensah, F.K., Brown, S. (2014) Maternal mental health from early pregnancy to four years after a first birth: implications for primary health care British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology: Issues in Perinatal Care . DOI: 10.1111/1471-0528.12837
Hiscock, H., Cook, F. Bayer, J., Le, H.N.D., Mensah, F.K., Cann, W., Symon, B., St-James Roberts, I. (2014) Preventing Early Infant Sleep and Crying Problems and Postnatal Depression: A Randomized Trial Pediatrics 133:2 e346-e354; doi:10.1542/peds.2013-1886
Jansen, P.W., Mensah, F.K., Nicholson, J.M., Wake, M. (2013) Family and neighbourhood socioeconomic inequalities in childhood trajectories of BMI and overweight: Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Plos One 8(7): e69676. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069676
Mensah, F.K., Bayer, J.K., Wake, M., Carlin, J.B., Allen, N.B., & Patton, G.C. (2013) Early puberty and childhood social and behavioral adjustment. Journal of Adolescent Health. 53 (1) 118-124
Westrupp, E. M., Mensah, F. K., Giallo, R., Cooklin, A. & Nicholson, J. M. (2012) Mental Health in Low-to-Moderate Risk Preterm, Low Birth Weight, and Small for Gestational Age Children at 4 to 5 Years: The Role of Early Maternal Parenting, Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 51(3) 313-323
Kiernan KE, Mensah FK. (2011) Poverty, Family Resources and Children's Early Educational Attainment: The Mediating Role of Parenting . British Educational Research Journal 37(2), 317-336
Mensah FK, Kiernan KE. (2011) Maternal general health and children's cognitive development and behaviour in the early years: findings from the Millennium Cohort Study, Child: Care, Health and Development 37(1), 44-54
Mensah FK, Kiernan KE. (2010) Gender differences in educational attainment: influences of the family environment. British Educational Research Journal 36(2), 239-260
Mensah FK, Kiernan KE. (2010) Parents' mental health and children's cognitive and social development. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 45, 1023-1035