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headshot, Dr. J. Kevin Nugent
October 7, 2019

Acton, MA – Discovery Museum is pleased to welcome to its Board of Directors J. Kevin Nugent, Ph.D.

Dr. Nugent is Founder and Director of the Brazelton Institute in the Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. He is also Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; and Lecturer in Psychology at Harvard Medical School. He has worked at Boston Children’s Hospital since 1978, teaching and conducting research on newborn behavior and early parent-infant relations.

Dr. Nugent is the author of Your Baby is Speaking to You: A Visual Guide to the Amazing Behaviors of Your Newborn and Growing Baby, the highly acclaimed, top-ten bestselling book for parents. He has also authored or co-authored 10 books (20 including translations), and has written 22 book chapters and almost 100 scientific papers.

Dr. Nugent and his colleagues, Drs. Keefer, O’Brien, Johnson, and Blanchard, developed the Newborn Behavioral Observations (NBO) system, a relationship-building clinical tool intended for use by clinicians in pediatric and intervention settings, as a way of sensitizing parents to the competencies and individuality of their infants.

His areas of research include the effects of a range of prenatal teratogens on neonatal and developmental outcome, the transition to parenthood, the role of fathers, temperament, and the use of the NBO in early intervention. Dr. Nugent continues to conduct research in a variety of cultural settings.

Dr. Nugent is also co-author with Dr. T. Berry Brazelton of the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS), and has been the director of training on the NBAS since 1978. The NBAS manual has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian, Korean and Japanese. He coordinates NBO and NBAS training worldwide.

Born in Mullingar, Ireland, Dr. Nugent and was educated at St. Finian’s College, Mullingar, and later at St. Columban’s College, Navan. He worked in the Philippines for six years before coming to Boston, where he received a degree in Philosophy (summa cum laude) and his doctorate in Developmental Psychology from Boston College.

Dr. Nugent served as an advisor to the Museum on its development of the Brain Building Together gallery for 0-to-3 year olds and their parents and caregivers, based on the science behind early brain development. He was also featured in the Discovery Museum Speaker Series in 2013, when he presented, “The Language of Babies.”

“Kevin has advised and supported the Museum in an impactful way for many years now,” said Bill Ryan, Board Chair. “We are thrilled to take the next step and welcome him to the Board. His contribution will be foundational as we continue our work to support families and make a powerful impact on the next generation of children and families in our region.”

Dr. Nugent and his wife Una, a teacher in the Acton public schools, have lived in Acton since 1986 and were frequent visitors to the Discovery Museum with their two children.