School of Medicine

Child Development and Family Study

The Child Development and Family Study has been an important part of the University of Auckland’s second and third year medical students’ experience for many years now. This study is the first and only time that students get the chance to be involved in an ongoing study that is community based.

Second and third year medical students get a chance to learn about early growth and development, and to see how having a baby impacts on the life of a family. Not many medical students have children of their own. Many do not even have younger brothers or sisters. This can be their first chance to watch a baby grow up and is a very special opportunity. Families that take part are helping our future doctors gain knowledge and skills that will be important later in their medical careers and in life in general. It is also a chance to remind students early on in their training of the importance of children, families, and child health.

Students also learn more generic skills such as communication and punctuality. Where possible a pair of students meets with the pregnant mother and lead maternity caregiver at an antenatal visit. Some students are invited to the delivery, but this depends entirely on the wishes of the family and their lead maternity caregiver. Students are then expected to visit at least seven times over the next 12 to 18 months. The visits are arranged by the students at times that suit the family. At each visit the student hears about the health and progress of the baby, and gets a chance to see the baby and perhaps play with him or her. The students keep a log book of the child’s progress, and health or illness.

The students who have done this project in the past have found it really enjoyable and helpful.

If you would like to find out more and maybe take part, please contact Michelle Carvalho. We would love to hear from you.