In Conversation with Dorothy Forde, a PTBi Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Dorothy Forde is an alumn of PTBi Transdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellowship in Preterm Birth with work focusing on the impact of Kangaroo Care. Read Dr. Forde's most recent publication Oxidative Stress Biomarker Decreased in Preterm Neonates Treated With Kangaroo Mother Care

Dorothy recently became the Associate Professor of Maternal/Child Nursing at the Department of Nursing at Oakwood University. Many congratulations, Dorothy!

What drew you to working with PTBi?

As a neonatal nurse, transport nurse and clinical educator in the NICU over the past 30 years, I was attracted to PTBi because of their work decreasing preterm birth rates in Black and Brown communities. I was just excited to think there were researchers and community advocates working together to understand how maternal stress and institutional racism impact preterm birth rates overall but particularly in Black and Brown communities. It was astounding to me that the focus was on those that were underserved in our community. 

What is the biggest lesson you've learned from your time with PTBi?

As researchers, we should include patients, doulas, lactation specialists, doctors, and community partners in community participatory research in order to have the greatest impact on our goal of decreasing preterm birth.

What was the most exciting thing that happened to you during your time with PTBi?

Working with the community was the most exciting thing as well as meeting the parents of preterm infants. Truly listening to their needs and opinions was very fulfilling. I was able to join PTBi in traveling to Rwanda, Africa to understand some of the challenges they have with preterm birth was also a highlight. Another highlight was attending the International World Congress on Kangaroo Mother Care where I was welcomed as an official scholar and researcher into the international team of researchers on skin-to-skin care. My research poster won Second prize!

What would you say to someone considering applying to the postdoctoral fellowship?

This is an exciting fellowship where you will be encouraged to network with the community and stakeholders; you will be closely mentored by expert researchers in an effort to apply scientific rigor in both quantitative and qualitative research that examines the social determinants of health for preterm infants and their parents. This fellowship helps novice researchers to find a niche to help decrease the consequences of preterm birth particularly in San Francisco and Fresno and Oakland, but also gives you a broader worldwide view of preterm consequences among black populations in East Africa and in Northern and Central California. This fellowship takes your ideas and develops them into something much bigger than you can even imagine.