Prof. Maureen Samms-Vaughan

Chairperson, The Early Childhood Commission


Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan is known locally, regionally and internationally for her seminal research, clinical work and policy development in the field of child health, child development and behavior. She is also recognized as an advocate for the well-being of all children, but particularly for those at the early childhood level and those with disabilities.

She has served in a number of academic UWI positions as Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Child Health since 1993, and was appointed UWI's first Professor of Child Health, Child Development and Behavior in 2006.  She has been Consultant Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician at UHWI and Director of the weekly Child and Family Clinic for children with developmental and behavioral disorders since 1993.  She has taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels throughout the UWI and has supervised doctoral students at the UWI and at several universities in the USA in child development research.  She has Adjunct Professorial status at universities in the USA.

Professor Samms-Vaughan has over 50 publications, including three books, several book chapters and peer-reviewed papers, on a range of child development and behavior related topics.  She has also completed numerous consultancies in the field of child development and behavior for the IDB, the World Bank, UNICEF and PAHO.  She is currently a member of the IDB's Advisory Group on Early Childhood Development.

She was appointed Head of the Department of Child Health in 2001, a position which was relinquished when seconded to the Government of Jamaica to guide the development of its new agency, the Early Childhood Commission (ECC).  She currently chairs the UWI's Committee for the development of programs in the Professions Allied to Medicine.  She has been a member of the Government of Jamaica's National Advisory Council on Disability and the National Council on Education. She currently serves as a Director of Family Life Ministries, The Usain Bolt Foundation and a number of school boards, and is the Patron of the Jamaica Autism Support Association, a parent support group for children with autism.  She was appointed the first Chairman of the Early Childhood Commission, a body established by the Government of Jamaica to develop the country’s early childhood sector in 2003.  

She has received awards for her work, including the Commander of the Order of Distinction, by the Government of Jamaica in 2007 for pioneering work in early childhood development and child healthcare.