Dr Melissa Morgan
Research Degree Student
I came to LSHTM in 2015 to embark on a PhD in the Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health. I received a MSc in Global Health Science from the University of Oxford in 2006 and a medical degree from the University of Texas in 2010. I trained in clinical paediatrics and neonatology at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), and I am a board certified paediatrician. My long-term career goal is to perform clinical research that will inform the evidence base and development of health policies for neonates in low- and middle-income countries.
I have been engaged in maternal child health research in sub-Saharan Africa and India for the past 10 years. Most recently, in collaboration with the Kenya Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, I investigated the prevalence of hypoxemia and its association with inpatient mortality and duration of hospitalisation among clinically ill term and preterm neonates and measured the efficacy of training hospital staff to provide tailored oxygen therapy to sick newborns at a large maternity hospital in Nairobi. I currently work with PRONTO International on a study that aims to implement and monitor simulation-based training curricula on obstetric and neonatal emergencies for midwives and doctors in Bihar, India. Curricula were rolled out in 64 district hospitals and 320 primary health clinics in Bihar between 2015- 2017 in collaboration with CARE India and with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. More details can be found at http://prontointernational.org.
As a clinical neonatologist, I teach pediatric residents and medical students at the bedside and I facilitate mock codes on a variety of neonatal resuscitation scenarios for residents, nurses, and medical students. I have given lectures covering core neonatology topics such as necrotising enterocolitis, respiratory distress syndrome, and neonatal resuscitation. I have also presented lectures on neonatal global health, perinatal HIV, tuberculosis, and other topics to paediatric residents in the Global Health Clinical Scholars Program.
Through my global health work, I have been involved in clinical teaching in Kenya and India. In Kenya, I have given a variety of lectures of neonatal topics ranging from oxygen management in low-resource settings (where no mechanical ventilation is available) to neonatal resuscitation using the Helping Babies Breathe algorithm to doctors, nurses, and clinical officers at Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi. In India, I have given lectures and facilitated a variety of obstetric and neonatal emergency simulation scenarios to midwives and doctors working with the Care India midwife-mentoring program in Bihar state.
With a team of co-investigators and collaborators in London and Uganda, my PhD research focuses on the OMWaNA Study, a parallel group randomised controlled trial that will compare the effect of kangaroo mother care initiated within the first 48 hours of life on mortality (at 7 days, at time of death/discharge, and at 28 days) and length of stay to conventional incubator care in clinically unstable infants weighing ≤2000 grams who are admitted to Jinja Regional Referral Hospital in Uganda. I received awarded a Thrasher Research Fund Early Career Award to provide partial support for the study. My PhD is supported by the UCSF Preterm Birth Initiative and the UCSF Global Health Policy Award.