What I do: I am managing a pilot study evaluation of the interactive Baby Buddy phone app, which has been designed by Best Beginnings in collaboration with expert stakeholders and parents. Baby Buddy has been created by a team that includes midwives, doctors, health visitors, breastfeeding specialists, speech and language therapists, psychologists, voluntary sector workers and teenage pregnancy specialists. They have ensured that the app will cover all the important issues related to pregnancy and the first 6 months after birth in a way that is particularly relevant to young first time parents and is currently available to download for free on the iOS and Android app stores.

In designing, conducting and reporting on the evaluation, I am working closely with people at Best Beginnings and our two pilot embedding sites in London and Blackpool to see the uptake, usage and feedback of the Baby Buddy app, in order to inform content, improve usability and optimise impact. Additionally, I support the broader research activities that Best Beginnings undertakes as part of their mission to be evidence-based in their work.

How I got into it: I’ve been passionate about health research for a long time, and I recently finished my PhD earlier this year. I was looking to work in a practical environment where I could apply my knowledge and skills, and evaluating Baby Buddy on behalf of Best Beginnings has turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to do just that.  

What I do day to day: As I’m new to the charity, much of my day is spent learning, which I really enjoy. Whether it’s figuring out the best way to approach a research question, ensuring that the tools and measurements we’re using are relevant, helpful and validated, maintaining relationships with key stakeholders and contacts, or consulting on data management and other processes, every day brings a new and exciting challenge.

The most rewarding part is… Seeing the real potential of Baby Buddy to offer encouragement and information to parents, how excited health care practitioners are to incorporate it into their consultations, and working with a great team at Best Beginnings.

The most challenging part is… Ensuring that all the balls remain in the air.

My advice to those looking to get into the industry is… Be open-minded, confident in your abilities and committed to working to improve the lives of others.