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Maureen M. Black, PhD

Academic Title:

Professor Emeritus

Primary Appointment:


Secondary Appointment(s):

Medicine, Epidemiology & Public Health


737 W. Lombard Street, Room 161

Phone (Primary):


Education and Training

  • Pennsylvania State University, Mathematics and Computer Science, BA, 1967
  • University of Southern California, Occupational Therapy and Psychology, MA, 1973
  • Emory University, Developmental Psychology, Ph.D., 1977
  • Neuropsychiatric Institute, UCLA, Intern, 1975
  • Licensed Psychologist, Maryland (01367), 1980 - present


Dr. Black is a pediatric psychologist who has made significant contributions to the intersection of child development and nutrition. She spearheaded advances in child development by co-authoring three series of papers on early child development, published in The Lancet (2007, 2011, and 2017), including leading the first paper of the 2017 Lancet series, Advancing Early Childhood Development: from Science to Scale. That paper provided the scientific basis for the Nurturing Care Framework, which has been adopted by the World Health Assembly (2018) and advanced globally by WHO, UNICEF, and the World Bank Group. In recent work, she demonstrated that the principles of Nurturing Care apply from pre-conception through adolescence. Dr. Black has been instrumental in the development of the Global Scales for Early Development (GSED), a WHO-led, population-based scale to evaluate children’s development globally.

Dr. Black’s training is in developmental science and pediatric psychology. She is a licensed psychologist, chaired the Division of Growth and Nutrition in the Department of Pediatrics from 2003-2021, and directed an interdisciplinary Growth and Nutrition Practice for children with growth and /or feeding problems for 25 years. She has received two mentoring awards and has mentored trainees at multiple levels, including over 55 dissertation committees and more than 20 post-doctoral fellows funded on her grants. She led the Maryland site of Children’s HealthWatch, a collaboration of five medical centers from across the U.S. that provides evidence-based, policy-relevant information on how material hardships, including food and housing insecurity, relate to the health and development of young children.

Dr. Black has had NIH funding for over 25 years, primarily related to programs and policies to promote child development and prevent health disparities associated with threats to children’s early development, including poverty, nutritional deficiencies (e.g., food insecurity and micronutrient deficiencies), biological challenges (prenatal exposure to cocaine, opioids, or HIV), and lack of responsive caregiving and early learning opportunities. She has worked in community settings (schools and childcare settings) in Maryland and in low- and middle-income countries (e.g., Bangladesh, India, Guatemala, eSwatini).

Dr. Black has published over 400 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters (Google Scholar H-index = 99), most related to prevention of disparities and promotion of children’s health, nutrition, and development; she is an associate editor of Pediatric Obesity, a member of three other editorial boards (Journal of Nutrition, Journal of Family Psychology, and Journal of Pediatric Psychology), and has served four-year terms on two NIH study sections. She has been elected president of two divisions of the American Psychological Association and invited to serve on advisory committees for multiple local (e.g., Maryland Hunger Solutions and Maryland WIC), national (e.g., National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Agriculture), and international organizations (e.g., UNICEF, WHO, and the World Bank Group).

Research/Clinical Keywords

Global child development, nurturing care, health disparities, nutrition and child development, undernutrition, stunting, failure-to-thrive, overweight, obesity, food insecurity, early child development, parenting interventions, micronutrient supplementation and brain development.

Highlighted Publications

Black MM, Walker SP, Fernald LCH, Anderson CT, DiGirolamo A, Lu, C., McCoy, D. C., Fink, G., Shawar, Y. R., Shiffman, J., Devercelli, A. E., Wodon, Q. T., Vargas-Baron, E., Grantham-McGregor S. Early child development coming of age: Science through the life-course. The Lancet. 2017 Jan 7;389(10064):77-90. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31389-7.

Black MM, Hager ER, Wang Y, Hurley KM, Latta LW, Candelaria M, Caulfield LE. Toddler obesity prevention: A two-generation randomized attention-controlled trial. Maternal Child Nutrition. 2020;e13075.

Trude ACB, Richter L, Behrman JR, Stein AD, Menezes AMB, Black MM. Responsive caregiving and learning opportunities among preschool children mitigate effects of early adversities on adolescent IQ. Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. 2021 Jan;5(1):37-46. doi: 10.1016/S2352-4642(20)30309-6.

Black MM, Fernandez-Rao S, Nair KM, Balakrishna NK, Tilson N, Radhakrishna V, Ravinder P, Harding K, Reinhart G, Yimgang DP, Hurley KM. Grow Smart: A Cluster Randomized Trial of Point-of-Use Fortification of Preschool Meals with Multiple Micronutrient Powders Improves Expressive Language and Reduces Anemia and Iron Deficiency in Rural India. J Nutrition. 2021 Apr 20:nxab066. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxab066.

Black MM, Behrman JR, Daelmans B, Prado EL, Richter L, Tomlinson M, Trude ACD, Wertlieb D, Wuermli AJ, Yoshikawa H. Nurturing Care promotes human capital from preconception through adolescence. BMJ Global Health. 2021 Apr;6(4):e004436. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2020-004436.

Additional Publication Citations

  • Distinguished Fellow, RTI International, 2016 - Present
  • Professor (adjunct), Professor (adjunct), Adjunct Professor, Psychology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 1999-Present
  • Adjunct Professor, International Health, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2001 - Present
  • John A. Scholl, MD and Mary Louise Scholl, MD Endowed Professor, Pediatrics, 2003 - 2021
  • Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, 2012
  • Tyson Tildon Excellence in Pediatric Research, 2016
  • Maryland’s Top 100 Women, The Daily Record, 2018