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UEL lecturer to present study on low birth-weight in Newham in parliament

PUBLISHED: 17:06 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:27 07 December 2017

Hayley Edwardson is a mother-of-eight and a lecturer on public health. Picture credit: UEL

Hayley Edwardson is a mother-of-eight and a lecturer on public health. Picture credit: UEL

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When Hayley Edwardson gave birth to her first child at the age of just 14 she was ‘written off’ as teenage mother who would not excel academically.

She went on to give birth to seven more children and now at the age of 45 Hayley is a public health lecturer at the University of East London (UEL).

The mother-of-eight joined UEL in 2012 as a student and completed a first class degree in public health, followed by a post-graduate certificate in university teaching.

With Newham having one of the highest proportions in England of babies born with low birth-weight, three per cent above the national average, Hayley has been researching with UEL’s Institute for Health and Human Development (IHHD) to try and find out why and how to improve the situation.

She will now visit parliament to present her findings.

“Getting to present the research and what we’re trying to do in parliament will be a great opportunity,” she said.

“Some of the topics discussed were sensitive, but creating a forum where all could be heard was empowering for the participants, and has helped plan the next steps.”

The project is collaboration between UEL’s IHHD and UCLPartners, Newham Clinical Commissioning Group, Barts Health NHS Trust, Newham Council and Newham University Hospital.

Hayley’s career has included work with the British Red Cross and with Norfolk county council supporting teenage mothers for Norfolk. She lives in Suffolk.

The desire to underpin her practical experience and gain an academic qualification led Hayley to UEL as an undergraduate.

She said, “I had the chance to work on several community projects such as teaching migrants in the Calais jungle, and trying to improve the maternal outcomes for Somali mothers in Newham. It enriched and informed my studies a lot.”

Apart from her research, she now lectures undergraduates about public health and the unique opportunities east London offers students in the field.

She said, “I love UEL. I’ve had an amazing experience both as a student and now as a lecturer.”

Her 25-year-old son Theodore is currently a student at UEL studying for a BSc in health promotion.

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