Aisha Yousafzai

Dr. Yousafzai’s work focuses on:

  • Developing new interventions and approaches to promote early child development with a particular interest in how to strengthen child and caregiving related outcomes through existing health, nutrition and education systems.
  • Understanding the implementation structures and processes for early childhood interventions to achieve sustainable impact at-scale.
  • Promoting capacity development in local communities, services and systems for the effective delivery of interventions to promote early child development.

She has extensive experience in evaluating early childhood interventions in south Asia, east Africa, and in central and east Europe. One of Dr. Yousafzai’s most significant studies is the Pakistan Early Child Development Scale-Up (PEDS) trial, a cluster randomized controlled trial evaluating responsive stimulation and nutrition interventions to strengthen early child development and growth outcomes. The PEDS trial cohort is currently being followed-up at age 8 years old to investigate early intervention effects at school-age. This is one of the few studies to test the effects of integrating a psychosocial stimulation intervention in a large-scale community health service and to examine the long-term intervention effects on development and growth in a low- and middle-income population. She is also the PI of a randomized controlled trial in Pakistan investigating the impacts of community youth leaders delivering early childhood care and learning interventions on a host of early childhood and community outcomes. Dr. Yousafzai has written extensively about early childhood interventions in low- and middle-income countries including recent articles in Annals of the New York Academy of Science, Annual Review of Psychology, Lancet, Lancet Global Health, and Pediatrics.


Selected Publications

Yousafzai AK, Obradović J, Rasheed MA, Rizvi A, Portilla XA, Tirado-Strayer N, Siyal S, Memon U (2016) Effects of responsive stimulation and nutrition interventions on children’s development and growth at age 4 years in a disadvantaged population in Pakistan: a longitudinal follow-up of a cluster-randomised factorial effectiveness trial. Lancet Global Health. e548-58. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(16)30100-0.

Hurely KM, Yousafzai AK, Lopez-Boo F (2016) Early Child Development and Nutrition: A Review of the Benefits and Challenges of Implementing Integrated Interventions. Advances in Nutrition; 7; 357-363.

Yousafzai AK, Rasheed MA, Rizvi A, Armstrong R, Bhutta ZA (2015) Parenting skills and emotional availability. Pediatrics; 135:e1247-1257

Aboud FE, Yousafzai AK (2015). Global health and development in early childhood. Annual Review of Psychology; 66: 433-457.

Larson LM, Yousafzai AK (2015). A Meta-analysis of Nutrition Interventions on Mental Development of Children Under-Two in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Maternal and Child Nutrition. DOI.10.1111.mcn.12229

Rasheed MA, Yousafzai AK (2015). The Development and Reliability of an Observational Tool for Assessing Mother-Child Interactions in Field Studies- Experience from Pakistan. Child: Care, Health & Development; doi:10.1111/cch.12287

Yousafzai AK, Rasheed MA, Rizvi A, Armstrong R, Bhutta ZA (2014). Effect of integrated responsive stimulation and nutrition interventions in the Lady Health Worker programme in Pakistan on child development, growth, and health outcomes: a cluster randomized factorial effectiveness trial. Lancet; 384: 1282-1293.

Yousafzai AK, Aboud F (2014) Review of Implementation Processes for Integrated Nutrition and Psychosocial Stimulation Intervention. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences; 1308: 33-45

Yousafzai AK, Rasheed MA, Daelmans B, Manji S, Arnold C, Manji S, Lingam R, Muskin J, Lucas J (2014) Capacity-building for delivering care for nutrition and development in the health sector. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences; 1308:172-181

Yousafzai AK, Lynch P, Gladstone M (2014). Moving beyond prevalence studies: Screening and interventions for children with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries. Archives of Disease in Childhood; 99; 840-848.