It was quite a hectic year, both personally and professionally. Having my second child born right at the end of 2018 meant that I/we were raising an infant for all of 2019, which isn’t ever easy on anyone. The relentless parenting was further exacerbated by kid #2 going in-and-out of the ER throughout the year. Nevertheless, work progress was made 🙂
My biggest accomplishment was going from being a postdoc in Public Health Sciences at Karolinska Institutet, to being an Assistant Professor (Biträdande Lektor) in Women’s and Children’s Health at Karolinska Institutet. Both programs are consistently ranked in the top 10 in the world, at least for their graduate programs, which is who I teach to.
Having the hierarchical bump not only meant an increase in salary, but also an increase in my employment contract length, going from more standard postdoc contracts (12-months) to having a six-year position, with the automatic possibility of promotion to Lektor (Senior Lecturer…..similar to tenured Associate Professor in the USA). So now I have a tenure-track position and can actually focus on my work rather than on whether I need to look for another job.
However, my work dramatically shifted. This wasn’t just because of changing from public health to midwifery (the main unit I work for), but also because I was moving from being research oriented to being teaching oriented. Now 90% of my job is teaching, with only 10% research, compared to the reverse in public health. This meant wrapping up old projects, and re-focusing my efforts…..as well as trying to grasp that I wouldn’t be “as productive” in publications as previous years due to this shift.
While slightly cumbersome to take on teaching, I have been craving teaching for years, and begging other course leaders to let me guest lecture. So the shift to teaching is still very much welcomed and I looked forward to implementing my passion and love of student engagement.
In 2019, I had three publications; all of which I was the senior author. In Sweden, as well as in my field, being last author is equally as important as first author, where each are weighted at 40%, respectively, while the middle authorship divides the remaining 20% (e..g if there are three authors, the middle author gets 20% credit, while if there are four authors, the two middle authors get 10% credit). Being the last author is therefore important for my career, as it shows that I can lead others in publishing a study, as well as overseeing an entire study.
Two out of the three publications were from former students (#2 & #3) who wanted to turn their masters thesis into a publication. I am always very happy to work with students who want to meet their goals and publish their first paper! Both of these papers have received four citations, respectively, during 2019, and therefore were well-received in their research field.
- Johansson, M., Thies-Lagergren, L., & Wells, M. B. (2019). Mothers´ experiences in relation to a new Swedish postnatal home-based model of midwifery care–A cross-sectional study. Midwifery, 78, 140-149.
- Klittmark, S., Garzón, M., Andersson, E., & Wells, M. B. (2018). LGBTQ competence wanted: LGBTQ parents’ experiences of reproductive health care in Sweden. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 33, 417-426.
- Vallin, E., Nestander, H., & Wells, M. B. (2019). A literature review and meta-ethnography of fathers’ psychological health and received social support during unpredictable complicated childbirths. Midwifery, 68, 48-55.
This gives me a total of 22 peer-reviewed publications; of which, four are literature reviews. Aside from these publications, I currently have seven articles under review (three of which are revise-and-resubmit) and another 14 articles that have at least a manuscript written. So hopefully 2020 will be a year with several publications 🙂
In 2018, I had a total of 263 citations (i10-index and h-index of 10, respectively). As of January 1st, 2019, I have a total of 399 citations, according to ScholarGoogle. The number of citations may increase over the coming weeks/months, as they fluctuated a bit last year. While I had 73 citations last year, this year I had 111 citations.
A main impetus for the increase in citations is due to a sole author article entitled Predicting preschool teacher retention and turnover in newly hired Head Start teachers across the first half of the school year which was published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly. For example, while it was my second most-cited paper last year, it only had 28 citations, compared to the end of this year where it is now my most-cited paper with 72 citations.
I’m very happy that out of all of my articles, that it was this one that’s “taken off” a bit. I vividly remember completing the analysis to this paper at home, after a long night and early morning of coding and biking in to work to impress my co-supervisor, only to have my bike chain fall off while going down hill. This resulted in me flipping off my bike and having severe enough traumatic back pain to be ambulance to the ER from the Uppsala Train Station….because when you’re super happy and excited, why wouldn’t you come (literally) crashing down?
My ResearchGate score increased to 27.96. Not entirely dramatic from my 2018 RG score of 27.20. The new score places me within the top 85% of RG users.
I taught for one semester in 2019. I was the course leader for three courses in the Midwifery Unit of Women’s and Children’s Health:
- Examensarbete (Thesis Course)
As a brief overview, In this course, Midwifery (master) students conduct their thesis. As the course leader, I instruct them on the different sections of a thesis, as well as how to conduct their research, develop a project plan, and guide and host their defenses. This is a ten-week full-time course.
2. Global Health
Global Health is an international online English-language course where students learn about issues relevant to global health within the context of sexual and reproductive health. This semester we held the course between Sweden and the Netherlands, where students from the two nations worked together in small groups. This is a three-week full-time course.
3. Research Methods
This course focuses on students developing basic research methods skills, such as quantitative and qualitative research skills, as well as how to conduct literature reviews. This is a two-week full-time course.
I/we also applied for and received funding for a new course entitled Implementing Strategies for Quality Improvement in Healthcare Settings. This is a course I’ll give to medical professionals, such as physicians, midwives, nurses, physiotherapists, and dieticians. The course is an online English-language course that is offered to people around the world. The course will start in the fall of 2020.
I was an invited speaker at three different events this year:
- Invited Speaker. Wells, M.B. (2019, Nov.). The Importance of Involving and Supporting Fathers in Parent Groups. Region Sörmland, Sweden.
- Invited Speaker. Wells, M.B. (2019, Oct.). Pappas delaktighet (Fathers’ Involvement). Nationella barnhälsovårds Konferens (The Swedish National Child Healthcare Conference). Eskilstuna, Sweden.
- Invited Speaker. Wells, M.B. (2019, March). Led a Roundtable at the pre-conference: Fathers are parents too! Broadening Research on Parenting for Child Development. Society for Research on Child Development. Baltimore, MD.
I have to say that I really enjoyed talking with Region Sörmland’s BVC nurses, who genuinely took an interest in wanting to make their child health services more equitable to all parents. It was quite inspiring.
My colleagues presented our research at different conferences:
- Johansson, M., Theis-Lagergren, L. & Wells, M.B. (2019, May). Mothers’ experiences in relation to a new Swedish postnatal home-based model of midwifery care. The 21st Congress of the Nordic Federation of Midwives, Reykjavik, Iceland.
- Klittmark, S, Garzòn, M., Andersson, E., & Wells, M.B. (Nov. 2019). LGBTQ Competence Wanted: LGBTQ Parents’ Experiences Of Reproductive Health Care In Sweden. Poster presented at the 6th EMA Education Conference – The midwifery education – fit for the 21st Century, Gothenburg, Sweden.
- Kerstis, B., Wells, M.B., & Andersson, E. (2019, April). Father group leaders’ experiences of creating an arena for father support—A qualitative study. Barnveckan, Örebro, Sweden.
I did a lot of thesis supervision in 2019. Four theses in Midwifery (the first four) were part of my normal job duties in my new position), while the other six thesis were done either to help move my own research project forward or because I enjoyed the topic. I was the main supervisor to all theses except Marina’s, where I was the co-supervisor.
- Siri Engberg (2019). Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet. Meeting the challenges- a qualitative study of midwives’ experiences of contraceptive counselling (Möta utmaningarna- en kvalitativ studie om barnmorskors erfarenheter av dagens preventivmedelsrådgivning). I was the main supervisor.
- Petra Östlund & Cecilia Holmqvist (2019). Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet. Family life starts at home -fathers’ experience of a new home-based postnatal care model (Familjelivet börjar i hemmet -pappors upplevelser av en ny modell för eftervård i hemmet). I was the main supervisor.
- Gabriella Espinosa & Vanne Dupo Kjellin (2019). Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet. Female genital self-image affects women’s sexual function: A cross-sectional study (Genital självbild påverkar kvinnors sexuella funktion: En tvärsnittsstudie). I was the main supervisor.
- Mirian Parrish (2019). Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet. Barnmorskors erfarenheter vad gäller samtal med minderåriga abortsökande (Midwives experiences in counceling with underage abortion applicants).
- Vanessa Place (2019). Department of Global Health, Karolinska Institutet. Facilitators and barriers to the implementation of a new clinical visit for fathers at Stockholm County child health centres: A qualitative study of nurse-managers at the top-performing centres.
- Ebba Hasselqvist and Laura Stathakis (2019). Department of Women’s and Children’s Health. Mothers have a higher orgasm satisfaction than non-mothers-A quantitative cross-sectional study (Mödrar är mer tillfredsställda med sin orgasm än icke-mödrar-en kvantitativ tvärsnittsstudie).
- Marco Ben (2019). Department of Global Health, Karolinska Institutet. Perceived father’s needs and concerns in the prenatal, perinatal, postnatal, and home care periods for a healthy transition into fatherhood: A review of reviews.
- Ilio Allberg (2019). Department of Psychology. Fathers’ Experience of Targeted Father Visits Within Child Health Centers in Stockholm County: An Evaluation of the Implementation and Outcomes of a Series of New Father Visits to the Swedish Child Health Centers.
- Rachel-Ochido Odonde (2019). Department of Global Health, Karolinska Institutet. Evaluating implementation fidelity to Stockholm County’s father-only visit programme among child health nurses.
- Marina Dehara (2019). Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet. Parenthood is associated with a lower risk of suicide: A register-based cohort study of 1,582,360 Swedes.
Ebba and Laura worked impressively hard on a very cool topic. Since two former students had used this same dataset and won the best Reproductive Health thesis in Sweden award, I felt like Ebba and Laura should have been equally recognized….but you can’t be the best every year 😉
Meanwhile Vanessa, Ilio and Rachel-Ochido (Ibi) all did amazing work assessing the new clinical visit for fathers project, where I am the PI.
Marina really stood out as an outstanding researcher. So much so, that we not only will try to publish her thesis (currently under review) + one more paper together, but I also recommended her to two PhD positions, of which she was offered both positions!
I’m very proud of all of my students’ hard work. For example, Siri and Marian both did their thesis independently, when they should have had a partner, Gabi and Vanne conducted their own study from scratch, and Petra/Cecilia are in the process of re-working their thesis into a publication. Marco took on one of the biggest projects I’ve had a student do, and came up with a paternal care model that I love and hope to publish one day, although sadly probably not for a year or two.
Lastly, I was the examiner for five master-level theses in 2019.
While my first (and only) research grant ended at the end of 2018, I received another new grant at the end of 2019, which will be viable in 2020:
- Systembolagets Alkoholforskningsråd. Utvärdering av en barnmorskeledd Internetbaserad modell för att förebygga drogan (Evaluation of a midwife-led Internet-based model for drug prevention). Specific aims: To evaluate via a randomized controlled trial the effect of providing Internet-based video conferencing support compared to standard care for a drug-free pregnancy. Project period: 01/01/2020-12/31/2020.
- I am the Principle Investigator
- Total project grant: 250,000 SEK.
I am the co-supervisor to a PhD student:
- Olov Aronson. Department of Welfare and Social Sciences, Jönköping University. Preliminary dissertation title: The formation and characteristics of friendship: Inquiries into the conditions and experiences of adolescents of foreign origin.
In the Autumn of 2019, Olov successfully completed his half-time. He has all four manuscripts written, although none are accepted yet. He’s been super productive, knows a ton of amazing stats, and teaches incredibly well.
I helped with two PhD dissertation pre-defense by acting like the opponent:
- Melody Almroth (2019). Adolescents’ future academic prospects: Predictors and mental health outcomes. Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet.
- Regina Winzer (2019). Aspects of positive and negative mental health in young people, aged 16-29 years: measurements, determinants, and interventions. Department of Public Health, Karolinska Institutet
I was the referee for several article submissions with various journals.
I also continued to guest lecture at DIS in Brain Development, as well as various courses within the Public Health and Global Health master-track programs.
All-in-all, a quite important career year!