Dr Pamela Douglas has developed Neuroprotective Developmental Care (NDC, also known as the Possums programs) over the past 25 years, following the principles of implementation science step by step.
Her ground-breaking theoretical work reframes the care of parents and babies across the domains of breastfeeding/feeds, infant cry-fuss and sleep problems, infant sensory-motor needs and parent mood, which she has interpreted applying the lenses of evolutionary biology, complexity science, medical and lactation science, and cross-cultural studies. This evidence-base has been published in about 20 systematic and meta-narrative research reviews in international journals.
Pam has translated this evidence into the innovative Possums or NDC programs for parents, and her education courses for health professionals, including NDC Masterclasses and NDC Accreditation. There are now 9 research evaluations of NDC demonstrating the benefits of NDC or the Possums programs for both parents and health professionals.
Pam offers Neuroprotective Developmental Care (or the Possums programs) to parents and health professionals from her new platforms drpam.au (or drpam.baby), and The NDC Institute (ndcinstitute.com.au). This includes NDC Masterclasses, NDC Accreditation and Maintenance of NDC Accreditation, for which she is now taking registrations. The NDC Institute currently has 300 health professional members, with a new website to be launched soon.
Update 14 October 2023: statement by Dr Pamela Douglas concerning the charity Possums for Mothers and Babies Pty Ltd
I founded the charity Possums for Mothers and Babies Pty Ltd in February 2013, and tendered my resignation as Medical Director on 30 January 2023, due to grave and irreconcilable differences with the Board of Directors.***
David Clouts & Associates (DCA), Administrators for the charity Possums for Mothers and Babies Pty Ltd, have delivered their Report to Creditors, available to the public through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). This Report finds that Possums for Mothers and Babies Pty Ltd was trading whilst insolvent from at least January 2023, under a newly assumed trading name of 'The Possums Collective'. By the end of the financial year 30 June 2023, Possums for Mothers and Babies Pty Ltd had received $692,000 income and expended $1,008,515.
The PMB charity is currently undergoing liquidation by DCA, also reported publicly on the ASIC site on 10 October 2023. Claims by key creditors amount to $467,004, not including myself and not including legal fees (since the charity intermittently consulted a probono lawyer, only). This amount also does not include what would be owed to health professionals, providers and parents who purchased products which were not delivered, and which could be around $50,000, though that's an estimate only.
On 26 August 2023 when the charity was delivered back into the hands of an Interim Board of Directors which I chaired, it was immediately evident that the charity was severely insolvent. I and the Interim Board froze trading and placed the charity into Administration.
A new CEO*** had commenced 22 November 2022. Throughout December 2022 in my documented or consensually recorded meetings with the CEO, and in January 2023 in my written and verbal reports to the Board of Directors, I addressed my grave concerns about solvency, and about the charity’s new directions, over which I now lacked control. I continued to own all of my intellectual property (the NDC or the Possums programs), most of which I'd generated without payment over the previous two decades and which I'd lent to the charity to use for as long as I consented. The NDC or Possums programs and health professional courses were not created by a collective. I'd personally trademarked various related terms which I'd created e.g. Possums, The Possums Clinic, and Neuroprotective Developmental Care Accreditation, commencing 2012. I have never re-branded these names.
In December 2022 and January 2023, I made the difficult recommendations that the charity needed to urgently downsize and stabilise, if it was to survive and thrive long-term. I also communicated strongly to the Board that I could not support the corporate strategies being implemented, which included misrepresentations of facts to secure staff loyalty, misrepresentations of facts to secure customer (parent or health professional) loyalty, misrepresentations of facts to secure sales of products/courses, and misrepresentations, delay and obfuscation when fiscal and other challenges arose.
The Board of Directors was unable to respond to my concerns appropriately or respectfully. On 30 January 2023 I tendered my resignation as Medical Director. I left options open for some kind of ongoing relationship with the charity, which the Board did not pursue. On 1 February 2023 the CEO and Board of Directors disabled my professional Possums email, without warning, redirection or messaging; on 6 February 2023 I was removed as Administrator of the Possums social media ecosystem (which, since I'd established the social media platforms in my personal name, was against Meta's rules). Related to this time, four other staff (of a team of eight) resigned.
From then on, I took steps as best I could, despite my lack of financial resource or platform*, to protect both parents and professionals from the damaging effects of misrepresentations of the facts.
In April 2023 one of the charity’s Directors took over as the charity’s accountant.
Finally, the former Board of Directors delivered the charity back into the hands of an Interim Board with myself as Chair on 26 August 2023. The previous day, on 25 August 2023, the charity’s staff had resigned en masse and received payouts. I estimate those payouts came to a total approximately equivalent to the monies subsequently owed to customers who purchased parent or health professional products but who have been unable to receive delivery of their purchase due to the charity’s insolvency. The departing Board of Directors, staff and CEO did not respond to my or the Interim Board's communications when we took back over and the Interim Board only learnt about the sudden shut down of all operations incrementally and were unable to gain access to the charity's platforms, prior to DCA commencing Administration on 28 August 2023.
I am very grateful to Jayne Pigou in the Parent Hub, who declined to resign or receive a payout on 25 August 2023, for her ethics and her commitment to the support of other parents. I also remain very grateful to my long-time colleague Renee Keogh, who was seeing patients in The Possums Clinic Brisbane on 25 August 2023 when she was informed by reception that the clinic was closing that same day, and who did not receive payment for her clinical work over the preceding weeks.
Finally, I’m incredibly grateful for the generosity and support I’ve received from so many parents and colleagues over this past difficult year. Each little communication you’ve sent my way, or each ethical stand made to support me in online or public forums, truly has made it possible for me to continue, and I thank you with all my heart.
14 October 2023
*This website was set up with the help of my niece in 2021 for a niche interest group, intended back then as something separate from my NDC/Possums work for parents and health professionals. I'm rebuilding the latter at drpam.au or ndcinstitute.com.au
** Between 30 January 2023 and 25 August 2023, the Directors of the Board of Possums for Mothers and Babies Pty Ltd, trading as 'The Possums Collective', were Deb Spink (Chair), Shannon Lavarack, Kathy Mehonoshen (the charity's accountant from April 2023), and Judith O'Connell.
*** Ruth Drinkwater