Alison Baum OBE

Alison Baum OBE

Chief Executive

Best Beginnings

Alison founded Best Beginnings in 2006, a UK charity that works to reduce child health inequalities by focusing on the “window of opportunity” between preconception and a child’s third birthday, which has then gone on to reach over 3 million families over the last decade. Alison was awarded her OBE for Services to Reducing Inequalities in Child Health as a result of significant changes to the health landscape in the UK for maternity and health care for young babies. She has been awarded Federation of Women Graduates “Woman of Democracy” (2015), Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association “Advocate of the Year” (2014), ‘Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts’, Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales Online Accounts Award (2012),Sheila McKechnie Award for Campaigner of the Year in the category of Health and Social Care (2008), She has also sat on Advisory Boards of prominent national work: the Big Society Network and the Better Births Review.

Alison has an MSc in Neuroscience and a degree and an MA in Pure and Applied Biology from the University of Oxford.

She drives the charity with the same enthusiasm today as the very first day she founded it and has driven hundreds of to supporting her mission to drive down health inequalities across the UK and now in Cyprus,organisations working with the Institute of Technology and she co-ordinates teams working in Belgium and Sri Lanka.Alison and the team’s work at Best Beginnings has received support from both the Department of Health and Public Health England, who have endorsed and funding key initiatives driven by Alison and her team. During this time Alison has driven collaboration amongst hundreds of organisations towards improving infant and maternity care and driving down infant mortality.

Alison’s work on Baby Buddy  the Royal College of Midwifery Best online Parenting resource award (2016),AXA PPP Health Tech and You Awards in the category of Pregnancy and early years.

Prior to Best Beginnings, Alison Co-founded the Breastfeeding Manifesto Coalition with David Kidney MP in 2006 to improve awareness of the health benefits of breastfeeding and its role in reducing health inequalities. Brought on-board 40 key UK organisations and secured significant cross-party support which is widely acknowledged to have led to increased resourcing for breastfeeding, for the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative and for the legislative change to better protect a woman’s right to breastfeed in public. She also founded Express Yourself Mums, in January 2005 with the aim of creating a social enterprise to provide breastfeeding, expressing and baby carrying products for parents.

Alison also worked in the BBC Science Department for over a decade producing and directing a number of flagship science documentaries including Horizon, Tomorrow’s World, Trust Me I’m a Doctor and Animal Hospital. During this time, she produced a series- “Allergy Alert” in which Alison followed families on their journey to be diagnosed and manage their conditions. Development Producer. I was then seconded to work as the Executive Assistant of Susan Spindler, the Director of “Making it Happen” the BBC’s internal Change Program and worked reporting to the Director General of the BBC.

Alison’s Academic Publications:

  • Baum A. Margie Polden Memorial Lecture: Best Beginnings – working to give every child in the UK the best start in life. Journal of Obstetric, Pelvic and Gynaecological Physiotherapy. 118: Spring 2016
  • Farnworth S, Baum  AS. 2012. The Small Wonders Change Programme. Journal of Neonatal Nursing. 18:3;76-79
  • Baum AS, Jones L. 2009. Developing a new DVD for parents of every premature and sick baby in the UK. Journal of Neonatal Nursing. 15:3;107-112
  • Baum AS, Chapter 7.9 in Midwifery: Best Practice, Volume 5, Elsevier. 2008. Ed Wickham S
  • CH Yeo, DH Lobo, A Baum. 1997. Acquisition of a new-latency conditioned nictitating membrane response–major, but not complete, dependence on the ipsilateral cerebellum. Learning & Memory 3;557-577