Optimizing early life development.

Too often, early developmental challenges are missed—particularly for children from underrepresented backgrounds—and later interventions are less effective.[i]


Three young children playing in a preschool.

Node Leadership

Early childhood family-centered interventions require novel intervention design, delivery platforms, and dissemination, and must move from deficit-oriented to strengths-based approaches. These interventions, in turn, require strategic partnerships with child health providers: American Academy of Pediatrics, (AAP), Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visitors (MIECHV), community care coordinators and champions (Healthy Start), and public health leaders (Title V, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs [AMCHP]). 

Focus: To create and bundle flourishing interventions in early childhood.

Projects: The Node is working to:

  1. Teach early childhood professionals about early relational health
  2. Boost Head Start by incorporating African-centered pedagogy, wealth building, and health management to improve outcomes for African American children. [ii]
  3. Trial the Family Well-Being Program, a multigenerational multi-tiered intervention piloted in the LCIRN, now funded for trial in an RCT in under-resourced early childhood educational settings using trauma-specific approaches to improve mental health. 

The Node is working on an Early Childhood Mental Health Toolkit with a focus on Black children’s mental health.

[i] Iruka, I. U., Gardner-Neblett, N., Telfer, N. A., Ibekwe-Okafor, N., Curenton, S. M., Sims, J., & Neblett, E. W. (2022). Effects of racism on child development: Advancing antiracist developmental science. Annual Review of Developmental Psychology4, 109-132.

[ii] South E, Venkataramani A, Dalembert G. Building Black Wealth - The Role of Health Systems in Closing the Gap. N Engl J Med. 2022;387(9):844-849. doi:10.1056/NEJMms2209521