The following entries represent recent highlights from the Center’s calendar.
Politics and Preschool: President Obama's Plan for Early Education
Wednesday, April 10, 2013; 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Askwith Hall at Longfellow Hall
13 Appian Way, Cambridge, Mass. 02138
Moderator: Hiro Yoshikawa, Walter H. Gale Professor of Education and Academic Dean, Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE)
- Ajay Chaudry, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Jacqueline Jones, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning, U.S. Department of Education
- Stephanie M. Jones, Kargman Associate Professor in Human Development and Urban Education Advancement, HGSE
- Jack P. Shonkoff, Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development, Harvard School of Public Health and HGSE; Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital; Director, Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University
In his State of the Union address, President Obama became the first U.S. president to propose universal early childhood education. This potential signature initiative of his second term raises important questions at the nexus of policy, practice, and research. How should a major expansion of early childhood education be funded? What should universal early childhood education look like? How can the promise of small-scale demonstration programs be fulfilled at scale? This distinguished panel presented a diversity of opinions from policy, practice, and research perspectives.
This event was sponsored by HGSE and is free and open to the public. For more information about Askwith Forums, visit http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news-impact/category/askwith-forums/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-384-9968.
The Neurobiology of Social Behavior Development
Pat Levitt, Ph.D.
Science Director, National Scientific Council on the Developing Child
Provost Professor of Neuroscience, Psychiatry & Pharmacy; Director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
Tuesday, April 9, 2013; 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Fong Auditorium, Boylston Hall
Harvard Yard, Cambridge, Mass.
This lecture was part of the Center's Distinguished Scholars Lecture Series.
The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Speaker Series
Webcast: “Breakthrough Research on Building Better Brains”
Tues., Feb. 28, 2012; 6:00 p.m. ET
Presenter: Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D.
Director, Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University
Severe and prolonged early adversity has long been known to increase the risks of disease and life-threatening behaviors later in life. Dr. Shonkoff discussed how recent scientific advances now provide solid evidence of how this occurs, highlighting the urgent need to enhance existing strategies for promoting health and preventing disease across the lifespan.
The Forum at HSPH: "The Toxic Stress of Early Childhood Adversity"
February 7, 2012, Cambridge, Mass.
"The Toxic Stress of Early Childhood Adversity: Rethinking Health and Education Policy" is the subject of an on-demand webcast now available from The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health. The hour-long program, recorded Feb. 7, 2012, in Boston, examines how early childhood adversity can trigger the toxic stress response in children’s bodies and brains, leaving them at higher risk for problems in learning, behavior, and health throughout their lifetimes—and how health and education policies might be used or revamped to better prevent or mitigate such problems. Among the topics discussed was the January 2012 call to action issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics in the form of its policy statement, "Early Childhood Adversity, Toxic Stress, and the Role of the Pediatrician: Translating Developmental Science Into Lifelong Health.”
The discussion, with expert panelists fielding in-studio and online audience questions, featured Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff; Robert W. Block, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics; and Roberto Rodríguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy in the White House. Launched in 2010, The Forum seeks to provide decision-makers with a global platform to discuss policy choices and scientific controversies.
Inaugural Conte-CBS Colloquium on Mental Health
The Biology of Adversity and the Early Childhood Roots of Impairments in Learning, Behavior,
January 31, 2012; Cambridge, Mass.
Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D.
Director, Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University
The Conte Center at Harvard, led by Center affiliated faculty member Takao Hensch, is a basic research initiative focused on the developmental origins of mental illness. The Conte-CBS Colloquium on Mental Health will be a monthly, interdisciplinary series of talks focused on mental health research.
“The 2011 Early Childhood Summit: Investment in our Future”
Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011; 9:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
The Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is convening this event, along with co-sponsors Early Education for All, a campaign of Strategies for Children; the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children; and the Boston Children’s Museum. The goal of this first statewide summit, which will bring together pediatricians, early educators, policymakers and other experts and advocates, is to develop a shared agenda for the benefit of young children. Speakers include Charles A. Nelson III, who is a professor of pediatrics and neuroscience and Richard David Scott Chair in Pediatric Developmental Medicine Research at Harvard Medical School and a member of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.
The Brain on Stress: How the Social Environment “Gets Under the Skin”
September 27, 2011; Cambridge, Mass.
Lecture by Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D.
Alfred E. Mirsky Professor
Head of the Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology
The Rockefeller University
September 26, 2011; New York, N.Y.
On Monday, Sept. 26, Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., presented at NBC News' Education Nation Summit in New York City. His talk, "Stimulating Minds and Protecting Brains," was part of a session featuring presentations on the science of early brain development and how that affects learning, behavior, and health for a lifetime. The two-day summit brought together educators, parents, policymakers, elected officials, business leaders, students and others to discuss pressing topics in American education.
"A Biology of Misfortune: How Stratification, Sensitivity, and Stress Diminish Child Health and Development"
April 13, 2011; Boston, Mass.
Lecture by W. Thomas Boyce, M.D.
Sunny Hill Health Centre/BC Leadership Chair in Child Development
Professor, College for Interdisciplinary Studies and Faculty of Medicine
University of British Columbia, Canada
Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting
March 31 - April 2, 2011; Montreal, Canada
Three conference papers using data from the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs' meta-analytic database were presented at the Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting held in Montreal, Canada, March 31-April 2, 2011.
- "Preventing Aggression and Antisocial Behaviors through Preschool Interventions"
Holly S. Schindler, Jenya Kholoptseva, Soojin S. Oh, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Jack P. Shonkoff, Greg J. Duncan
- "Timing Issues with Early Childhood Education Programs: Variation in Effect Sizes"
Greg J. Duncan, Jimmy Leak, Weilin Li, Holly S. Schindler
- "What is the Added Impact on Children of Parent-Targeted Services in Early Childhood Education Programs? A Meta-Analytic Study"
Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Jocelyn Bonnes Bowne, Todd A. Grindal, Holly S. Schindler, Katherine Magnuson
Also, Al Race, Deputy Director of the Center and Director of Communications and Public Engagement, gave a presentation titled, "Framing and Gaming: Contemporary Methods for Communicating About Science with the Public," as part of the roundtable discussion, "Communicate, Connect, Convene: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Improving the Use of Developmental Science in Public Policy" on Saturday, April 2.
Meta-Analysis Conference Presentations
Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management: 2010 Fall Conference
November 4-6, 2010; Boston, Mass.
Two conference papers based on data from the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs' meta-analytic database were accepted for presentation at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management conference held in Boston November 4-6, 2010. "Is More Necessarily Better? The Added Impact of Parent-Targeted Services in Early Childhood Education Programs" was presented by the Forum's Science Director, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Ph.D. "Timing Issues with Early Childhood Education Programs: How Effect Sizes Vary by Starting Age, Program Duration, and Persistence of Effects" was presented by Forum Co-Chair Greg Duncan, Ph.D.
Applying the Science of Early Childhood Development to State Policy and Practice: A Call for Action and a Call for Innovation
November 4, 2010; Seattle, Wash.
With an audience representing a range of disciplines, this symposium, sponsored by Casey Family Programs, explored scientific research, policy opportunities and innovative practices in early childhood development. Speakers included Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D.; researcher Dr. Robert Anda, consultant with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dr. Patricia Kuhl, the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington; and Attorney Jennifer Rodriguez, Youth Law Center/Birth to Six Project.
From Neurons to Neighborhoods 10th Anniversary Event
October 28, 2010; Washington, D.C.
2010 marked the 10th anniversary of the publication of From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development, the landmark report which laid the foundation for the Center's distinctive mission, by the National Academy of Sciences.
On Thursday, October 28, 2010, the Board on Children, Youth, and Families convened a workshop in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the anniversary of this report. The workshop, which included a live webcast now archived for viewing on the Board on Children, Youth, and Families' Web site, featured presentations by Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff, chair of the original study, Deborah Phillips, the study director and contributing member to the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, and other researchers, government officials, and leaders in the field of early childhood health and development. The participants focused on the progress made in integrating child development research, neuroscience, and molecular genetics as well as how science can be mobilized to promote innovation and shape public policy in the next decade.
Global Gathering in Moscow Puts Early Childhood Issues Front and Center
September 27-29, 2010, Moscow, Russia
As the Center on the Developing Child expands its Global Children’s Initiative, it is connecting with others worldwide who are also taking an integrated approach to child survival, health, and development in the earliest years of life.
Read about a global conference in Moscow held September 27 - 29, 2010, where Center Director Jack Shonkoff delivered a keynote address. >>
Hear an audio interview UNESCO conducted with Dr. Shonkoff ahead of the conference. >>
"Early Childhood 2010: Innovation for the Next Generation"
August 3, 2010; Washington, D.C.
Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff delivered the opening keynote address at this conference, which was convened jointly by the U.S. departments of Education and Health and Human Services. The event, which also featured Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, drew an audience of 1,500 federal staff members, state and local partners, and other stakeholders from a range of early childhood programs within both agencies.
"How Social Experience Gets Under the Skin: Affective Neuroscience Approaches to Understanding Children Facing Adversity"
A Lecture by Seth D. Pollak, Ph.D.
April 27, 2010; Cambridge, Mass.
Seth Pollak's research answers important questions about the mechanisms of children's emotional development through an innovative combination of methods from psychophysics, neuroscience, and behavioral endocrinology. He has documented how early experience sculpts the brain to create the emotional lives of children through his studies comparing children who have experienced neglect, stress, or abuse early in life with children who have developed typically. Studies of emotion processing in children facing significant adversity suggest that certain aspects of emotional development are influenced by experience. These include the perception of cues representing threat and the regulation of attention to certain aspects of emotion. These results imply that some neural systems are more modifiable by (and dependent upon) early sensory experience than are others. Using several different experimental approaches, Pollak's lab is exploring the mechanisms that link early emotional experiences with heightened risk for the development of psychopathology.
Seventh Annual Adoption Policy Conference and Symposium
March 5, 2010; New York, N.Y.
Charles A. Nelson III, Ph.D., a Center-affiliated faculty member and a member of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, was the keynote speaker at the Seventh Annual Adoption Policy Conference and Symposium at New York Law School. The conference explored topics at the forefront of adoption policy in the United States and internationally. The 2010 conference, entitled, "Permanency for Children,” also focused on the national and international policies promoting the preservation and reunification of families as well as the creation of permanent families for parentless children. For further information, please visit http://www.nyls.edu/adoption
"Using Meta-Analysis to Explain Variation in Head Start Research Results: The Role of Research Design"
March 4, 2010; Washington, D.C.
The first proposed conference paper using data from the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Program's meta-analytic database was presented at the 2010 Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness conference on March 4, 2010, in Washington, D.C. This methodological paper, “Using Meta-Analysis to Explain Variation in Head Start Research Results: The Role of Research Design,” was led by Hilary Shager, a doctoral student on the meta-analytic research team.
"The Long Reach of Early Childhood Poverty: Pathways and Impacts"
February 21, 2010; San Diego, Calif.
This session took place at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and explored how poverty and its attendant stressors have the potential to shape the neurobiology of the developing child in powerful ways. Speakers: W. Thomas Boyce, University of British Columbia; Greg J. Duncan, University of California; Katherine Magnuson, University of Wisconsin. Discussant: Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff. Boyce, Duncan, and Shonkoff are members of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, and Duncan, Magnuson, and Shonkoff are members of the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs.
Questions & Answers (PDF)
This Q&A with Duncan, Magnuson, Boyce, and Shonkoff answers frequently asked questions regarding what exactly it is about poverty that causes problems, why serious adversity early in life can weaken the architecture of the developing brain, what innovative solutions can help, and more.
Distinguished Scholars Lecture Series
“The Molecular Biology of Memory Storage and the Biological Basis of Individuality”
February 8, 2010; Cambridge, Mass.
Co-Sponsors: Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Medical School
Eric R. Kandel, M.D., is University Professor of Physiology and Cell Biophysics, Psychiatry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University; Fred Kavli Professor and Director, Kavli Institute for Brain Science and a Senior Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. A graduate of Harvard College and N.Y.U. School of Medicine, Dr. Kandel trained in neurobiology at the National Institutes of Health and in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He joined the faculty of the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in 1974 as the founding director of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior. At Columbia, Dr, Kandel organized the neuroscience curriculum. He is an editor of Principles of Neural Science, the standard textbook in the field. He recently has written a book on the brain for the general public entitled, In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind.
Dr. Kandel’s research has been concerned with the molecular mechanisms of memory storage in Aplysia and mice. More recently, he has studied animal models in mice of memory disorders and mental illness. Dr. Kandel has received 18 honorary degrees, is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences as well as the National Science Academies of Germany and France. He has been recognized with the Albert Lasker Award, the Heineken Award of the Netherlands, the Gairdner Award of Canada, the Wolf Prize of Israel, the National Medal of Science USA and the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2000.
Discussant: Steven E. Hyman, M.D., Provost of Harvard University and Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School.
Social Determinants of Global Population Health Conference
January 15-16, 2010; Cambridge, Mass.
The Center worked in collaboration with the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies at the Harvard School of Public Health to convene this conference. The invitation-only event built on the recommendations of the landmark 2008 report by the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH), which emphasized the critical importance of investment in the early childhood years if there is any chance to achieve its vision of closing the health disparities gap in a generation. The Harvard conference also aimed to move a policy agenda forward and develop a research agenda to strengthen the evidence base. Participants included government officials, politicians, policy consultants, NGO representatives, and foundation leaders from around the world.
"Applying the Science of Early Childhood Development to State Policy"
January 7, 2010; Seattle, Wash.
The daylong symposium offered scientific presentations and engage leaders from multiple states in exploring the application of science to specific state policies and programs. The event was co-presented by the Center on the Developing Child, the Institute for Learning & Brain Science at the University of Washington, Casey Family Programs, and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Speakers included Megan Gunnar of the University of Minnesota and Jack P. Shonkoff, director of the Center on the Developing Child. Gunnar and Shonkoff are both members of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.
4th International African Conference on Early Childhood Development, "From Policy to Action: Expanding Investment in ECD for Sustainable Development."
November 10-13, 2009; Dakar, Senegal
The conference, organized by the ECD Working Group of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa, was hosted by the government of Senegal. James Cairns, the project director for the Center's Global Children's Initiative, made a presentation on "Building the Foundation for Investment: A Science-based Framework for Child Heath and Development."
"The Science of Early Childhood Development: Closing the Gap Between What We Know and What We Do."
November 12, 2009; Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey
November 13, 2009, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey
Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff delivered lectures to academic audiences in Turkey.
Global Early Childhood Development Research Meeting
July 2009, Cambridge, Mass.
In July 2009, to mark the launch of its global initiative, the Center on the Developing Child convened a group of 25 academics and scholars from every inhabited continent to solicit advice on setting the agenda for its initial entry into international research on early childhood development issues.
2008-2009 Distinguished Scholars Lecture Series
April 2009; Cambridge, Mass.
In the 2008-09 academic year, the Center organized a second year of its lecture series, in partnership with schools across the University. The series, “Advancing the Science of Learning, Health and Behavior,” featured an April 2009 talk by Sir Michael Rutter of Kings College, London.
Harvard Graduate School of Education’s 13th Annual Student Research Conference
March 2009; Cambridge, Mass.
In March 2009, the Center hosted a paper presentation session that showcased the research of a HGSE doctoral student and a master’s candidate from New York University.