Meet Our New Director of Relational Equity and Belonging

Eurnestine Brown headshot

Dr. Eurnestine Brown

We are honored to officially welcome Dr. Eurnestine Brown as the first Director of Relational Equity and Belonging at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center and first Boston Children’s Hospital Division of Developmental Medicine (DDM) Director of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging. Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist, and her specialty areas include African American children and families, adolescent pregnancy and prenatal development, children and families in poverty, racial and gender inequities, parental socialization practices and early childhood social development, Early Head Start and Head Start, and resiliency.

Dr. Brown recently became a Doula, completed the Brazelton Newborn Behavioral Observations System (NBO) training, moderated BTC’s Parenting While Black—a 6-week, free webinar series for and by Black parents—and received an additional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Workplace certification. She hopes to expand her work with pregnant and expectant families and the Doula community to address racial and health inequities in families of color.

In this Q&A, she shares her vision for her new role, how BTC is moving forward and towards its vision of becoming an anti-racist and more equitable, inclusive and embracing organization, and a special passion she shares with her son.

How do you define relational equity and belonging?

To me, relational equity and belonging begin with reflection, expanded awareness, and a commitment to action for change. It starts with knowing your “Why” and your “What.” Why are you embracing the call to action towards equity, and what is the quality of the relationships you wish to engage in is as you embrace this call? You amplify your “What” and “Why” with your words and actions. Words matter; actions matter. Together, we aspire to apply our awareness and commitment to activate and sustain relational equity and belonging at multiple levels and within and across multiple systems and structures.

Relational equity and belonging include yet move beyond fairness, being welcomed, valued, and accountable. They also mean recognizing the historical, political, and social roots of today’s inequalities. We are not all starting from the same places; we do not have the same access, opportunities, and experiences that permit us to thrive. We must first ensure racial, social, economic, and political equity before we can all enjoy the fruits of equality.

What are your goals for your new position?

I see my role as ensuring that all of us have an authentic place at the table and that each voice is heard. That’s what motivates me. That’s the core of why I do this work. At BTC, we are all about relationships. We are trying to do the best that we can in the moment that we are in. Our goal is to always operate from an affirming place and not be afraid of having those courageous conversations. We learn something, and then we unlearn it, and then we learn something again. It’s critical to have a vision and to keep learning and engaging.

What are the courageous conversations we need to have?

We need to have courageous conversations about what it means to be equitable, what it means to create a real sense of belonging, what it meant to be authentic, and what it means to ensure that everyone has a place at the table from the beginning. And that beginning is really critical. It’s sort of like that analogy – if someone you thought is your friend is having a party, and they don’t invite you initially. And then you get an invitation, but you already know that other people were invited. Now you’re already thinking you are an afterthought. As another example, if you say to someone, “I don’t see your color; that’s not really who you are.” Well, it IS a central part of who we are, regardless of individual variations. I’m so happy that we’ve moved from “I don’t see color” because if you don’t see color, then you don’t see me. And I think that every person is not just about the melanin or the color of their skin, but also who they are, their culture, their family, their lived experiences, and I hope we get to a place where we can embrace that.

What is your vision for BTC and DDM as an organization committed to relational equity and belonging?

I lead our efforts to become an anti-racist and inclusive Center and Division that promote sustainable excellence by creating an organizational culture where equity, inclusion, and belonging thrive. We do this by acknowledging and bringing forth the many ways that racism — not race — has been woven into the fabric of our American society and global community to oppress, suppress, harm, and, in some instances, erase Black and Brown people and people of color. This is also where diversity, inclusiveness, and belonging come into play—front and center. Every day—actually every moment—as members of this community, we strive to accept and embrace all the ways (visible and invisible) that make us who we are—each individual who they are—including race, ethnicity, culture, language, age, educational attainment, socio-economic class and status, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, geographical location, family status, and more.

Together, we can engage in reflective practices that enhance equitable outcomes and reduce bias and prejudice in our partnerships with each other and the children, families, and communities we have the honor to serve. It is up to every individual at BTC and within the division, and globally, to be a beacon of change. I can present information, I can give readings, I can hold conversations, but each individual has to be that beacon of change and engage in action. Our journey is to become better, uplift and embrace all, and be authentic, resilient, and brilliant.

What does creating a culture of belonging mean to you?

The three most powerful words that we can say to each other after “I Love You” is “I See You.” And I think this is what this work is about. It’s about seeing everyone—their values and who they are. As an organization, and hopefully as a society, where we want to go on this journey is to say to each other, every infant, every child, every parent, every community: “I See You.” And that’s what creating a culture of belonging is all about.

What books are you reading at the moment?

I am currently reading an eclectic mixture of books on leadership and communication. They run the gamut of 5/6/7 principles of leadership (e.g., 6 C’s of Inclusive Leadership: Commitment, Courage, Cognizant of Bias, Curious, Cultural Intelligence, and Collaborative) to books on Servant leadership because my faith and family are my anchors. I am also learning more about Level 5 leadership (e.g., Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, and others). I am still reading, pondering, simmering; I am not advocating any for anyone, just my self-learning.

What books do you want to spend more time reading?

I love fantasy and Black science fiction. My favorite book is Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor. I want to read her latest book Akata Witch. I also want to read Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James and Amanda Gorman’s book of poetry. Lastly, I need books on how to live lavishly on the beach…

Tell us something about yourself that many people don’t know.

I am working on my DC and Marvel knowledge; my son, Jaxson, is the expert. I still have to stop and think about the universes for Thor, Loki, and Hela (Marvel), Green Arrow (DC), Black Panther (Marvel), Aqua Man (DC), Iron Man (Marvel), The Flash (DC) and Batman and Catwoman (DC). I am on Season 4 of the Arrow TV series, which is about the Green Arrow. This is one of our favorite family pastimes—my son watches with me and allows me to ask a limited number of questions.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow Co-Authors Paper on Social-Emotional Learning in Early Childhood Programs

headshot of Dr. Christina Mondi-Rago

Dr. Christina Mondi-Rago

 

Dr. Christina Mondi-Rago, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center and a Clinical Fellow in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, has co-authored a new paper published by the International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy.

Titled “Fostering social-emotional learning through early childhood intervention,” the paper reviews the academic literature on socio-emotional learning (SEL) in three different types of early interventions: (a) public preschool programs; (b) multi-component early education programs (i.e., Head Start, Child-Parent Center program); and (c) skills-based SEL interventions (i.e., Incredible Years, Kindness Curriculum).

Dr. Mondi-Rago and her co-authors found that all three types of interventions can benefit young children’s socio-emotional skills (i.e., social awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making), which are strongly associated with lifelong learning, well-being, and mental health. They also identified important gaps in knowledge and practice about how to best measure SEL in ways that are developmentally and culturally appropriate. The findings have implications for future research, early childhood practice, and policy—especially since the three types of interventions that were reviewed have varying levels of evidence about cost-effectiveness and potential to be implemented at large scales.

Read the article here.

New Comprehensive Mental Health Resources for the AAPI Community

The mass shootings in Atlanta last week are just the latest in a surge of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the United States over the past year. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, discrimination, verbal assaults, and physical violence against members of the AAPI community have skyrocketed, disproportionately harming vulnerable members of the community, including women, youth, and elders. This racism takes its toll.

At Brazelton Touchpoints Center, we stand with children and families in the AAPI community. We want to share a new set of resources curated by the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness. Focused on the mental health and well-being of Asian Americans, the list includes high-quality, actionable, anti-racist resources for supporting mental health, tailored toward these individual audiences: parents, students, educators, therapists, and allies/the general public.

Executive Director Dr. Justin A. Chen, MD, MPH, and his team recognize that the profusion of resources can be overwhelming, so the focus of their mental health experts has been on carefully sifting through all the noise on the community’s behalf.

We hope you will find these resources helpful and meaningful as you work with children and families impacted by this violence. You can access them here: www.mghstudentwellness.org/racism 

The American Rescue Plan Will Help Lift Millions of Children Out of Poverty

Last week, Congress finalized, and President Biden signed into law, the American Rescue Plan to provide COVID relief to families. The bill includes changes to the tax code that will offer significant relief to families with children who have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

The changes in the Child Tax Credit, in particular, are anticipated to help as many as half of the American children currently living in poverty by lifting their families above the poverty line. The maximum per-child tax credit a family can receive is increasing from $2,000 to $3,000 for each child age 6-17, and to $3,600 for each child from birth to age 5. In addition, the child tax credit is now fully refundable. Finally, half of the benefits will be distributed in monthly checks from July 2021 through December 2021, and the remaining portion will be refunded when tax returns are filed in 2022. This means families with the fewest economic means will receive a monthly payment to help sustain their families, with additional relief provided when they file their taxes.

Overall, more than 90% of all children in the US are projected to benefit from this child tax credit expansion, which could represent the single most significant step to reduce child poverty in the United States in recent history.

Brazelton Touchpoints Center is deeply appreciative of all those who have advocated for decades for changes to child tax policy that will benefit children living in poverty whose working parents do not earn enough to benefit from existing child tax credits. This immediate relief to American families will help lift millions of children out of poverty, offering them a chance at economic security, healthy nutrition, and housing stability, all of which are necessary for children to thrive and reach their full potential. Although the expanded tax credit is available for one year, advocates hope that evidence of its impact on children and families will lead Congress to make the credit permanent.

The legislation includes many other important provisions that will help families struggling through the pandemic, including COVID relief checks; housing benefits; assistance with health insurance; and expansion of unemployment, food, and child care benefits; to name just a few. You can learn more about what the American Rescue Plan means for children families at the Children’s Defense Fund website.

New Indigenous Early Learning Collaborative Will Elevate Culturally Relevant Research Grounded in Native Communities

headshot of Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz

Dr. Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz

The Brazelton Touchpoints Center (BTC), located at Boston Children’s Hospital, is partnering with First Light Education Project, a Native-owned consulting initiative, to lead a national Indigenous Early Learning Collaborative (IELC) that will facilitate locally driven, community-based inquiry that is led by Native communities in order to advance high-quality early care and learning opportunities for Native children and families.

The IELC will use a process of research/inquiry that is driven by parents, teachers, centers, and community, prioritizing Indigenous knowledge and frameworks. The Collaborative will

  • address systemic barriers that currently impede Native/Indigenous communities from designing high-quality, culture- and language-rich, early childhood development programming for Native children, families, and communities;
  •  rely on Indigenous research and knowledge generation as a foundational component toward achieving racial equity in early learning and care systems; and
  •  lead to stronger early learning interventions and opportunities for Native children and families by advancing family and community engagement in designing culturally-grounded early childhood development systems, interventions, and knowledge.

“Native communities have the ability to identify areas of strength, need, and challenge in their systems of early care and learning,” said Dr. Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and Founder and Principal Consultant at First Light Education Project, who will lead the project. “However, Native communities often don’t have the resources or knowledge about inquiry and research to study the issues, analyze evidence, and create their own long-term sustainable solutions. The Indigenous Early Learning Collaborative will solve this gap in knowledge and resources by providing training and support in community-centered, place-based inquiry to urban, suburban, and rural Native communities seeking to achieve equitable and vibrant communities.”

The project is funded by a two-year, $1.5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich.

When local communities define and investigate their own questions related to their community strengths and needs, they develop culturally appropriate solutions that are more likely to be sustainable. The Collaborative will strengthen capacity in Native communities to

  1. define their own questions;
  2. conduct their own community-centered, place-based inquiry and research;
  3. design and implement their own evidence-based solutions to create more sustainably equitable and healthy communities;
  4. sustain this work beyond the initial training and work;
  5. develop the tools to engage larger efforts; and
  6. leverage success to access financial and material resources.

“Research impacting Native communities comes predominantly from outside of Native communities. This pattern feeds the perception that Native communities do not have research expertise and cannot find answers to their own problems, leading to the creation of research that is built on other people’s questions,” Dr. Yazzie-Mintz said. “The Collaborative aims to reverse the traditional process of outsiders doing research on Native communities by moving the origins and center of inquiry into Native communities. Native communities will be trained to be early learning research experts, defining the inquiry questions and issues, planning and conducting inquiry, and turning inquiry into action within their communities.”

The Collaborative will initially work with four Indigenous-led partners who are being trained in community-based inquiry techniques and in the Brazelton Touchpoints approach to strengths-based family engagement. The Touchpoints Approach has proven uniquely effective in bringing together diverse Native communities to find common ground and a shared set of principles for working with children and families, and strengthening the systems that serve them. Following training, each partner will identify and implement an inquiry related to their vision of high-quality, culturally-grounded systems of care and learning for their community. Partner selection prioritized communities that typically do not benefit from major Federal early childhood funding. In the future, the IELC plans to expand and disseminate its learning to more Native sites and communities.

The Collaborative builds on the collective strengths of BTC and First Light Education Project, drawing on both organizations’ expertise and shared commitment to Native early childhood development and education. For 20 years, BTC has been creating opportunities for learning and growth with Indigenous and Native communities through collaborative, strengths-based, culturally-affirming approaches and long-standing and trusting partnerships with Tribal and Native early learning centers, health care agencies, and Tribal Colleges and Universities.

In leading the IELC at BTC, Dr. Yazzie-Mintz brings more than 25 years of experience working within the field of Native education, teacher education, and community-based research to her role as Project Director. Yazzie-Mintz has worked with more than 30 Tribal communities, successfully contributing to direct training, community-based inquiry, and programming at local, Tribal, state, regional, and national levels. She earned a doctorate in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and serves on national committees and foundation boards, contributing to the broad knowledge of local to national systems impacting Native early childhood development and education.

About the Brazelton Touchpoints Center
The Brazelton Touchpoints Center (BTC) was founded in 1996 by world-renowned pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton, MD, and colleagues and is based in the Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. Together with families, providers, and communities, BTC develops and applies knowledge of early childhood development to practice and policy through professional and leadership development, organizational learning and change, research and evaluation, advocacy and awareness, and serving as a resource for proven practices. BTC is home to the Touchpoints Approach, the Brazelton Institute (Newborn Behavioral Observations and Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale), Family Connections, and the BTC Research and Evaluation team. For more information, visit www.brazeltontouchpoints.org

About the First Light Education Project, LLC
Guided by the principle, “Starting with What Works,” First Light Education Project, LLC, is a consulting and collaborative initiative providing leadership on projects of practice and inquiry in community and educational contexts. The company’s two founders and principals, Dr. Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz (Diné) and Dr. Ethan Yazzie-Mintz, bring extensive expertise and experience working with and within communities, Tribal nations and Indigenous communities, K–12 schools, non-profit organizations and foundations, and higher education institutions across a variety of social, political, and educational domains. Conceptually grounded in the idea that education is a fountain of enormous possibility and immense potential from prenatal development and continuing through adulthood, First Light Education Project uses a strengths-based and question-driven approach to create relationships, processes, and knowledge that lead to collective, transformative outcomes. For more information, visit www.firstlighteducationproject.org

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special attention is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org

BTC’s Mindy May Honored for Her Innovative Contributions to Professional Development

headshot of Mindy May

Mindy May, MS

We are thrilled to announce that Mindy May, Brazelton Touchpoint Center’s Director of Partnership and Professional Development, has been awarded the 2020 Allen C. Crocker Award for Clinical Excellence and Advocacy in the Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH).

Like BTC founder Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Crocker was a pioneer in the field of developmental behavioral pediatrics. He was a fierce advocate for children with disabilities, particularly those with Down syndrome. The Crocker Award is given each year to a BCH faculty or staff member who has made exemplary contributions in the areas of policy, advocacy, clinical care, and/or program development.

Mindy was nominated for the award by Dr. Dewana Thompson, BTC’s Program Manager for Professional and Resource Development. In her presentation of the award, Dewana read the following remarks:

“This award screams Mindy May! Mindy has worked tirelessly at the Brazelton Touchpoint Center and has demonstrated over the years her ability to develop new programs and to think outside the box regarding our trainings and program development that impact children and families. She instinctively knows what the field needs and how to think broadly about how to deliver it. These qualities are true of Mindy on the best of days and now I have seen that they are also true on the worst of days.

On March 9th, when the world shut down due to Covid-19 and our trainings and in-person professional development opportunities stopped, there was great uncertainty, ambivalence, and a lot of fear. And then on May 25th when our world stopped again after witnessing the murder of George Floyd, there was even more uncertainty, ambivalence, and lot of fear and anger. During this time when we couldn’t breathe, Mindy brought the team along, encouraged each of us, cried with us, held our concerns and fears and even our anger. She was willing to have the uncomfortable but necessary conversations about race. She was one of the first of my friends to call me and ask me if I was okay, knowing I’m raising two brown boys in this world. Mindy is always holding others. At the same time, she was able to help us all to shift to a place of seeing the opportunities in the midst of these very dark times. She is the most optimistic person I know, always seeing the glass as half full. During these times, she started seeing the glass as half empty, but she was always able to see the glass as refillable. That’s hope.

She helped everyone pivot and think broadly about the needs of the communities we serve related to Covid. She brainstormed ideas, led discussions, and most of all listened.

Out of these dark times came some of the most creative work. I am sure that I will miss many of the offerings that Mindy has helped lead, but I would like to name a few:

  • She helped us shift our 3-day face-to-face Touchpoints trainings to online formats that include both asynchronous (at you own pace) and synchronous (live interactive) sessions as well as video recordings
  • She helped bring over the finish line our First 5 California Online Professional Development Project for California’s 200,000 child care providers
  • She helped develop our Virtual Service Delivery and Strengths-Based Family Engagement webinar series that are now offered in both English and Spanish and reaching thousands of providers in the field
  • She is helping to shift our in-person training on child behaviors that adults find challenging to an online format that now, given racial disparities in pre-school suspension and expulsion, includes a module specifically dedicated to culture and race
  • She is supporting the shift of many of our offerings to include cultural awareness and cultural sensitivity components along with the impact of implicit bias and inequities based on race
  • She is helping us to expand our National Training Team to include more diverse trainers and members

One good indicator of the success of our programs is attendance. We repeatedly have upwards of two to three thousand attendees on many of our webinars, which I think is a testament to the quality, but also to the leaders behind the work.

There is one last thing that I want to mention that makes Mindy stand out and apart from many others, and that is Mindy’s natural ability to lead. Mindy is the type of leader who isn’t afraid to bring people to the table to inform the work. If she doesn’t know something, she is the first to say so and then bring people into the conversation who do. She thinks about systems in a way that helps to grow our program from the roots all the way to the petals. And lastly she has a heart for the populations we serve and constantly brings their voices into the room. She thinks about how our work will impact children and families, which is what Dr. Crocker did.

Perhaps the most admirable quality about her leadership is that she is often the mastermind for many of our amazing programs and ideas or helps to implement the ideas when she has listened to the need. But she is always the first to celebrate her team who does the execution and to turn the spotlight away from herself and shine it on them. This award gives us the perfect opportunity to turn the spotlight back on Mindy and let her contributions shine.

One of our guiding Touchpoints Principles is ‘Value disorganization and vulnerability as an opportunity.’ Mindy has done this time and time again and demonstrated her ability to turn disorganization into many wonderfully innovative programing opportunities. For all of these reasons (and so many more), and all of your work on behalf of children and families, I am thrilled to present her with the Crocker Award.”

Supporting Young Children, Families, and the Early Childhood Workforce during COVID-19

Jayne Singer head shot

Jayne Singer, PhD, IECMH-E®

The Brazelton Touchpoints Center recently collaborated with Boston Children’s Hospital and the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care on a webinar that explored early childhood development, mental health, and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on children, families, and the early care and education workforce. 

Jayne Singer, PhD, IECMH-E®—BTC’s Director of Developmental and Relational Health and a clinical psychologist in the hospital’s Division of Developmental Medicin—was a featured speaker. Other speakers included:

  • Sandra Fenwick, Chief Executive Officer, Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care
  • Faye Holder-Niles, MD, MPH, Pediatrician, Children’s Hospital Primary Care Center; Medical Director of Community Primary Care, Office of Community Health
  • Francia Dejesus, Director of the Family Child Care Network, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation
  • Anat Weisenfreund, MS, Director of Head Start & Early Learning Programs, Community Action Pioneer Valley

View the webinar recording: COVID-19: Supporting Young Children, Families, and the EEC Workforce

Access additional resources:

Say Their Names

 

Tanisha Anderson
Armaud Arbery
Jacob Blake – of this list, the only one still alive as of this writing, paralyzed from the waist down
Sandra Bland
Michael Brown
Philando Castile
Stephon Clark
Michelle Cusseaux
George Floyd
Jamel Floyd
Janisha Fonville
Eric Garner
Freddie Gray
Akai Gurley
Botham Jean
Atatiana Jefferson
Justin Howell
Trayvon Martin
Elijah McClain
Sean Monterossa
Gabriella Nevarez
Trayford Pellerin
Tamir Rice
Aura Rosser
Alton Sterling
Breonna Taylor

These are just some of the names we know.
There are so many more whose names we don’t even know.
There are some names of people that some of us may hold deeply in our hearts.

The rate of fatal police shootings in the United States shows large differences based on race. Among Black Americans, the rate of fatal police shootings between 2015 and July 2020 stood at 31 per million of the population, while for White Americans, the rate stood at 13 fatal police shootings per million of the population. (Published by Statista Research Department, Jul 31, 2020)

There will be more names until we do everything in our power to stop the killing of our Black and Brown brothers and sisters.

Speak up, come together and hold each other, act, vote. Never give up.

Josh

PS: A few resources:

How to be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi

I Fought Two Plagues and Only Beat One, The New York Times

Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson

Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness, by Anastasia Higginbotham

Racism in Health Care Isn’t Always Obvious, Scientific American

Systemic Racism as a Public Health Issue, from the Follow the Data Podcast at Bloomberg Philanthropies​

The Health Care System Has the Black Community in a Choke Hold, California Health Care Foundation

We Need to Talk About an Injustice, Bryan Stevenson’s TED Talk

New Webinar Series and Learning Community Focuses on Virtual Connections

Brazelton Touchpoints Center (BTC), in partnership with the Rapid Response Virtual Home Visiting Collaborative, has launched a webinar series and online learning community that explore the challenges and opportunities family-facing professionals navigate when working with young children and families virtually.

“When the coronavirus pandemic began, family-facing providers in every sector—from early childhood educators to pediatricians to those who work in child welfare—had to quickly pivot to providing services virtually,” said Dr. Joshua Sparrow, BTC’s executive director. “For family-facing professionals accustomed to meeting in classrooms, offices, or homes, switching to text messaging, phone calls, and video-conferencing on mobile phone and tablets has proven challenging, yet has led to some surprising discoveries.”

The webinars build on lessons learned from virtual home visiting programs that began serving families virtually prior to the pandemic, and are offered in three series of six webinars each, beginning July 2020 and running through early 2021. To ensure the webinars meet the fast-moving needs of these field—particularly as states begin to open schools, pediatric offices, and child care centers—the project will employ rapid-cycle testing to inform the design and content of future webinars.

An online learning community, facilitated by BTC trainers and faculty, will include resources, chats, and other supports to help family-facing providers apply the skills they learn in the webinar series. Participation is free and open to everyone, thanks in part to funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Overdeck Family Foundation.

BTC’s training and support will position family-facing professionals with the assets and skill sets to provide programming that lends itself to virtual delivery, even after the current crisis abates, resulting in more equitable access to those services for the many families who are not currently served due to geographic and transportation barriers as well as limited publicly funded slots and the higher costs of in-person service delivery.

To ensure the training is accessible to Spanish-speaking providers, each webinar offers live Spanish translation. The online learning community also provides Spanish translation of all content. Additionally, the webinars offer closed-captioning to interested participants.

“Families, children, and providers across the country are facing unprecedented stressors,” Sparrow said. “This project offers providers an opportunity to learn new skills, share strategies with one another, and strengthen the virtual supports they can provide to young children and families at this challenging time, while highlighting the urgent need to bridge the digital divide with equitable access for all.”

Learn more.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special attention is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org

About the Overdeck Family Foundation
Overdeck Family Foundation was founded in 2011 by John and Laura Overdeck with the goal of providing all children the opportunity to unlock their potential. The Foundation focuses exclusively on education, funding organizations that seek to open doors for every child in the U.S. by measurably enhancing education both inside and outside the classroom.

The Foundation believes that, in order to succeed, children need access to strong foundations for early learning, exceptional educators, innovative schools, and engaging out-of-school opportunities. It supports organizations and researchers that work toward these goals, helping early-stage initiatives develop and validate their programs and scaling evidence-based growth-stage organizations looking to achieve greater impact. For more information, visit www.overdeck.org

Remembering Ann Stadtler, Retired BTC Leader and Faculty

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Ann Coleman Stadtler, DNP, RN, CPNP, who passed on Saturday, July 25, 2020. There are those among us here at Brazelton Touchpoints Center who had the distinct good fortune to have known and worked with Ann closely and for a long time, those here whose lives and work have also been touched by her in ways that they might not even realize, and many more in between, as well as far and wide. And then there are the countless children and families whose lives have also benefited from Ann’s passionate dedication, whether that was because of her direct primary care as a pediatric nurse practitioner; her developmental, behavioral expertise in the Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital; her leadership at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center (BTC) as she trained or mentored thousands of practitioners worldwide; her teaching and implementation of the Newborn Behavioral Observations (NBO) with the Brazelton Institute; or her teaching and writing directly to parents of young children.

Ann was an extraordinary pediatric nurse practitioner, one of the first in the country, and the first in the Maryland county where she first practiced when NPs were not permitted into newborn nurseries. Ever one to address barriers to care with her warm yet determined will, she set precedent by seeing the newborns bedside with their new parents as a way to skirt the prohibition, and thus began her use of the NBO and dedication to family-centered practice. Ann began her career in private pediatric practice after she graduated from Boston College but then returned to Boston and joined Boston Children’s Hospital as assistant director of the Medical Diagnostic Programs and later served as director of the Preschool Function Program. Ann was clinical coordinator of the School Function Program, Pain and Incontinence Program, and Early Childhood Program. She had a special interest in children with delays in toileting and was a key designer of the family-centered “Toilet School” treatment program. She co-authored Lessons from Toilet School: A Family-Centered Approach to Toilet Training, which was published in 2017. Remarkably, in her sixties and while extraordinarily busy, she earned her doctorate in nursing practice with a dissertation operationalizing family-centered care within intensive in-patient pediatric settings.

Ann lived a life of professional and personal selflessness. She was an inspirational figure and embodied all that is best in nursing as clinician, teacher, colleague, and public health advocate. For Ann, nursing was clearly a calling, a lifestyle, and a way of living. Her capacity for empathy enabled her to acknowledge and understand people’s confusion, concerns, doubts, and fears, so that she was optimistic and always hopeful and positive in the face of adversity. Indeed, Ann helped change the way we look at children and families. She always put the patient first, and took the time to listen without judgment or prejudice.

Ann was one of the founding faculty at BTC and, indeed, there would not be a BTC had it not been for her unwavering determination and skills. She served as director of BTC and led BTC’s professional development program for over 20 years. Ann was director of the Touchpoints Outreach and Network Development and also worked with the Brazelton Institute before retiring in 2018. She dedicated her life to finding and developing new models of care to promote a more compassionate, family-centered approach based on respect, openness, equality, and mutuality, and she invited patients to participate in decision-making. She was caring, considerate, concerned, and compassionate. As a result, she commanded the unfailing loyalty and admiration of colleagues—nurses, pediatricians, parents, and children across the world.

Ann received the Massachusetts March of Dimes Nurse Practitioner of the Year Award, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates & Practitioners’ Loretta C. Ford Outstanding Fellow Award, the Wong Hock Boon Professorship from Singapore University Hospital, the BCH Mel Levine Award, That’s the Spirit Award, and the BTC Outstanding Leader Award.

The depth of our sense of loss is equal to her limitless compassion and caring.  She will be profoundly missed.

Kevin Nugent and Jayne Singer