Remembering Marlies Zammuto

The Brazelton Touchpoints community mourns the loss of Marlies Zammuto, a colleague, mentor, friend, and lifetime advocate for children and families.

“The key to life is truly living, not just existing. Please take the time for self-care and make room for fun and joy every day. It can sustain you over the most difficult challenges. Thanks to all my family and friends who bring so much sweetness and joy into my life.” – Marlies Zammuto

You can follow this link to see pictures of Marlies enjoying every moment of the life she lived:
If you would like to share your own memories of Marlies, please follow this link and include your stories and pictures if you like. The link takes you to a Google Doc that will include everyone’s memories from across the network.

Brazelton Touchpoints Center is Hiring for a New Managing Director – Join Our Team Today and Make a Difference!

The Brazelton Touchpoints Center (BTC) seeks a Managing Director with passionate commitment to BTC’s mission, to oversee and manage key aspects of operations and programs, including data driven operationalization and implementation of strategic plans and priorities, and cross-learning and integration across BTC’s rich and varied professional development, organizational learning and change, research and evaluation, and communications and marketing programs.

See full job description here.

Brazelton Touchpoints Center September Newsletter

Read our September Newsletter here! 

Berry Brazelton’s Contributions to Research, Policy, and Practice: Improving Contexts and Conditions for Families with Infants

NAEYC Young Children Journal has featured an article by Joshua Sparrow, MD, Director of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, that looks back on Dr. T. Berry Brazelton’s work and his devotion to understanding children’s behavior and development, the strengths that parents bring to raising them, and the challenges that parents face. .

Read the full article here.

Statement on Keeping Families Together


An Executive Order was signed on Wednesday, June 20 that may be a small step toward acknowledging that the recent policy changes forcing the separation of immigrant families crossing our borders are unacceptable, and that their consequences have been catastrophic. The practices resulting from those policies have caused acute and severe suffering for infants, toddlers, young children, and their families, and put their long-term health and mental health at risk.

It is critical to be clear that this Executive Order does not specify if, when, and how the more than 2,300 children who have been separated from their families beginning in May will be reunited with them. It does not address the need for treatment that these children and their families now need as a result of these traumatic separations. And it does not lay out a clear path for keeping families who have not yet been separated together, in conditions that are safe and healthy for infants and children.

This Executive Order, a first small acknowledgment of preventable harm that has already been done, is the result of your – all of our – leadership and advocacy on behalf of infants, children, and families – regardless of their citizenship status. But the fate of these children, and those who have not yet been separated from their families, will depend on our continued mobilization, and the unity of our voices. We must stay vigilant and persistent on this issue, and all issues that are damaging to children’s futures, and to their wellbeing today.

Together we can carry the momentum forward in support of ALL family-first and family-friendly policies. You can be an agent of change for families in a wide variety of ways, for example, by calling, emailing and writing your elected officials to voice your opposition to separating families as well as your support for important family policies such as children’s health insurance; seeking out information on accessible resources in your communities for families and children facing adversities; and supporting businesses that take a stand on social injustice and provide living wages and benefits.

Together we will stand up for every baby and child everywhere –we are not alone, and we can make change happen.

Thank you for all that you do to nurture and protect children and families, today, and tomorrow.


Joshua Sparrow, MD
Director, Brazelton Touchpoints Center

Brazelton Touchpoints Center Spring Newsletter

View our latest Newsletter here:

Brazelton Touchpoints Center Spring Newsletter

The 2018 National Forum: Celebrate the Legacy, Empower the Future a Success!

Over three days in April in Newton, Massachusetts, BTC held its 2018 National Forum: Celebrate the Legacy, Empower the Future.

On Monday, April 23rd more than 250 practitioners, educators, and family-facing professionals gathered for the Dr. T. Berry Brazelton Symposium and Celebration. The Symposium featured speakers working on the front lines of social justice with children and families in communities all across the country, and who are, in their own ways, carrying forward Dr. Brazelton’s legacy.

The day began with a traditional native blessing and the reading of a poem to honor and remember Dr. Brazelton. Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz of the American Indian College Fund led off with a dynamic talk about the quest for equity in Indigenous early childhood opportunities, with Sandra Gutierrez of Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors following with a focus on empowered parents as agents of change. Later that afternoon, Dr. Renee Boynton-Jarrett of Boston Medical Center inspired the crowd with the power of networks to achieve shared community objectives, while Geoffrey Canada of the Harlem Children’s Zone provided powerful testimony to what’s required and what’s gained by investing in the strength and resiliency of communities.

Before lunch, a delegation representing Massachusetts Senator Edward J. Markey paid tribute to Dr. Brazelton for his lifetime of accomplishments to American society, and presented a flag that had flown over the US Capitol building to Dr. Brazelton’s children and grandchildren – what a true honor!

During Monday evening, a celebration of Dr. Brazelton’s life and legacy was held, where memories were shared, toasts were made, and emotions flowed. Among the speakers were Sandra Fenwick, the CEO of Boston Children’s Hospital, Jeri Robinson, Vice President for Early Childhood Initiatives at the Boston Children’s Museum, and Ann Linehan, Deputy Director of the Office of Head Start. A video paying tribute to Dr. Brazelton was shown, and the evening closed with a true homage to Dr. Brazelton as the crowd indulged in vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, his absolute favorite!

On Tuesday, April 24th, the BTC Site Network held a professional development day, with nearly 100 attendees from Touchpoints Sites across the country and the world sharing strategies and solutions to family-engagement and unlocking the strengths of parents and caregivers to support their children’s healthy development. That afternoon, Ann Stadtler, DNP, RN, CPNP, who retired in December 2017, was celebrated and honored for her contributions to the BTC Site Network and children and families everywhere. To honor Ann’s legacy, BTC has launched the Ann Stadtler Fund for Professional Development, which will raise money to support professional development opportunities for providers and sites across the country. To read a tribute to Ann that appeared in our last newsletter, click here.

Closing out the 2018 National Forum was the BTC Tribal Touchpoints Network’s annual retreat on Wednesday, April 25th, which this year brought together more than 20 tribal leaders, educators and practitioners for a day of collaboration, networking, and cross-fertilization of ideas, solutions, and approaches to shared challenges and issues.

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2018 National Forum and all those who helped make it possible, including BTC’s generous sponsors. The Forum was an astounding tribute to the life and work of Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, and a true catalyst for carrying forward his legacy to the next generation and beyond!

In Memoriam: T. Berry Brazelton, MD, 1918 – 2018

It is with deep sadness that we share the news that our esteemed colleague and beloved friend and mentor, T. Berry Brazelton, MD, passed away this morning, March 13, 2018. The world has lost a true champion for babies, young children, and families.

Dr. Brazelton, Professor of Pediatrics Emeritus at Harvard Medical School, was one of the most influential scientists, clinicians, and advocates in pediatrics and child development of the modern era. Since founding the Brazelton Touchpoints Center in 1996 to carry on his transformational work, he remained actively engaged in leading the Center until his death.

There are many ways to honor, celebrate, and memorialize Dr. Brazelton:

Honoring Dr. T. Berry Brazelton (1918 – 2018): A Symposium and Celebration. Learn More and Register.

As you may now know, the world lost a true champion for children and families with the peaceful passing of Dr. T. Berry Brazelton on Tuesday, March 13 at his home in Barnstable, Massachusetts.  Wonderful obituaries have appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post, among others.

We are deeply touched by the outpouring of tributes, support and well wishes, and look forward to celebrating and honoring the life and legacy of a true revolutionary on Monday, April 23rd, 2018.  In the meantime, please feel free to join the conversation on our Facebook page, where people are posting tributes, stories, and memories of Dr. Brazelton and seeking comfort in the company of others.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to Michael Accardi with any and all questions you may have.  Thank you for your support and on behalf of the entire Touchpoints family, we look forward to seeing everyone on Monday, April 23rd for a celebration honoring Dr. Brazelton, his life’s work, and the relationships that he sparked that live on.​

Learn more or register for the event here.


Ann Stadtler, DNP, RN, CPNP: Leaving a Lasting Legacy

Ann Stadtler, DNP, RN, CPNP, knew early in life what she wanted to be when she grew up.  As the oldest of four girls, Ann recalls the value placed on family and education, and serving as a strong role model for her younger sisters.  “We were an amazing, busy, wonderful family,” Ann says, adding that she learned early on one thing she wanted for herself and her future – to be a mother.

Her family’s emphasis on education led Ann to another aspiration, that of being a nurse.  “I loved the idea of taking care of people,” she says, with that love leading her to many new and unique opportunities throughout her storied career.  Starting out as a charge nurse in an emergency room, Ann immediately gravitated to helping families navigate difficult and stressful situations.  “I loved the crisis of the ER, and the relational aspect of helping families and taking care of them,” she adds.

Moving seven times in eight years following her marriage to John Stadtler, then an active duty Marine who served in Vietnam shortly after their first son was born, Ann found strength in her family, which carried her through uncertainties and fears.  Perhaps no one more than her Grandma Minahan embodied Ann’s powerful and supportive family dynamic, cultivating Ann’s inner strengths as a new parent, and the confidence that her baby would help guide her forward and show her how to be a mom, a parent, and a caregiver.

As Ann’s self-awareness of her strengths as a parent empowered her as a mother, so too was she empowered as a provider in her role as a nurse who believed that primary care could be more supportive of families.  Joining a private pediatric practice after settling down with her family in Maryland, Ann immediately became an advocate for partnering with parents, and of the importance of working with families to help them discover their own strengths.  Among her responsibilities were to see newborns in the hospital following delivery, and meet with parents on their two week visits.

Always the trailblazer, Ann was the first Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in Montgomery County, MD and found herself visiting newborns and their families in a hospital where a sign outside the nursery read “No NPs in the Nursery.”  Not the least bit discouraged, Ann seized the opportunity to model the change she wanted to see in the world, and after much diligent advocacy, persuaded the hospital to let her volunteer to teach newborn assessment to the nurses in the nursery.  Ann’s familiarity with the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale and her application of it in her interactions with nurses and families was an immediate success, and set the stage for her later work on family engagement.

After eight years in private practice, Ann and her family moved to Greater Boston, where she became the associate director of the Developmental Medicine Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, the leading pediatric hospital in the United States.  It was here that Ann’s life goals and passions converged and helped catalyze a transformation in the fields of pediatrics, early care, and family engagement.  Having watched Dr. Brazelton on television, studied his books, and very much lived a strengths-based approach to her parenting and professional practice akin to what Dr. Brazelton encouraged in parents, Ann suddenly found herself interacting with him on a daily basis.  An inspiration in her life was now a colleague and thought partner – a gift Ann feels blessed for every day.  While working in clinics with parents, Ann pioneered a family-centered approach to toilet training called Toilet School, which has since helped hundreds of parents and families navigate the challenges of toilet training, and proved so effective that it inspired a book Ann and her colleague Claudia Quigg published in 2017.

In the mid-nineties, Dr. Brazelton invited Ann to join him in founding the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, and with just enough funding to cover their work in the very beginning, she seized the opportunity and hit the ground running.  Ann played a critical role early on, helping to design the first professional development programs offered by the Center, piloting them with nurses in Boston, and then scaling them through programs in Illinois, California, and South Carolina.  Through Ann’s leadership and vision, those initial programs grew to become what today is the Touchpoints Site Network, which brings organizations actively practicing Touchpoints together to share knowledge, solutions, and strategies for family-centered care and engagement.

The Touchpoints Site Network and Professional Development Program are legacies Ann leaves as she retires from a career spent making a real and tangible impact on thousands of families, children and providers.  And that legacy carries on through the Network, which, just as Ann’s grandmother embodied her strong supportive family environment, the Network embodies Ann’s commitment to Touchpoints and the transformative outcomes it has for providers, and the children and families with whom they work.

Reflecting back on a career spent with children and families, Ann has much wisdom to share, even as she has stayed true to Dr. Brazelton’s ethos of never giving advice unless asked for it (we asked!).  Ann shares that “For parents, I always encourage them to be willing to learn from your mistakes, and find people who are willing to partner with you, listen to you, and come along side you” on the parenting journey.  For providers working with children and families, Ann espouses the value of “not assuming you know all the answers and in helping parents see solutions as their own, and not something someone has given them.”  And having completed her Doctor of Nursing degree from Boston’s prestigious Northeastern University as an adult learner much later in life, Ann also encourages everyone to “never stop learning.”

As Ann settles into a new routine in retirement, she knows she will never be far away from her work and colleagues, watching every step everyone takes on their own journeys, and always there for support.  And, there are six grandchildren and a host of new pursuits, including serving as co-chair of the DNP Advisory Committee at her alma mater, and a new game called pickle ball she’s discovered while enjoying the Florida sunshine as a newly minted retiree.  But that’s a story for another time…