Joshua D. Sparrow, MD

Director, Brazelton Touchpoints Center, Boston Children’s Hospital
President, Brazelton Touchpoints Foundation
Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Part-time,  Harvard Medical School

Phone: 617-355-7639
Fax: 617-730-0060

A child psychiatrist, Dr. Sparrow’s care in the 1990s for children hospitalized for severe psychiatric disturbances, often associated with physical and sexual abuse, and for developmental delays aggravated by social and economic deprivation, prompted his interest in community-based prevention and health promotion. At the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, his work focuses on cultural adaptations of family support programs, organizational professional development, and aligning systems of care with community strengths and priorities, and has included collaborative consultation with the Harlem Children’s Zone and American Indian Early Head Start Programs among many others. He has lectured extensively, nationally and internationally, on related topics and has consulted to media programming for children and parents, including PBS Frontline and Discovery Kids.

Co-author with Dr. T. Berry Brazelton of 8 books and a weekly New York Times Syndicate column, “Families Today,” Dr. Sparrow is also a contributing editor to Scholastic Services’ Parent and Child magazine. In 2006, he revised with Dr. Brazelton Touchpoints: Birth to Three, 2nd Edition and in 2010, co-edited Nurturing Children and Families: Building on the Legacy of T. B. Brazelton, a textbook on the ongoing generativity of Brazelton’s seminal research in a wide range of fields. Dr. Sparrow worked for several years as a preschool teacher and journalist in New York City prior to attending medical school.


  • BA Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut
  • MD Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

Postdoctoral Training

  • Transitional Intern, Cambridge Hospital
  • General Psychiatry Resident, Cambridge Hospital
  • Child Psychiatry Fellow, McLean Hospital

Areas of Special Interest and Expertise

  • Culture and dynamic developmental systems theory in child, family, and community healing, recovery and development
  • Design, implementation, evaluation and adaptation of community-based preventive interventions based on culturally-grounded, developmental systems theory-informed approaches to child, family and community development

Selected Publications

  • Brazelton TB, Sparrow JD. Touchpoints Three to Six: Your Child’s Emotional and Behavioral Development. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books, 2001.
  • Sparrow JD, Brazelton, TB. A Developmental Approach to the Prevention of Common Behavioral Problems. In: McInerny TK, Adam HM, Campbell DE, Kamat DM, Kelleher KJ, eds. American Academy of Pediatrics Textbook of Pediatric Care 1st Ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2008.
  • Sparrow JD. Aligning Systems of Care with the Relational Imperative of Development: Building Community through Collaborative Consultation. In: Lester B, Sparrow JD, eds. Nurturing Young Children and Families: Building on the Legacy of T.B. Brazelton. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell Scientific; 2010.
  • Lester B, Sparrow JD. eds. Nurturing Young Children and Families: Building on the Legacy of T.B. Brazelton. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell Scientific; 2010
  • Sparrow JD, Brazelton TB. In: Zuckerman B, Parker S, Augustyn M, eds. Touchpoints for Anticipatory Guidance in Well Childcare Visits in the First Three Years. In: Handbook of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 3rd Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011.