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Project Information

Project Information

Forum for Children’s Well-Being: Promoting Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health for Children and Youth

Project Scope:

The Board on Children, Youth, and Families will establish a Forum for Children’s Wellbeing: Promoting Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health for Children and Youth.  The Forum will engage in dialogue and discussion to connect the prevention, treatment, and implementation sciences with settings where children are seen and cared for, including primary health care, schools, preschools and child care, social service and child welfare, juvenile justice, family court, military, and community based organizations, and to create systems that are effective and affordable in addressing children’s needs.

Status: Current


RSO: Le Menestrel, Suzanne


Behavioral and Social Sciences
Health and Medicine

Geographic Focus:

Committee Membership

Cheryl Polk - (Co-Chair)
Cheryl Polk, Ph.D. (Co-Chair), joined the HighScope Educational Research Foundation as its president in 2013. For more than 25 years, Dr. Polk has promoted healthy child development, especially for children at risk of school failure and their families, through her work as a psychologist, academic, and civic volunteer. She served as the executive director of the Lisa and John Pritzker Family Fund where her insight into early childhood development and philanthropy helped create innovative intervention programs for children exposed to community and interpersonal trauma. She was president of the board of directors of Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families and served as a board member of that organization for more than 10 years. Dr. Polk received her Ph.D. in psychology from California School of Professional Psychology-SF/Alliant International University.
David W. Willis - (Co-Chair)
David W. Willis, M.D. (Co-Chair), is a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Social Policy. He leads a national initiative to advance early relational health for child health and communities. A board -certified, developmental-behavioral pediatrician, Dr. Willis was a clinician in Oregon for more than 30 years with a practice focused on early childhood development and family therapy. Most recently, he was the first executive director of the Perigee Fund, a Seattle-based philanthropy focused on strengthening of the social and emotional development of all babies and toddlers, and on advancing the workforce to do so. From 2012-2018, he served as director of the Division of Home Visiting and Early Childhood Services at the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Maternal Child Health Bureau, in Washington DC, and continues to be thought leader in home visiting and early childhood systems. During his career, Dr. Willis has also been a Harris Mid-Career Fellow with childhood development nonprofit ZERO TO THREE; the past president of the Oregon Pediatric Society; an executive member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Early Education and Child Care; and chair of the AAP’s Board’s Early Brain & Child Development Strategic Initiative. Dr. Willis has been a national lecturer, advisor to early childhood national policy and visionary for the transformation of child health care in coordination with early childhood communities and focused on the advancement of early relational health and young children’s social-emotional and developmental well-being. Dr. Willis received his M.D. from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.
Sandra Barrueco
Sandra Barrueco, Ph.D., is an associate professor and director of clinical training at Catholic University of America. Her research program utilizes a prevention science framework to examine and address developmental and mental health difficulties among language-minority, immigrant, and migrant children. She is currently co-leading a nationally-representative study of migrant and seasonal head start with over 1400 participants that is focused on infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their agricultural families. At Catholic University, she is a faculty member of the Children, Families, and Cultures focus within the Clinical Psychology program. She serves as director of Latin American and Latino Studies and a fellow of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies. Further, she has been engaged in the local and national communities, including D.C. Bilingual Charter School, the Advisory Committee of the American

Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Immigration, the federal Expert Panel on Research Methods with Young Dual Language Learners, and the Policy and Communications Committee of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD). She is a licensed clinical psychologist in Maryland and the District of Columbia. She focused on the identification and prevention of developmental and mental health difficulties as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neuropsychology at Kennedy Krieger Institute. She also completed a research postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she designed and conducted prevention and intervention science investigations. More recently, she participated in a faculty fellowship in the National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education at the University of Virginia. She obtained her doctorate at the University of Denver in clinical child psychology with an emphasis in cognitive neuroscience and an internship at Children’s National Medical Center in clinical child and pediatric psychology.

William R. Beardslee
William R. Beardslee, M.D. (Co-Chair), directs the Baer Prevention Initiatives at Boston Children's Hospital, is Senior Research Scientist at the Judge Baker Children’s Center, and the Distinguished Gardner-Monks Professor of Child Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Beardslee's long-standing research interest has centered on the development of children at risk because of parental adversities such as mental illness or poverty. His work is focused on the ways in which self- and shared understanding help individuals and families cope with adversity. His early work described civil rights workers and how they endured and significantly changed the South. He studied resilience in survivors of cancer and in children of depressed parents. This led to the development of effective public health interventions for families facing depression, and a ten year randomized trial that showed they were safe and led to lasting gains. This received high ratings in the National Registry of Effective Programs and is being disseminated widely in Finland, Norway, Costa Rica, and in the United States. Dr. Beardslee and his colleagues adapted the principles in a teacher training and empowerment program for use in Head Start and Early Head Start called Family Connections. He directs the Boston site of a multisite study on the prevention of depression in adolescents using Greg Clarke’s cognitive-behavioral model. This work has demonstrated sustained preventive effects for more than 60 months after enrollment. He is the author of over 225 scientific articles and two books: The Way Out Must Lead In: Life Histories in the Civil Rights Movement and Out of the Darkened Room: Protecting the Children and Strengthening the Family When a Parent is Depressed. Dr. Beardslee has received numerous awards including the Blanche F. Ittleson Award of the American Psychiatric Association for outstanding published research contributing to the mental health of children, the Catcher in the Rye Award for Advocacy of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Human Rights Award from the Department of Mental Health of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Emory University and the Community, Culture, and Prevention Science Award from the Society for Prevention Research and in 2012, was awarded the Judge Baker Children’s Center World of Children Award. Dr. Beardslee is on the Board of the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Task Force, and Families for Depression Awareness. He served as a member of the Institute of Medicine-National Research Council (IOM-NRC) Committee on Depression, Parenting Practices, and the Healthy Development of Young Children, and the IOM-NRC Committee on Prevention of Mental Disorders and Substance Abuse Among Children, Youth, and Young Adults.
Harolyn M. Belcher
Harolyn M. E. Belcher, M.D., MHA, is the director of the Center for Diversity in Public Health Leadership Training at Kennedy Krieger Institute. She is PI of three Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public health leadership training programs to promote diversity in public health research, training, and leadership experiences for undergraduate, public health graduate, medical, dental, pharmacy, and veterinary students. Dr. Belcher is the co-director of the National Center for Health Policy Research Scholars funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In 2016, Dr. Belcher received 5-year funding from HRSA to promote diversity in the maternal and child field. Dr. Belcher was Principal Investigator (PI) of two National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) grant funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and completed a K-award from National Institute of Mental Health to evaluate a curriculum that promotes parental emotional well-being and knowledge of child development for young parents of children enrolled in Early Head Start. She is co-PI on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to conduct a cost comparison of two evidence-based parent interventions for young children with emotional and behavioral problems. Dr. Belcher was co-investigator on a community-based Head Start family and child behavioral health prevention intervention grant funded by SAMHSA. In addition, Dr. Belcher was the PI on a SAMHSA grant providing comprehensive substance abuse treatment, health care, social work, parent education, and evaluations for women who were pregnant and drug-dependent and, following birth, their children. Dr. Belcher collaborated on community-based initiatives to support recruitment and parent education of African American parents participating in church-based foster care for children with drug exposure and HIV infection in Tampa, Florida. While in Florida, Dr. Belcher was the director of the Developmental Evaluation and Intervention (DEI) program at University of South Florida. The DEI program provided center and home-based evaluation and treatment services for infants and young children who were treated in Neonatal Intensive Care Units and whose families’ incomes were at 250% of poverty or lower. This program expanded to serve children and families in five counties. Dr. Belcher received her B.S. in zoology from Howard University in 1980, her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine in 1982, and her master's in health science focusing on mental health in 2002 from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
C. H. Brown
C. Hendricks Brown, Ph.D., M.A. (Co-Chair), is Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Preventive Medicine, and Medical Social Sciences in the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He also holds an adjunct appointment in the Department Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health as well as the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami. He directs the NIDA- funded Center for Prevention Implementation Methodology (Ce-PIM) for Drug Abuse and HIV, and an NIMH-funded study to synthesize findings from individual-level data across multiple randomized trials for adolescent depression. He is also the co-director of the CDC funded Prevention of Youth Violence Center. Since 1985, he has received NIH funding to direct the Prevention Science and Methodology Group (PSMG), now a national network of over 250 scientists and methodologists who are working on the design of preventive field trials and their analysis, and implementation of prevention programs. Recently, his work has focused on the prevention of drug abuse, conduct disorder, depression, and suicide. Brown co-chairs the National Academy of Medicine Forum on Promoting Children’s Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health has been a member of the recent National Academy of Medicine committee on prevention science, as well as serving on numerous federal panels, advisory boards, and editorial boards.
Tina L. Cheng
Tina Cheng, M.D., Ph.D., is the Given Foundation Professor of Pediatrics, director of the Department of Pediatrics for the School of Medicine with joint appointment in the Bloomberg School of Public Health and Pediatrician-in-Chief of Johns Hopkins University. Her clinical work, teaching and research focuses on child, adolescent and family perspectives on improving health and community-integrated models to interrupt the intergenerational cycle of disadvantage. She co-leads the NIH-funded DC Baltimore Research Center on Child Health Disparities which outlined a research action agenda on child health disparities. She led the establishment of two clinical and research innovation centers at Johns Hopkins: Centro SOL: Johns Hopkins Center for Salud/(Health) and Opportunity for Latinos and the Rales Center on the Integration of Health and Education. Dr. Cheng has developed community-integrated models of primary care to address the needs of vulnerable children, adolescents and families. An author of over 150 publications, she has led randomized trials of interventions to promote child and family health and resilience. A past president of the Academic Pediatric Association she has held leadership roles in the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has received numerous recognitions including the American Academy of Pediatrics Education Award and the Job Lewis Smith Award for community pediatrics, the Vice Dean's Award for the Advancement of Women Faculty and the Academic Pediatric Association's Public Policy and Advocacy Award. Dr. Cheng was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2017. She received her M.D. from Brown University School of Medicine.
Nathaniel Counts
Nathaniel Z. Counts, J.D., is Senior Policy Director at Mental Health America where he works on innovative federal and state policy solutions for problems in behavioral health. In particular, he focuses on issues in incentive alignment and sustainable financing in behavioral health care, as well as issues in population health. Mr. Counts serves on the Board of Directors for the One Circle Foundation, CHADD (Children and Adults with ADD), and the Flawless Foundation. He received his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was a Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy Student Fellow, and his B.A. in biology from Johns Hopkins University. His most recent publication was "Promoting Mental Health and Well-Being in Public Health Law and Practice" in the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics.
Robert H. Dugger
Robert H. Dugger, Ph.D., is a managing partner at Hanover Provident Capital LLC. He also serves as a council for a Strong America Board Member, and also is co-chair of the ReadyNation Advisory Board. Since joining the organization in 2014, Dr. Dugger has used his decades of experience to advocate for strong families, and for policies that support America’s children. For his years of service to others, he has won several awards, including the McCormick Foundation’s Center for Early Childhood Leadership’s “Corporate Champion for Change” award, ZERO TO THREE’s “Reiner Award for Outstanding Advocacy on Behalf of Very Young Children” award, and the Committee for Economic Development’s “Trustee Leadership Award.” Dr. Dugger also helped organize the Institute for New Economic thinking, and heads the organization’s Global Working Group on Human Capital and Economic Opportunity. He graduated from Davidson College, and received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Kimberly E. Hoagwood
Kimberly Eaton Hoagwood, Ph.D., is Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine. Her research portfolio focuses on four areas: child, adolescent and family outcomes; parent engagement and activation; implementation science in policy contexts; and quality measurement. She also works with the Division of Child, Adolescent and Family Services at the New York State Office of Mental Health (NYSOMH) as a Research Scientist. Dr. Hoagwood received her Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1987. Prior to joining the faculty at NYU, Dr. Hoagwood was Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry at Columbia University. Before that, she was Associate Director for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Research in the Office of the Director at the National Institute of Mental Health, where she also directed the Child and Adolescent Services Research program. Dr. Hoagwood is Director and Principal Investigator of a National Institute of Mental Health-funded Advanced Center on Implementation and Dissemination Science in States for Children and Families (called the IDEAS Center) (P30 MH090322) and the Evidence-based Treatment Dissemination Center, funded by the NYSOMH. She is Co-Director with Mary McKay of the Community Technical Assistance Center, which serves all of the child serving agencies in New York State. She is Principal Investigator on several other major grants and subcontracts, all focused on improving the quality of services and outcomes for children and families.
Stephanie M. Jones
Stephanie M. Jones, Ph.D., is the Gerald S. Lesser Professor in Early Childhood Development at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research, anchored in prevention science, focuses on the effects of poverty and exposure to violence on children and youth's social, emotional, and behavioral development. Over the last ten years, her work has focused on both evaluation research addressing the impact of preschool and elementary focused social-emotional learning interventions on behavioral and academic outcomes and classroom practices; as well as new curriculum development, implementation, and testing. Dr. Jones is a recipient of the Grawemeyer Award in Education for her work with Zigler and Walter Gilliam on A Vision for Universal Preschool Education (Cambridge University Press, 2006) and a recipient of the Joseph E. Zins Early-Career Distinguished Contribution Award for Action Research in Social and Emotional Learning. Dr. Jones' research portfolio emphasizes the importance of conducting rigorous scientific research, including program evaluation that also results in accessible content for early and middle childhood practitioners and policymakers. Her developmental and experimental research investigates the causes and consequences of social-emotional problems and competencies; strategies for altering the pathways that shape children's social-emotional development; and programs, interventions, and pedagogy that foster social-emotional competencies among children, adults, and environments. Her policy-driven research with colleague Nonie Lesaux focuses on the challenge of simultaneously expanding and improving the quality of early childhood education, at scale (The Leading Edge of Early Childhood Education, Harvard Education Press, 2016). Dr. Jones serves on numerous national advisory boards and expert consultant groups related to social-emotional development and child and family anti-poverty policies, including the National Boards of Parents as Teachers and Engaging Schools. She consults to program developers, including Sesame Street, and has conducted numerous evaluations of programs and early education efforts, including Reading, Writing, Respect and Resolution, Resolving Conflict Creatively, SECURe, and the Head Start CARES initiative. Across projects and initiatives, Dr. Jones maintains a commitment to supporting the alignment of preK-3 curricula and instructional practices. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University.
Kelly Kelleher
Kelly J. Kelleher, M.D., MPH, is the director of the Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice and vice president of Health Services Research at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He is also on faculty at Nationwide’s Center for Injury Research and Policy, Center for Suicide Prevention and Research, Developmental/ Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship, and Patient-Centered Pediatric Research Program. Dr. Kelleher is also Professor in the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine. He is a pediatrician whose research interests focus on accessibility, effectiveness and quality of health care services for children and their families, especially those affected by mental disorders, substance abuse or violence. He has a longstanding interest in formal outcomes research for mental health and substance abuse services. He earned an M.D. from the Ohio State University College of Medicine and an M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.
Amy W. Knight
Amy Wimpey Knight, MHA, is the chief operating officer of Children's Hospital Association (CHA), representing over 220 hospital organizations and pediatric programs dedicated to improving child health through innovation in policy and care delivery. With children’s hospitals across the United States, CHA focuses on advancing advocacy at the federal level; setting the standards for quality and safety in pediatric care; generating the data and information to drive change; leveraging the purchasing power of its members; and creating opportunities for children’s hospitals to share and spread knowledge generated within and outside of our industry. She oversees the organization’s quality and safety, data and analytics, member and advocacy communications, hospital/health system relations, education, child health advocacy, human resources and governance, and plays a key role in our public policy initiatives. Prior to joining the Children’s Hospital Association in 2011, she was a partner and the director of children’s hospital services for Kurt Salmon, a global management consulting firm. As a strategic advisor to children’s hospitals and academic medical centers across North America, she understands their strategic and operating issues in the evolving legislative, payer and regulatory environments in addition to their local and regional markets. She routinely led engagements with hospital executive teams and boards to position their hospitals for success in their local, regional and national markets. Her professional career also includes management positions in children’s hospitals working closely with schools of medicine, physician groups and a variety of community-based providers. She has a Master of Health Administration from Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from The University of Texas at Austin.
Tyler Norris
Tyler Norris, MDiv, is chief executive, Well Being Trust, an impact philanthropy with a mission to advance the mental, social and spiritual health of the nation. Over the past three decades, Tyler has shaped health and development initiatives in hundreds of communities in the US and around the world. He has an extensive background as a social entrepreneur, animateur, and trusted advisor to philanthropies, health systems, government agencies and collaborative partnerships working to improve the health of people and places. Prior to becoming the first chief executive of Well Being Trust, Tyler served as vice president, Total Health at Kaiser Permanente, where he led “anchor institution” work, applying all organizational assets to impact the economic, social and environmental determinants of health. He previously served as the founding president and CEO of a leading health consultancy, Community Initiatives, and as founding board chair of IP3, the social enterprise that gave birth to the Community Commons, a GIS data mapping platform. In recent years, Tyler also served as a board member and/or advisor to the Convergence Partnership; Enterprise Community Partners; Active Living by Design; Samueli Institute; the Public Health Institute and the YMCA of the USA. Previously, he helped open the Abraham Path through the heart of the Middle East, and led the Kuhiston Foundation that helped establish the national park system in Tajikistan. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Executive Program, earned a Master of Divinity degree from Naropa University, and has a bachelor’s degree in World Political Economy from Colorado College.
Carlos E. Santos
Carlos E. Santos, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at University of California, Los Angeles’ Luskin School of Public Affairs. Dr. Santos’ research draws on diverse disciplines, theories and methods to better understand how oppressions (e.g., racism, heterosexism, etc.) overlap to create unique conditions for individuals; conditions that are shaped by the contexts one occupies, with implications for one’s development and well-being. He is interested in how individuals cope with these overlapping stressors through attitudes associated with membership in different social groups (e.g., having pride in one’s ethnic-racial and/or sexual identity group), and positions one occupies (e.g., being undocumented), and

whether such coping attenuate or amplify the negative consequences of overlapping oppressions on mental health, educational outcomes, and civic engagement. Dr. Santos has authored nearly 30 peer reviewed publications. His co-edited book with Adriana Umaña-Taylor, Studying Ethnic Identity: Methodological and Conceptual Approaches Across Disciplines, was published in 2015 by the American Psychological Association Press. He co-edited a peer reviewed journal section on the applications of intersectionality to the helping professions published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, and he co - edited a special issue on the integration of an intersectionality lens in developmental science published in New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development. Along with colleagues, he has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health. In 2017, he was awarded the “Emerging Professional Contributions to Research Award” by the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Santos received his Ph.D. in developmental psychology from New York University, a master’s degree in education from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s degree from New York University.

Leslie R. Walker-Harding
Leslie R. Walker-Harding, M.D., is the Ford/Morgan Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Associate Dean at the University of Washington and the Chief Academic Officer and Senior Vice President of Seattle Children’s Hospital. Prior to returning to Seattle Dr. Walker-Harding was Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Medical Director of Penn State Children’s Hospital. From 2007 to 2016, she was the Division Chief of Adolescent Medicine and Vice Chair of Faculty Development in Pediatrics at the University of Washington. Dr. Walker-Harding serves on a number of national boards and committees including the Council of the American Pediatric Society (APS). She currently is chair of the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (CODI) in the APS. She serves on the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Substance Use and Prevention (COSUP), and she is a past President of the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine. She has served on a number of committees at the National Academies of Medicine focused on adolescent and young adult health. Her research has been focused on prevention of adolescent risk behaviors spanning adolescent and young adult substance abuse and ADHD to adolescent pregnancy prevention. Diversity and inclusion in the workforce of health providers as a way of creating excellence in academic medicine and eliminating health disparities has also been a national focus of hers. She has publications both in adolescent and young adult health, and improving excellence in health care and research by increasing workforce diversity and inclusion.
Rahil D. Briggs - (Ex Officio Member)
Rahil D. Briggs, Psy.D., is national director of HealthySteps. In this role, she is responsible for all aspects of the program’s operations, financial sustainability, evaluation and research, policy, model enhancements, and professional development and training. She comes to this role after a successful career at Montefiore Health System in New York, where she grew the HealthySteps footprint from one to 21 practices, serving over 30,000 children annually. The Montefiore HealthySteps model informed the roll out of HealthySteps throughout New York State. Additionally, Dr. Briggs is the founder and former director of Pediatric Behavioral Health Services at Montefiore Medical Group, one of the nation’s largest integrated pediatric behavioral health services in the nation. Dr. Briggs is the editor of Integrated Early Childhood Behavioral Health in Primary Care: A Guide to Implementation and Evaluation, published by Springer (2016) and the recipient of the 2018 Healthcare Delivery Award from the Academic Pediatric Association. She is associate professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Briggs completed her undergraduate work at Duke University (magna cum laude) and her doctoral work at New York University.
Martha B. Davis - (Ex Officio Member)
Martha B. Davis, MSS, is a Senior Program Officer at the he Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Her work focuses on the root causes of violence, including child abuse and intimate partner violence. She seeks to address violence through her work in strengthening families to create nurturing, healthy environments that promote children’s positive development. She was the co-founder and executive director of the Institute for Safe Families (ISF), a Philadelphia non-profit organization. She developed innovative programming, guided ISF’s initiatives as an incubator for state-of-the-art ideas, and convened forums to promote dialogue and collaboration across systems. Ms. Davis’ work at ISF included presenting and writing on family violence issues both nationally and locally. For more than 18 years, she also served as an adjunct faculty member of the Community College of Philadelphia, where she taught courses in behavioral health, including working with groups, developing helping skills, and family violence and trauma. Ms. Davis holds an MSS from Bryn Mawr College School of Social Work and Research.
Alexa Eggleston - (Ex Officio Member)
Alexa Eggleston, J.D., leads implementation of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s youth substance use prevention and early intervention initiative. Previously, she served for three years as Substance Abuse Program Director with the Council of State Governments Justice Center in Bethesda, Maryland where she was responsible for advising governmental and non-governmental agencies on developing and implementing substance abuse treatment and other rehabilitative services for individuals in the criminal justice system. Eggleston also worked as Director of Public Policy for the National Council for Behavioral Health where she conducted public policy activities to increase access to substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery services through federal legislation. She also spent several years as the Director of National Policy for the Legal Action Center where she directed policy and government relations activities to improve laws and policies that affect people with histories of addiction, HIV/AIDS, or criminal records. She received her Juris Doctor from University of Maryland.
Mary Fristad - (Ex Officio Member)
Mary A. Fristad, Ph.D., is a psychologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. She focuses on youth with mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder. Her research is on innovative assessment and treatment strategies to effectively restore a child’s mental health in the context of his or her family. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Kansas.
Lynda Gargan - (Ex Officio Member)
Lynda Gargan, Ph.D., is executive director for the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. Throughout her career, she has worked across the nation providing technical assistance and training to ensure that all individuals are afforded the opportunity to live in the community of their choice. Dr. Gargan served as the project manager and project director, respectively, for two federal supported employment technical assistance centers. She more recently served as CEO for an agency specializing in Intensive in-home family therapy services. Dr. Gargan has a wealth of experience in community-based behavioral health at the local, state, and national levels. She has a rich background in field research, including longitudinal studies in multiple class action law suits. Dr. Gargan currently serves as a partner in the national evaluation of system of care grantees. She also serves as principle collaborator with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) Technical Assistance Coalition. Drawing upon both her personal and professional experiences, Dr. Gargan serves as a tireless champion for the mission and vision of the National Federation. Under her guidance, the National Federation has fully operationalized the Parent Support Provider Certification Initiative, an innovative peer support workforce initiative that utilizes the lived experience and specialized training of parents to assist and empower families who are raising children and youth with behavioral health challenges. Dr. Gargan earned a doctorate degree in Psychology from Madison University in 1990.
Jennifer Kaminski - (Ex Officio Member)
Jennifer Kaminski, Ph.D., is Team Lead for the Child Development Studies Team within the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She began her work with the CDS Team in 2009. Her work has focused on parenting, children’s mental health, and evaluation of public health strategies. She led the longitudinal follow-up study of the randomized trial of Legacy for Children™, a parenting intervention for improving child developmental outcomes in low-income families, and led publication of the first outcome results in the American Journal of Public Health. She was the lead author and data analyst on a meta-analytic study of components associated with parent training program effectiveness published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, as well as data analyst on a meta-analytic study of components associated with home visiting program effectiveness published in Pediatrics. Dr. Kaminski is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), and has served on the Executive Committee of APA Division 37 (Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice) and as President of APA’s Section on Child Maltreatment. From 2002-2009, she was a Behavioral Scientist in CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention, providing technical expertise on evaluations of programs to prevent child maltreatment, youth violence, intimate partner violence and suicide. Dr. Kaminski completed her PhD in Developmental Psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2002, where she collaborated on evaluations of adolescent pregnancy prevention programs, a program for non-offending parents of children who had been sexually abused, and a local Child Advocacy Center.
Laura Kavanagh - (Ex Officio Member)
Laura Kavanagh, M.P.P., is the Deputy Associate Administrator of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration. Kavanagh has served as the Deputy Associate Administrator since April 2015, with a focus on improving the transparency, accountability, and evidence base of MCHB's programs and initiatives. Her 30-year career in government and academia demonstrates a clear commitment to improving maternal and child health, with emphases on teaching, mentoring the next generation of MCH professionals, and advancing a diverse array of programs for underserved communities. Kavanagh earned a Master of Public Policy degree with an emphasis on health policy analysis from Georgetown University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Virginia.
Laurel K. Leslie - (Ex Officio Member)
Laurel K. Leslie, M.D., M.P.H., is Vice President of Research at the American Board of Pediatrics. She is also and Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Community Medicine and Public Health at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA. A developmental-behavioral pediatrician, she is committed to research that focuses on the identification and treatment of developmental and mental health needs of children and adolescents across the health, mental health, school, and child welfare sectors. She is particularly interested in mechanisms for linking research, policy, and practice to improve outcomes for children and adolescents. Dr. Leslie also maintains an active interest in defining the future of pediatric practice and education. She received her medical degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.
Mary Ann McCabe - (Ex Officio Member)
Mary Ann McCabe, Ph.D., ABPP is Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Affiliate Faculty in Applied Developmental Psychology at George Mason University. She is also a clinical psychologist and consultant in independent practice. Dr. McCabe is Past- President of the Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice and a member of a task force on integrated care for the Society of Pediatric Psychology. She led the planning of two national interdisciplinary summits on child mental health in 2009 and 2013, is Chair of the APA Interdivisional Task Force for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, and is Chair of the Consortium for Science-Based Information on Children, Youth and Families that has developed a new web resource center: Most recently Dr. McCabe was Director of the Office for Policy and Communications for the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) where she oversaw bridging research with policy and practice and directed the SRCD Congressional and Executive Branch policy fellowship programs. Previously, she was the Director of Health Psychology and Director of Training in Psychology at Children’s National Medical Center. Her areas of scholarship have included knowledge transfer across research, practice and policy, promoting child mental health, and minors' capacity for involvement in decision making about medical and mental health treatment and research.
Andy Shih - (Ex Officio Member)
Andy Shih, Ph.D., is Senior Vice President for Public Health and Inclusion at Autism Speaks where he works closely with members of Autism Speaks’ Board, Scientific Advisory Committee, senior staff and volunteer leadership to develop and implement the organization’s research program. He oversees the public health portfolio, which includes Autism Speaks' Global Autism Public Health Initiative, an international advocacy and development effort currently active in over 70 countries that integrates awareness, research, and service development. Dr. Shih and his team serve as technical adviser to ministries and other government agencies by facilitating multi-stakeholder collaboration and sourcing needed content expertise and other technical resources with the goal of delivering community-based feasible, cost-effective and sustainable solutions. His research background includes published studies in gene identification and characterization, virus-cell interaction, and cell-cycle regulation. He was instrumental in the cloning of a family of small GTPases involved in cell-cycle control and nuclear transport, and holds three patents on nucleic acids-based diagnostics and therapeutics. Prior to focusing on Autism Speaks’ public health/international development efforts, Andy oversaw the organization’s investments in genetics, environmental sciences, epidemiology and assistive technologies.
Vera F. Tait - (Ex Officio Member)
Vera Francis “Fan” Tait, M.D., FAAP, is a pediatric neurologist and is Associate Executive Director and Director of the Department of Child Health and Wellness at the American Academy of Pediatrics, an organization of 64,000 pediatricians. Some of her responsibilities at the Academy include: Bright Futures; the Council on School Health; the Council on Children with Disabilities; the National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness; the National Center on Medical Home Implementation; foster care; the Institute on Healthy Childhood Weight; children’s mental health; violence and injury prevention; early brain and child development; epigenetics, and childhood resilience.
Deborah K. Walker - (Ex Officio Member)
Deborah Klein Walker, Ed.D., is the current president of the Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice (formerly the American Orthopsychiatric Association) and a former president of the American Public Health Association and the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs. She formerly served as vice president and senior fellow at Abt Associates, Inc. and as associate commissioner for programs and prevention at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Prior to state service, Dr. Walker was an associate professor of human development at the Harvard School of Public Health and a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Walker has authored three books and over 100 articles and book chapters. Her research and policy interests include child and family policy, program implementation and evaluation, public health practice, disability policy, community health systems, health outcomes and data systems. She received her Ed.D. in human development from Harvard University.
Suzanne Le Menestrel - (Staff Officer)


Event Type :  

Description :   

On October 10, the Committee on Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development Among Children and Youth will host a public dialogue on their recently released consensus report. Following this morning session, the Forum for Children’s Well-Being will convene a public workshop on the state of mental, emotional, and behavioral health of children and youth in the United States. The goals of this workshop are:

  • To evaluate the current state of the science of promoting mental, emotional, and behavioral health of children and youth, including how far we’ve come since the inception of the Forum, where we are now, and where we hope to go in the near and distant future
  • To explore how various sectors, initiatives, and community efforts can impact the healthy development of children and youth, and how they all can collaborate in these efforts
  • To review the past work of the Forum and to set the stage for the Forum’s strategic discussions for future activities

An agenda for this day-long event is available on the Forum’s website.


Registration for Online Attendance :   

Registration for in Person Attendance :   

If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Stacey Smit
Contact Email:
Contact Phone:  (202) 334-1993

Supporting File(s)
Is it a Closed Session Event?
Some sessions are open and some sessions are closed

Closed Session Summary Posted After the Event

The following committee members were present at the closed sessions of the event:

C. Hendricks (via Zoom)
Kimberly E.
Laurel K.
Mary Ann
Vera Frances “Fan”

The following topics were discussed in the closed sessions:

Report Highlights

The following materials (written documents) were made available to the committee in the closed sessions:

Briefing Book

Date of posting of Closed Session Summary:
October 11, 2019
Publication(s) resulting from the event: