Dr. Gregory Hagan, president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MCAAP), asks the pediatric residents he trains to read research about the effectiveness of high-quality early education and the 10-16% return on investment it generates. “Their jaws drop,” Dr. Hagan told me in an interview last year. “If we want outcomes to be better 10-20 years from now, clearly we need to harness the efforts of other folks in other settings. The early childhood stuff is a perfect example of that,” he added. “It might be helpful as doctors if we coordinated efforts outside the exam room with other folks who share the same goals.”
Dr. Hagan talked then about hosting an early childhood summit that brings together advocates, providers and experts in child health and early education. Well, that dream is about to become reality. “The 2011 Summit on Early Childhood: Investment in our Future” will be held Wednesday, November 16, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the Massachusetts Medical Society at 860 Winter Street in Waltham. Register.
The goal of this first-ever statewide convening of early educators, pediatricians and policymakers is to develop a shared action agenda for children. In addition to MCAAP, the conference is co-sponsored by Early Education for All, a campaign of Strategies for Children, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and the Boston Children’s Museum.
Massachusetts has the highest rate of child immunization in the country, and a substantial majority of young children in the commonwealth are enrolled in an early education and care program. A goal of the conference is to leverage this reach to advocate for policies and resources that advance children’s well-being.
Here are some highlights of the agenda:
- New Insights in Early Childhood Brain Development. Charles Nelson, Ph.D., research director of the Division of Developmental Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston.
- Current State of Children and an Analysis of Massachusetts School Readiness Policy. Amy O’Leary, director, Early Education for All Campaign, Strategies for Children.
- Current State of Children’s Mental Health Services in Massachusetts: Marylou Sudders, chief executive officer, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
- Update. Commissioner Sherri Killins, Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.
- Luncheon: The Business Case for Early Childhood Investments. Robert H. Dugger, co-founder and advisory board chairman, Partnership for America’s Economic Success, and managing director, Hanover Investment Group.
Breakout sessions will address these questions:
- What constitutes quality early education and care and what are solutions to gaps in services for children and families? (Facilitated by Marilyn Augustyn M.D., FAAP – developmental and behavioral pediatrician, Boston Medical Center, and associate professor, Boston University School of Medicine; and Wayne Ysaguirre, President and CEO of Associated Early Care and Education)
- What do families need to do their job well and what are solutions for improving parental/family supports? (Facilitated by Michael Yogman, M.D., FAAP, pediatrician, Cambridge, and chair, MCAAP Children’s Mental Health Task Force; and Jeri Robinson, vice president of education, Boston Children’s Museum)
- What services do at-risk children and families need? (Facilitated by Linda Sagor, M.D., MPH, FAAP, pediatrician, University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center, and chair, MCAAP Foster Care Committee; and Nancy Topping-Tailby, LICSW, Office of Head Start National Center on Health)
- What are the solutions for better coordinating early childhood services with health care services? (Facilitated by Gregory Hagan, M.D., FAAP, pediatrician, Windsor Street Health Center, Cambridge; and president, MCAAP; and Kate Roper, project director MassLAUNCH and Massachusetts Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Project)