Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

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:

Breakout sessions will address these questions: