Symposium Framework


As signaled by an ever-expanding range of publications and events, this is a significant moment in the history of our scientific understanding and socio-political concern about early childhood development and health (ECDH).  The RWJF Center for Health Policy is therefore convening a group of speakers to address a series of central thematic questions.  Collectively the speakers will seek to strengthen connections between several domains – between understandings of development and health; between local, national and global initiatives; between science/scholarship, practice, and policy. And the Symposium will ask how these issues and ideas can be effectively related to, and firmly grounded in, New Mexico’s rich social and cultural fabric as well as its present political reality.

  1. Welcome/Introductions

  2. Panel 1: What is the scientific-scholarly basis for the renewed emphasis on the critical nature of early childhood experience for long-term human health and development? How has ‘culture’ and research on young immigrant children (and their families) been incorporated into our understanding of human development (and health) and related interventions?
    National Panelists: Deborah Phillips and Donald Hernandez
    NM Panelists: TBA

  3. Panel 2: What are the implications of such ECDH scientific-scholarly knowledge for social policy and programmatic interventions?  How have research-based policy changes and programmatic initiatives been launched over the past several years (whether at the local, State, Federal, and/or global level)?
    National Panelists:  Hirokazu Yoshikawa and Greg Duncan
    NM Panelists: TBA
  4. Panel 3: Does existing theory and research, along with such policy-programmatic initiatives, take into meaningful account diversity, developmental-health disparities and, more broadly, considerations of equity and social justice. What role do early childhood health and education policies play in moderating the effects of poverty and racial discrimination on maternal and child health outcomes? From a cross-comparative perspective, what role do political and social institutions play in perpetuating or decreasing poor health and educational outcomes among families or, in the best case, fostering resilience and flourishing for individuals, families and communities?
    National Panelists: Ann Masten and Jane Waldfogel
    NM Panelists: TBA

  5. Panel 4: In the U.S., individual level early childhood interventions usually emphasize the importance of improving parent-child interactions, fostering social support among families, and linking families to social support services. Some claim that such interventions inadequately address the structural problems faced by people of color and low-income families. How do interventionists tackle the need to support caregivers and their children while simultaneously attending to the realities of poverty, poor neighborhood conditions, and low education? Do community-level service providers possibly reinforce stigmatization among vulnerable populations?
    National Panelists:  Carola Suarez-Orozco and Lisa Sun-Hee Park
    NM Panelists: TBA

  6. Roundtable ‘Break-Out’ Discussions: What are the implications of these panel presentations and analyses for specific next policy and programmatic steps linked to ongoing efforts with a particular focus on New Mexico? Drawing especially on the experience and expertise of local community-members and policy-makers, how can the Symposium proceedings be translated into well-grounded programmatic and policy initiatives, and complementary research, aimed at improving the health and developmental well-being of all our young children?