Case Studies

Promoting Social-Emotional Development

In partnership with the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust and Ariadne Labs, we launched the Promoting Young Children’s Socio-Emotional Development in Primary Care initiative. The goal was to identify a series of promising levers for change and potential measures to track improvement in early childhood social and emotional development.

Substantial research highlights the critical importance of fostering social-emotional development in young children and its lifelong impact on the health and well being of both the child and the family. Understanding how to best leverage pediatric practices to examine and reinforce positive social-emotional behaviors in parents and primary caregivers remained an unanswered question.

Our Approach

This initiative focused on the “align and design” components of NICHQ’s change management approach. We conducted an in-depth environmental scan to gain a rich understanding of the current state of evidence and the key levers for addressing the issue of social-emotional development in early childhood. This process identified what types of interventions currently exist, what populations are served, and what outcomes are being achieved. Research included peer-reviewed literature, reports and related initiatives as well as key informant interviews. Following, we convened nearly 40 subject matter experts in child health, early childhood development and intervention delivery at scale, as well as nearly 30 lived experience experts (e.g., parents, grandparents, caregivers) from across the country. Over two days, NICHQ facilitated a deep dive discussion to identify and detail opportunities within pediatric primary care to promote optimal social-emotional development.

The Results

As a result of the initiatives, we:

  • Established an overview of principles, recommendations and interventions designed to address early childhood social-emotional development within the pediatric primary care setting. Read >
  • Delivered 11 high-level recommendations of next steps in order to develop a comprehensive theory of change around how to target interventions within the setting at scale to advance this work in the future. Read >
  • Reported findings and developed a webinar, raising the profile and importance of promoting optimal child social-emotional development. Watch >
Socio-Emotional Development


By driving strategic design to launch comprehensive change in primary care practices to address socio-emotional development there is the potential to dramatically improve the long-term impact on children’s health outcomes and family’s experience.

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