Transforming Early Childhood Systems
The first few years of life set the stage for a child’s future. Experiences during early childhood (prenatal to kindergarten) inform social, emotional and cognitive development, as well as overall health, determining early in life whether a child is set up to reach his or her optimal health.
Knowing the great impact investments and interventions can have at this critical stage of development, NICHQ is working through various projects and partnerships, to mobilize diverse sectors—including families, communities and policymakers—to transform early childhood systems to ultimately improve health outcomes for young children nationwide.
Keep scrolling, or use these quick links, to learn more.
Social Determinants of Health
Children's health during their early years often depends on the circumstances in which they are born. Access to good schools, housing, food, community supports - all of these determinants affect children's health and development. Learn more about how social determinants of health affect health equity.
When families struggle because of environmental circumstances, such as their job, community or economic status, children's health also suffers. A two-generation approach acknowledges that parent and child health are intertwined and seeks to address the needs of the family holistically. NICHQ's CEO discusses how here. Or, watch this video that explains why two-generation approaches can have a big impact on early childhood outcomes.
Children should have three developmental screenings before they reach their third birthday.These screenings assess whether children are meeting their developmental milestones, prompt proactive interventions and help all children start school ready to succeed. Find out more in this webinar, or read about one state's developmental screening journey.
Supports for Parents and Caregivers:
Parents lay the groundwork for their children's future. That's why we're invested in helping families understand how important early childhood development is, what resources they can tap, and what actions they can take. Learn more about a powerful state system that empowers parents, or read an article about how to launch an early childhood parent academy in your community.
Join Our Virtual Community
The Collaboratory is a virtual place where ECCS CoIIN participants and stakeholders can share ideas and best practices, ask questions, and uncover useful tips to advance their change efforts. With an "all teach, all learn" and "steal shamelessly" philosophy, NICHQ is opening up the Collaboratory to anyone working to enhance early childhood systems.
Already a member? Log-in here.
Want to join? Fill out this form to request access.
Preparing Children with Special Healthcare Needs for Transition of Care
Transitioning from pediatric to adult care can be challenging for any young person, but those challenges are often amplified for children with special healthcare needs. Two young adults with complex medical conditions share their experience with transitioning from pediatric to adult care.
NICHQ Employee Spotlight: Nathaniel Ray Pickett, Ph.D.
Each month, we’re shining a spotlight on a NICHQ employee, asking them to share their memories, advice, and goals. This month, NICHQ Web & Product Manager Nathanial Ray Pickett, Ph.D., shares his untraditional path to working in MCH, while highlighting his passion for equity, resisting oppression, and giving voice to the voiceless.
TRANSCRIPT | Connecting Infant and Maternal Health Outcomes – Prematurity Awareness Month
Our main story this episode highlights he links between maternal and infant health, and the impacts of preterm birth on health outcomes for mothers, birthing people, and babies. Hear from NICHQ VP of Equity and Innovation Dr. Stacy Scott, Ph.D. D, MPA, who shares some equity considerations regarding disparate rates of preterm birth, infant mortality, and maternal mortality. Dr. Zsakeba Henderson, MD, FACOG, NICHQ’s senior health advisor, also connects the impact of maternal health on infant health outcomes while shining a light on the U.S. maternal mortality crisis and current policy initiatives that can help reverse maternal mortality trends.
NICHQ Employee Spotlight: Callie Rowland
Each month, we’re shining a spotlight on a NICHQ employee, asking them to share their memories, advice, and goals. This month, NICHQ Project Manager Callie Rowland, MPH, shares her passion for working to affect change in the system, serving all mothers and children, and working for an organization that aims to help create more equitable systems.
NICHQ Employee Spotlight: Madeline D'Onfro
Each month, we’re shining a spotlight on a NICHQ employee, asking them to share their memories, advice, and goals. This month, NICHQ Project Manager Madeline D'Onfro, MPH, shares her passion for creating systems that protect members of society who are marginalized the most and improving experiences for those with the highest needs.
4 Strategies for Transitioning from Pediatric to Adult Care for People Living with Sickle Cell Disease
Whether transitioning to college or a full-time job, it's a time when young adults are going to be establishing their independence from their nuclear family and taking responsibility for their own needs. For a young person with special healthcare needs such as SCD, the responsibilities are compounded by the additional need to begin transitioning from pediatric to adult care. Read more for four helpful strategies for transitioning from pediatric to adult care for people living with sickle cell disease and other special health conditions.
Partners in Collaboration
To transform early childhood systems—as opposed to implementing individual interventions—requires collaboration from a host of traditional and nontraditional partners. Below are organizations we are proud to call our partners in this important work. Click the links below to learn more about each organization's work in early childhood. Email us at [email protected], or complete the form below, to learn how you can get involved.
- Applied Engineering Management Corporation
- Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs
- Center for the Study of Social Policy
- Children’s Hospital at Montefiore/Albert Einstein College of Medicine
- Health Resources and Services Administration Maternal and Child Health Bureau
- Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
- Institute for Healthcare Improvement
- J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation
- National Institutes of Health
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
- Silicon Valley Community Foundation Parenting Through Pediatrics Fund
- ZERO to THREE
NICHQ Study on Promoting Infant Safe Sleep and Breastfeeding During the COVID-19 Pandemic was Published by Nursing for Women’s Health
BOSTON – Maternity Care Clinicians’ Experiences Promoting Infant Safe Sleep and Breastfeeding During the COVID-19 Pandemic details findings from a study led by NICHQ researchers of maternity care services of 10 U.S. hospitals from April through September 2020. Participants were asked about challenges and opportunities promoting infant safe sleep and breastfeeding during the pandemic. Published: March 10, 2023 | Nursing for Women's Health
NICHQ Announces Staffing Changes in Communications, Development
The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) is pleased to announce the recent promotions of two dedicated members of our Communications and Development teams. Join NICHQ in celebrating our staff and welcoming them to their new roles.
NICHQ Study on Community Promotion of Safe Sleep and Breastfeeding Published by BMC Public Health
BOSTON – Community-based approaches to infant safe sleep and breastfeeding promotion: a qualitative study, led by the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ), details opportunities and challenges to improve community-level promotion of infant safe sleep (ISS) and breastfeeding in communities vulnerable to infant safe sleep and breastfeeding disparities. Published: March 7, 2023 | BMC Public Health
NICHQ Names Dr. Zsakeba Henderson Senior Health Advisor
Dr. Zsakeba Henderson will join the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality as a Senior Medical Advisor, where she will advise NICHQ President and CEO Scott D. Berns, MD, MPH, FAAP, to help advance the work of the organization to ensure every child achieves their optimal health.
NICHQ Receives $4M Unrestricted Donation From Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott
BOSTON – The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) was awarded a generous $4M donation in unrestricted funds from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to advance its vision of every child achieving their optimal health. “To give an unrestricted gift is to put an immense amount of trust and responsibility in a nonprofit,” said NICHQ CEO Scott Berns, MD, MPH in the Boston Globe. “I promise we are a worthy cause.”
NICHQ Creates Department of Health Equity Innovation to Address Systemic Health Inequities
BOSTON – The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) recently launched a new Health Equity Innovation Department, led by VP of Equity Innovation Stacy Scott, PhD, MPA, with the goal of accelerating strategies that address systemic health inequities. Some of the ongoing work the Health Equity Innovation Department will support is the Equity Systems Audit Tool, co-created by NICHQ and the Global Infant Safe Sleep (GISS) Center to assess implicit and explicit bias in healthcare systems. The department will also support internal equity engagement and support existing projects to ensure they are effectively incorporating equity. New projects related to health equity will be identified and prioritized within the next few months.
Partner With Us
Are you interested in using these changes ideas to improve children’s health in a population, state or healthcare setting? Contact to NICHQ to discuss:
- Opportunities to identify partners and strategies to get partner buy-in
- Tools used to track data and enhance collaboration
- Training on consistent messaging and counseling
From supporting individual organizations to national programs, NICHQ’s vast change management experience helps us customize the best solution for you.