Early Childhood Expert Jill Sells Joins NICHQ
Innovative early childhood health leader Jill Sells, MD, FAAP, is joining the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) as its Clinical Director of Early Childhood Initiatives. Sells brings decades of experience leading equity-focused, early childhood, system-level efforts that have led to improved children’s health outcomes.
“Jill is going to provide the clinical leadership to our growing early childhood portfolio that will boost our ability to build bridges to elevate our overall impact in this important space,” says NICHQ President and CEO Scott D. Berns, MD, MPH, FAAP. “Her experience with implementing evidence-based, high-quality programming, and her focus on equity, make Jill the perfect match for the work we do at NICHQ.”
Sells has experience spearheading population-level strategies to support the optimal health and development of young children in the context of their families and communities. Most recently, she served as executive director for Reach Out and Read Washington State where she created statewide systems to engage doctors in early learning, and to integrate early literacy promotion into primary care. She also played a leadership role in developing Washington’s Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems framework, Kids Matter, and The Washington State Early Learning and Birth to 3 Plans.
“My belief in the power of families and the wisdom of communities drives my efforts to facilitate innovative approaches that enhance the lives of children, families and communities as we aim to achieve equity,” says Sells. “I’m thrilled to join NICHQ, which shares this philosophy. Now is the time to make progress for young children and families across multiple systems, and NICHQ is primed to have significant impact. I look forward to jumping in and working with NICHQ’s many projects and partners.”
Sells’ experience includes partnering with a national cohort of leaders to identify, address and act on inequities based on race, ethnicity, language and culture in early childhood state systems with the Equity Leaders Action Network. She contributed to a national understanding of early learning-health connections by analyzing the impact of state health investments among federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grantees. Sells was also the founding director of Docs for Tots Washington State, where she recruited and supported a statewide network of doctors promoting early childhood policies and practices.
Sells is a clinical professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and serves as chair of the Council on Early Childhood for the American Academy of Pediatrics. She received her bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University and her medical degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine.
Sells starts at NICHQ January 16.