New NICHQ Initiative Targets Pediatric Settings to Improve Early Childhood Development

January 31, 2018

pediatrician and mom and baby

The social and emotional skills acquired in the early years of development can change the course of children’s lives. These skills inspire compassion for others and healthy self-understanding, two traits needed to create meaningful future relationships and succeed at school and work.

Research shows that healthcare providers are uniquely positioned to support socioemotional development in early years. NICHQ’s newest initiative plans to make the most of those findings through a 30-month project that will improve early childhood socioemotional development by using pediatric settings as a primary point of intervention.

“The caregiver/child bond plays a critical role in early childhood development,” says NICHQ Project Director Colleen Murphy, MSMOB. “Healthy social and emotional relationships with family members, specifically through the parent/child dyad, will set the stage for a child’s ability to develop stable future relationships. As a primary point of connection, pediatric practices can adeptly assess and support that relationship. This can be especially beneficial when supporting parents with mental health challenges as they work to develop a healthy parent/child relationship.”

For this project, NICHQ will develop and lead a learning community comprised of 10-15 pediatrics practices across the country. Together, they will use quality improvement methodology to test ideas that pediatric practices can use to improve children’s socioemotional development and support parents. The ultimate goal is to refine the strategies so they can then be spread to pediatric settings nationwide. The learning community will also benefit from ongoing recommendations and findings uncovered in NICHQ’s closely related Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (ECCS CoIIN).

“We’re thankful to our funders, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation Parenting through Pediatrics Fund, who are supporting a goal that we’ve been working towards for several years,” says NICHQ President and CEO Scott D. Berns, MD, MPH, FAAP. “In 2016, we published Promoting Young Children’s Socioemotional Development in Primary Care, a report providing recommendations on engaging primary care settings as catalysts for improving children’s early socioemotional development. This initiative is an opportunity for us to take those recommendations, test them in caregiver settings, and ultimately scale them to create national change.”

This initiative is joined by a partner project led by the Center for the Study of Social Policy. Both projects are funded by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation Parenting through Pediatrics Fund and seek to improve outcomes for children ages 0-3.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Josh Licursi
Josh Licursi
NICHQ Communications Manager or 617-391-2757