Effective State-Level Policies to Strengthen the Early Years
The prenatal to age 3 period is the most sensitive and rapid period of development. Children who experience safe, nurturing, and loving environments are placed on trajectories toward optimal growth and learning, yet many families face substantial challenges during these years. Grounded in the science of the developing child and based on comprehensive reviews of the most rigorous evidence available, this keynote will feature 12 policy solutions that help foster the nurturing environments infants and toddlers need to thrive and that reduce longstanding disparities in opportunities and outcomes among racial and ethnic groups and socioeconomic statuses.
Executive Director and Professor of Early Childhood Education and Policy Peabody College of Education and Human Development Vanderbilt University
Dr. Cynthia Osborne joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College in the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations in January 2022 as a Professor of Early Childhood Education and Policy. Previously, she was faculty at The LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin for over 16 years and served as the Associate Dean for Academic Strategies for the last 3.5 years.
In 2012, Osborne founded and directed the successful Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP), a nonpartisan research group originally housed at the LBJ School — now integrated into Osborne’s Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center at Vanderbilt — engaged in rigorous qualitative and quantitative research and evaluation work for federal and state agencies and large non-governmental organizations to strengthen families and enhance public policy. Major research areas included early childhood investments, family supports, fatherhood, child welfare, and adolescent health.
Applying a Liberation Nutrition Research Lens to Address Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Dietary Behaviors and Related Health Outcomes: Implications for Research, Practice, and Training
Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) disproportionately bear the diet-related chronic disease burden in the United States, experiencing higher rates of morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and various types of diet-related cancers. Although these disparities have been well documented, over the past two years, the unprecedented death toll and economic burden associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the increased awareness of structural racism linked with the murder of George Floyd has underscored the multiple ways in which systemic factors, specifically racism and poverty significantly impacts the quality of life in BIPOC communities. While a growing body of research has focused on examining the social and structural drivers of disparities in dietary quality and related health outcomes, theories examining the complex mechanisms linking structural oppression and diet have been limited. This presentation explores the use of a liberation nutrition lens to improve dietary outcomes in BIPOC communities, promote nutrition equity and justice, and advance an anti-racist praxis in nutrition research practice and training.
Associate Professor, Food and Nutrition Education Director, Food and Nutrition Education Equity Visiting Scholar at Feeding America Cornell University, Communities Program
Dr. Angela Odoms-Young is an Associate Professor and Director of the Food and Nutrition Education in Communities Program at Cornell University. Her research centers on understanding the social and structural determinants of dietary behaviors in low-income populations and black, indigenous, and people of color and identifying culturally appropriate programs and policies that promote health equity, food justice, and community resilience. Dr. Odoms-Young has over 20 years’ experience partnering with communities to improve nutrition and health and she has served on numerous advisory committees and boards including the Institute of Medicine committees to revise the food packages provided for WIC, and the Council on Black Health. Dr. Odoms-Young also currently serves as the inaugural Equity Visiting Scholar at Feeding America.
Responsive Feeding and Childhood Obesity Prevention: An Equitable Nurturing Care Perspective
About the Keynote Speaker:
Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, PhD
Professor of Public Health Director, Office of Public Health Practice Director, Global Health Concentration Director, Maternal Child Health Promotion Program, Center for Methods on Implementation and Prevention Science (CMIPS) Yale School of Public Health
Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, PhD is a tenured Professor at the Yale School of Public Health where he is also Director of the Office of Public Health Practice, the Global Health Concentration and the Center for Methods in Implementation and Population Science (CMIPS) Maternal Child Health Promotion Program. His three-decades long research program has led to large scale global improvements in maternal, infant and young child feeding; early childhood development; and household food security. His worked has been based on rigorous and elegant observational epidemiological, experimental and quasi-experimental studies complemented with implementation science mixed research methods grounded in complex adaptive systems frameworks. He has garnered over $30 million in funding mainly from The National Institutes of Health (NIH), The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), The US Agency for international Development (USAID), UNICEF, The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation. He has published over 280 peer reviewed articles and lectured extensively across world regions. He is an elected member of the US National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and the recipient of the 2020 American Society for Nutrition Lifetime Achievements Award in International Nutrition.
Taming Children's Sweet Tooth: A Biopsychosocial Approach for Reducing Added Sugar Intakes Among Children
About the Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Jennifer Orlet Fisher Professor, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences Associate Director, Center for Obesity Research and Education Temple University
Jennifer Orlet Fisher, PhD is Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Associate Director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education in the College of Public Health at Temple University. Prior to joining the faculty of Temple, she was a scientist at the USDA Children’s Nutrition Research Center in the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Fisher’s research seeks to understand influences on the development of eating behaviors and weight outcomes during early childhood. Her current research is investigating sweet preferences and snacking behaviors in early childhood. Dr. Fisher has published widely in leading nutrition and obesity journals, with more than 125 peer-reviewed research publications, and has editorial advisory roles atAppetite, Child Development, andObesity: Science and Practice.
Psychosocial Stress and Eating Behavior among Young Low-Income Children
About the Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Julie Lumeng Thomas P. Borders Family Research Professor of Child Behavior and Development Director, Center for Human Growth and Development University of Michigan
Julie Lumeng, MD, is the Thomas P. Borders Family Research Professor of Child Behavior and Development and the Director of the Center for Human Growth and Development at the University of Michigan. She is a developmental and behavioral pediatrician and Professor of Pediatrics and Nutritional Sciences. Her work focuses on developmental and behavioral predictors of obesity risk in young, low-income children. This work has included maternal feeding beliefs and practices, child eating behaviors, biobehavioral markers of psychosocial stress as a contributor to eating behavior, and infant appetite. She has also led community-based behavioral intervention trials for childhood obesity prevention. Much of her work has occurred in collaboration with Head Start. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the American Heart Association.
Public policy in early childhood nutrition: Protecting and supporting vulnerable populations
The end of the average patient - individualization in pregnancy and medicine
About the Keynote Speakers:
Steven Abrams, MD Professor, Department of Pediatrics Director, Dell Pediatric Research Institute Dell Medical School
Steven A. Abrams is the director of the Dell Pediatric Research Institute and professor of pediatrics. Abrams has developed and championed the use of stable isotopes to determine mineral requirements and physiological turnover rates in infants and children. He developed the mass spectrometric methods and analytical approaches allowing populations throughout the world to obtain critical data needed for food fortification strategies to be effective.His research has also furthered understanding of the physiological basis for hormonal changes during growth acting bone formation and turn over using mathematical modeling techniques adapted by his team for infants and small children. He has conducted research studies using mineral isotopes in more than 20 countries and for 25 years operated the largest nutritional research lab in the world analyzing biological samples for mineral isotope enrichment. He has frequently consulted with governments and has been a trainer for the International Atomic Energy Agency in developing the skills of scientists in countries including Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia and South Africa on isotopic techniques as applying to human nutrition. Abrams has also authored dozens of methodological papers and a textbook relating disease processes to nutrient metabolism. He continues to consult frequently with companies related to product design to incorporate key nutrients, especially calcium and iron, in their products. In 2016, he received the highest award in the pediatric nutritional research community, the Samuel J. Fomon Nutrition Award, for his contributions to helping improve the health of children through application of mineral stable isotope research.
Radek Bukowski, MD, PhD Associate Chair for Investigation and Discovery, Department of Women's Health Professor, Department of Women's Health Dell Medical School
Radek Bukowski came to Dell Medical School from Yale University, where he was professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences and director of the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine and chief of maternal fetal medicine at the Yale-New Haven Hospital. He completed medical school and an obstetrics and gynecology residency at the University of Poznan in Poland and received a Ph.D. from the Freie Universitaet Berlin. He then completed a second residency at the Eastern Virginia Medical School and a fellowship in maternal fetal medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Prior to that, he was a faculty member for 16 years in the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch, where he achieved the rank of tenured professor of obstetrics and gynecology. Bukowski’s research focuses on preterm birth, stillbirth, developmental programming and long-term health consequences of adverse outcomes of pregnancy. His publications have appeared in numerous journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), PLoS Medicine and the British Medical Journal. Bukowski’s work has been supported by six grants from the National Institutes of Health. He is an internationally recognized expert in maternal fetal medicine and has received numerous awards including the prestigious March of Dimes award for Best Research in Prematurity.
Dr. Elsie Taveras Chief, Division of General Academic Pediatrics Director, Pediatric Population Health Management - Massachusetts General Hospital Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School Associate Professor of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Elsie M. Taveras, M.D., M.P.H. is Chief of the Division of General Academic Pediatrics and Director of Pediatric Population Health Management at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is also Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Professor of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She received her Bachelor of Science and MD degrees from New York University. After receiving her MD, she did her internship, residency, and chief residency, at the Boston Combined Residency Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center in Pediatrics. Dr. Taveras also holds a Master’s in Public Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Dr. Taveras is a Pediatrician and a childhood obesity researcher. Her main focus of research is understanding determinants of obesity in women and children and developing interventions across the life course to prevent obesity and chronic diseases, especially in underserved populations. Her work spans the spectrum of observational studies and interventions—to identify and quantify risk factors— and to modify these risk factors for health promotion and disease prevention. She has published over 150 research studies and served on Committees for the National Academy of Medicine to develop recommendations for prevention of obesity in early life and for evaluating the progress of national obesity prevention efforts. Her work in early life origins of childhood obesity was cited by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as one of the most influential studies of 2010 and in the White House Task Force Report on Childhood Obesity in May 2010.
She has received extensive research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the American Diabetes Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Boston Foundation, among many other federal and foundation sources. In 2016, she received the Public Health Leadership in Medicine Award from the Massachusetts Association of Public Health for her extensive work improving health and health care in community-based settings.
Thomas Robinson, MD, PhD Endowed Professor in Child Health and Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine Stanford Prevention Research Center
Dr. Thomas Robinson focuses on designing solutions to help children and families improve their health- and sustainability-related behaviors. Dr. Robinson is the Irving Schulman, MD Endowed Professor in Child Health, Professor of Pediatrics and of Medicine, in the Division of General Pediatrics and the Stanford Prevention Research Center at Stanford University, and Director of the Center for Healthy Weight at Stanford University and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. He originated thesolution-orientedresearch paradigm and directs the Solutions Science Lab at Stanford. He is known for his pioneering obesity prevention and treatment research, including the concept ofstealth interventions. Dr. Robinson focuses on solution-oriented research to develop and evaluate health promotion and disease prevention interventions for children, adolescents and their families to directly inform medical and public health practice and policy. His research is largely experimental in design, conducting family-, school-, and community-based randomized controlled trials to test the efficacy and/or effectiveness of theory-driven behavioral, social and environmental interventions to prevent and reduce obesity, improve nutrition, increase physical activity and decrease inactivity, reduce children's screen time, and promote energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. Robinson's research is grounded in social cognitive models of human behavior uses rigorous methods, and is performed in real World settings with diverse populations, making the results of his research more relevant for clinical and public health practice and policy.
Dr. Robinson is published widely in the scientific literature, Principal Investigator on numerous prevention and treatment studies funded by the National Institutes of Health, and a frequent appointee to expert and advisory panels for leading national and international scientific and public health agencies and organizations.