February 9, 2017
The Simms/Mann Institute Think Tank is unique in its transdisciplinary focus; emphasis on the importance of whole child development; and surprise-and-delight moments that make the day a one-of-a-kind experience.
The Simms/Mann Think Tank is an annual convening of leading neuroscientists from around the world who present to—and engage with—a select group of 500 stakeholders who can directly impact policy and practice in early child development. Researchers showcase cutting-edge science related to children ages 0-3 for leaders from fields including education, medicine, business and philanthropy, who can immediately incorporate the research in their work with children, families and communities.
The Think Tank is also a big stage to recognize and celebrate the outstanding contributions of leaders in the field of 0-3. At the Think Tank, the Institute presents Whole Child Awards to leaders in medicine and education, and introduces the new cohort of Simms/Mann Faculty Fellows.
Ruth Feldman, PhD, is the Simms-Mann professor of developmental social neuroscience and director of the Center for Developmental, Social, and Relationship Neuroscience at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzlia with a joint appointment at Yale University Child Study Center. She is also director of the Irving B. Harris community-based clinic and internship program for young children and their families. Her research focuses on the biological basis of social affiliation, processes of biobehavioral synchrony, longitudinal follow-up of infants at high risk stemming from biological (e.g., prematurity), maternal (e.g., postpartum depression), and contextual (e.g., war-related trauma) risk conditions, the neuroscience of empathy, and the effects of touch-based interventions. Her studies on the role of oxytocin in health and psychopathology have been instrumental for understanding the biological basis of social collaboration in humans. Her research on the maternal and paternal brain, human bond formation, the long-term effects of Kangaroo-Care on premature infants, the brain basis of conflict resolution, and the effects of maternal postpartum depression on children’s brain and behavior received substantial empirical and media attention. Dr. Feldman is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, has been on the editorial board of several high-impact journals, and has published over 300 articles in scientific journals and book chapters.
Dr. Levitt is the Simms/Mann Chair in Developmental Neurogenetics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the WM Keck Provost Professor of Neurogenetics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. He also serves as the Director of the USC Neuroscience Graduate Program. Dr. Levitt has held chair and institute directorships at the University of Southern California, Vanderbilt University and the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Levitt has been a MERIT awardee from the National Institute of Mental Health and served as a member of the National Advisory Mental Health Council for the National Institute of Mental Health. He is an elected member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.
Stephanie is a Professor at the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota. Prior to this, she was Assistant-to-Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Washington (1998-2007). She also is currently serving as CEO of Reflection Sciences, a company she co-founded with Dr. Phil Zelazo at the University of Minnesota, which provides the Minnesota Executive Function Scale (MEFS) and related services. Dr. Carlson is a developmental psychologist and internationally recognized leader in the measurement of executive function in preschool children. She conducts research on ways to promote the healthy development of EF in children and their caregivers.
Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek is the Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Distinguished Faculty Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Temple University, where she serves as Director of the Temple Infant and Child Laboratory. Kathy received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and her Ph.D. at University of Pennsylvania. Her research in the areas of early language development, literacy and infant cognition has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health and Human Development and the Department of Education (IES) resulting in 11 books and over 150 publications.
Dr. Patricia K. Kuhl is the Bezos Family Foundation Endowed Chair for Early Childhood Learning, Co-Director of the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, Director of the NSF-funded Science of Learning Center, and Professor of Speech and Hearing Sciences. She is internationally recognized for her research on early language and brain development, and studies that show how young children learn. Dr. Kuhl’s work has played a major role in demonstrating how early exposure to language alters the brain. It has implications for critical periods in development, for bilingual education and reading readiness, for developmental disabilities involving language, and for research on computer understanding of speech.
Dr. Kuhl is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Rodin Academy, and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. She was awarded the Silver Medal of the Acoustical Society of America in 1997, and in 2005, the Kenneth Craik Research Award from Cambridge University. She received the University of Washington’s Faculty Lectureship Award in 1998, and in the 2007, Dr. Kuhl was awarded the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Achievement Award. Dr. Kuhl is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Acoustical Society of America, the Cognitive Science Society and the American Psychological Society. In 2008 Dr. Kuhl was awarded the Gold Medal from Acoustical Society of America for her work on learning and the brain. In 2011 in Paris, she was awarded the IPSEN Fondation’s Jean-Louis Signoret Neuropsychology Prize.
Dr. Kuhl was one of six scientists invited to the White House in 1997 to make a presentation at President and Mrs. Clinton’s Conference on “Early Learning and the Brain.” In 2001, she was invited to make a presentation at President and Mrs. Bush’s White House Summit on “Early Cognitive Development: Ready to Read, Ready to Learn.” In 2000, she co-authored The Scientist in the Crib: Minds, Brains, and How Children Learn (Morrow Press).
Dr. Kuhl’s work has been widely covered by the media. She has appeared in the Discovery television series “The Baby Human”; the NOVA series “The Mind”; the “The Power of Ideas” on PBS; and “The Secret Life of the Brain,” also on PBS. She has discussed her research findings on early learning and the brain at NBC’s Education Nation, and on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, NHK, CNN, and in The New York Times, Time, and Newsweek.
Alicia F. Lieberman, Ph.D. holds the Irving B. Harris Endowed Chair of Infant Mental Health in the UCSF Department of Psychiatry, where she is also Professor and Vice Chair for Academic Affairs. She is Director of the Child Trauma Research Program, San Francisco General Hospital and clinical consultant with the San Francisco Human Services Agency. She is past president of the board of Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families and is on the board of trustees of the Irving B. Harris Foundation.
Dr. Andrew N. Meltzoff holds the Job and Gertrud Tamaki Endowed Chair and is the Co-Director of the University of Washington Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. A graduate of Harvard University, with a PhD from Oxford University, he is an internationally renowned expert on infant and child development. His discoveries about infant imitation have revolutionized our understanding of early cognition, personality, and brain development. His research on social-emotional development and children’s understanding of other people has helped shape policy and practice.
Jonathan Mooney is a dyslexic writer and activist who did not learn to read until he was 12 years old. He is a graduate of Brown University’s class of 2000 and holds an honors degree in English Literature. Jonathan is founder and President of Project Eye-To-Eye, a mentoring and advocacy non-profit organization for students with learning differences. Project Eye-To-Eye currently has 20 chapters, in 13 states working with over 3,000 students, parents and educators nation wide.
Catherine Monk, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, and Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Director for Research at the Women’s Program, Columbia University Medical Center, as well as Co-Director of the Sackler Parent-Infant Project and the Domestic Violence Initiative, and a member of Columbia’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Council. Trained as a clinical psychologist, she spends the majority of her time on research, and a small percent treating patients, most of whom are women experiencing depression or anxiety related to perinatal issues (fetal anomaly, stillbirth, preterm birth, concerns about their own traumatic childhoods in relation to becoming a mother).
Dr. Stuart Shanker is a Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at York University in Toronto and CEO of The MEHRIT Centre (www.self-reg.ca). He has just published Self-Reg: How To Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage with Life (Penguin 2016), which is currently being translated into eight different languages. A former president of the Council of Early Child Development and the Council of Human Development, he has been an adviser on Self-Reg initiatives for education and government organizations around the world.
A happy girl with a big smile, Harmony Zhu is a prodigy with multiple talents and the youngest Young Steinway Artist in history. Harmony has been featured on CBC News, NPR’s From the Top, as well as NBC’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show three times for her exceptional gifts in piano, composing, and chess. Harmony is scheduled to perform as a soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin in February 2017. In 2016, Harmony was invited by the Peoria Symphony Orchestra to be the RAW, Resident Artist of the Week, featured on WCBU, WGLT and WMBD, and performed Beethoven Concerto No.1 as a soloist with Maestro George Stelluto. Harmony has captivated audience with her deep musical sensitivity far beyond her age and charismatic presence on stage.
The Simms/Mann Institute is proud to announce the 2017 Whole Child Awards to honor leaders who pursue a whole child approach in their work. This year, the Simms Mann Institute is expanding the Whole Child Award to honor extraordinary individuals from a variety of sectors. Specifically, we are looking for individuals who have made a significant impact in the zero to three space as medical clinicians (OB/GYNs, pediatricians, or nurses), nonprofit/community leaders, or educational champions. Each winner will receive a $25,000 award and recognition at the Simms Mann Institute Think Tank.