W. Thomas Boyce is the Lisa and John Pritzker Distinguished Professor of Developmental and Behavioral Health in the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco; he heads the Division of Developmental Medicine within the Department of Pediatrics. Previously, he was Professor of Pediatrics and the Sunny Hill Health Centre-BC Leadership Chair in Child Development at the University of British Columbia, in the Human Early Learning Partnership, and at the Child and Family Research Institute of BC Children’s Hospital. Dr. Boyce has served as a member of Harvard University’s National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, UC Berkeley’s Institute of Human Development, as well as a founding co-Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars Program at Berkeley and UCSF. He co-directs the Child and Brain Development Program for the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, serves on the Board on Children, Youth and Families of the National Academies, and was elected in 2011 to the National Academy of Medicine.
Dr. Boyce’s research addresses individual differences in children’s biological sensitivity to social contexts, such as the family, classroom and community. His work, which has generated nearly 200 scientific publications, demonstrates that a subset of children (“orchid children”) show exceptional biological susceptibility to their social conditions and bear higher risks of illness and developmental disorders in settings of adversity and stress. Taken together, findings from his research suggest that the supportiveness of early environments have important effects on children’s health and wellbeing and are the subject of a forthcoming book entitled The Orchid and the Dandelion: Why Some Children Struggle and How All Can Thrive (Knopf, 2019).