Opening Keynote

Junlei Li

Appreciating the Deep and Simple in Early Childhood Education

As Co-Director of the Fred Rogers Center and Rita M. McGinley Professor of Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College, Junlei Li seeks to understand and apply Fred Rogers’ philosophy and approach to serve children and their helpers.

His research lab, Incubator 143, partners with educators, trainers, advocates, and researchers. With active projects in low-income child care centers, urban schools, community programs, and the larger child-serving non-profit sector, the Incubators focus on identifying and amplifying the simple active ingredient that universally helps serve children—the power of human connection.

Junlei joined the Fred Rogers Center after serving as the Principal Research Scientist at the Fred Rogers Company, Director of Applied Research and Evaluation at University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development, and principal investigator on federal research grants at Carnegie Mellon University. He holds a Ph.D. in psychology and M.A. in instructional science from Carnegie Mellon University, and a B.S. in computer science from University of Notre Dame.

Featured Speaker

Paul Schmitz

The Culture of Collective Impact

Paul Schmitz is CEO of Leading Inside Out, a nonprofit and philanthropic advisory firm, Senior Advisor to The Collective Impact Forum, and an Innovation Fellow at Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Innovation and Impact. Paul is the author of Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up. Paul previously served as CEO of the national leadership development organization Public Allies, was a social innovation advisor to the White House, and has been named three separate years to The Nonprofit Times list of the 50 most influential nonprofit leaders in America.

Featured Speaker

Rahil Briggs

Integrated two-generation behavioral health in primary care pediatrics: Bringing services to scale

Rahil Briggs, PsyD joined Montefiore Hospital in 2005 as Director and founder of the Healthy Steps Program at Montefiore, a program that has expanded to multiple MMG sites to help ensure that parents and their babies get started on the right track. Three years later, in 2008, Dr. Briggs was appointed Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In 2013, she was named Director of Pediatric Behavioral Health Services and tasked with spearheading the formation of the most comprehensive integrated behavioral health system in the nation, developing innovative behavioral health programs for the pediatric and adolescent population while continuing to expand Healthy Steps to other sites. The program now serves over 90,000 children and their families each year, in the Bronx, NY.

Dr. Briggs's work concentrates on bringing together mental health specialists with primary care pediatrics, to focus on prevention, early childhood mental health and development, and parent-child relationships. She is the editor of Integrated Early Childhood Behavioral Health in Primary Care: A Guide to Implementation and Evaluation, published by Springer (2016). Briggs completed her undergraduate work at Duke University (magna cum laude) and her doctoral work at New York University.

Closing Keynote

Jeanette Betancourt

Sesame Street in Communities: Meeting the Health and Well-Being Needs of Young Children

Dr. Jeanette Betancourt is the Senior Vice President for U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop. She oversees and manages the delivery of high impact and targeted domestic and international outreach initiatives that engage children, families, caregivers, educators and other providers. Sesame Workshop outreach initiatives involve the development of research-based multi-media resources designed specifically to meet the needs of children and adults in typically underserved communities, domestically and internationally.

She has directed Sesame Workshop outreach initiatives in the areas of nutrition education, food insecurity, health and safety, school readiness, military family transitions, grief, music, child care, mutual respect and understanding, parenting, and English language learning. Dr. Betancourt has overseen content development for the production, Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat and advised on the production, Dragon Tales. She has also guided content development for several Emmy-nominated Sesame Street primetime specials.

Dr. Betancourt is a licensed bilingual speech and language pathologist and educational therapist, with a specialty in treating families and children with psychiatric disorders. Dr. Betancourt received her BA from Herbert H. Lehman College, City University of New York, an MA in Speech and Language Pathology from Hofstra University, an MS in Bilingual Reading/Special Education from St. John’s University, and an Ed.D. in Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.