Opening Keynote

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek

A Prescription for Play: Why Play Fosters Social and Cognitive Development

As a New York Times bestseller and expert in early literacy and the role of play in learning, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek is a frequent spokesperson for her field appearing in the New York Times and on National Public Radio (NPR).

In her talk, A Prescription for Play, Hirsh-Pasek explores how children’s discretionary and play time have decreased over two decades, from 40 percent in 1981 to 25 percent in 1997, as well as many U.S. schools eliminating school recess time. Ironically, children have not profited from this extra educational time. Using science as a base, Hirsh-Pasek presents how play might offer an important context for growing a child’s academic, social and physical well-being.

More about Hirsh-Pasek

With her long-term collaborator, Roberta Golinkoff, Hirsh-Pasek is the author of 14 books and hundreds of publications, including her book “Becoming Brilliant: What the science tells us about raising successful children” released in 2016 and on the New York Times Best Seller List in Education and Parenting.

She currently serves as the Faculty Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia, Penn. and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society, is the President of the International Society for Infant Studies and served as the Associate Editor of Child Development.

Her book, “Einstein never used Flashcards: How children really learn and why they need to play more and memorize less,” won the prestigious Books for Better Life Award as the best psychology book in 2003.

Featured Speaker

Susan Hopkins

Self-Regulation in the Early Years - What It Is and Why It Matters

Dr. Susan Hopkins serves as the Executive Director for The MEHRIT Centre (TMC) and is immersed in research and work on self-regulation. In her talk, she will share how decades of research show that self-regulation is a cornerstone of healthy child development and well-being. She’ll explain the difference between self-regulation and self-control and how stress affects children (and adults) across five domains of functioning. You’ll learn how the self-regulation framework, which is a process rather than a program, can help professionals support and enhance self-regulation in children, parents and caregivers.

More about Hopkins

As an at-risk youth who quit high school twice, Hopkins went on to complete four degrees and led the territorial implementation of the Early Development Instrument (EDI), co-authored the Government’s Early Childhood Framework and developed the NWT play and culture-based kindergarten curriculum. At the MEHRIT Centre, Hopkins brings her skills and leadership to the self-regulation research centre (SRI) as the lead researcher in self-regulation.

Featured Speaker

Tricia Brooks

Medicaid’s Role in Assuring a Healthy Start in Life

Tricia Brooks is the Senior Fellow at the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF) and an Associate Research Professor at the Georgetown Health Policy Institute. In her talk, Brooks will discuss how Medicaid and KidCare serve 78 percent of Arizona children living in or near poverty. This in-depth session will dive into Medicaid’s comprehensive pediatric benefit known as EPSDT (Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment), and what it means for children’s health and overall development. She’ll also look at ways other states are using Medicaid and funding initiatives aimed at improving children’s health and success in life.

More about Brooks

Brooks works on policy and implementation issues affecting health coverage for children and families, and provides technical assistance to policy, advocacy and consumer assister groups across the country. She is a co-author of an annual 50-state survey on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) eligibility, enrollment, renewal and cost-sharing policies published by the Kaiser Family Foundation. She frequently speaks and publishes briefs and blogs on public coverage policy and trends. Prior to joining the health policy research faculty at Georgetown in 2008, Brooks created a nonprofit organization which administered New Hampshire’s CHIP program and managed outreach and application assistance for both Medicaid and CHIP.

Featured Speaker - Lanna Flood Memorial Address

Joshuaa Allison-Burbank

Examining the Effect of Developmental Disabilities on the Health and Education of Young Children

Examining the Effect of Developmental Disabilities on the Health and Education of Young Children Joshuaa Allison-Burbank, M.A., CCC-SLP (Diné/Acoma Pueblo) is a speech-language pathologist and a lecturer for the University of Kansas Speech-Language-Hearing Department and holds an adjunct position in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at the University of Vermont. In his talk, he’ll provide an overview of intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in youth, with an emphasis on early childhood, and the associated health and educational implications. He’ll explore the social determinants of the high incidence of I/DD in culturally and linguistically diverse communities and give recommendations for addressing and preventing I/DD. Prevention strategies will include culturally responsive teaching, best practices for fostering language, early literacy, and social-emotional development of diverse learners and community engagement.

More about Allison-Burbank

Allison-Burbank holds several leadership positions including vice chair of the Multi-Cultural Committee (MCC) within the Association of University Centers on Disabilities and co-chair of the Native American Caucus within the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). He serves as a project coordinator for the Culturally Responsive Early Literacy Instruction: American Indian/Alaska Native at the University of Kansas. His clinical and research interests include community assessment and capacity building, parent training and advocacy, primary prevention interventions, culturally responsive teaching practices, and epidemiologic surveillance of neurodevelopmental disabilities in tribal communities.

Closing Keynote

Steve Pemberton

A Chance in the World

As a recipient of the Horizon Award by the United States Congress, presented to individuals in the private sector who have contributed to expanding opportunities for all Americans, Steve Pemberton is known for making equality, access and opportunity pillars of both his professional and personal life.

In his talk, A Chance in the World, he shares how he overcame seemingly impossible odds after growing up in the foster care system—all while trying to solve the mystery of his own identity and destiny. Steve also provides valuable lessons on diversity, self-empowerment, breaking negative cycles, creating a vision and achieving your goals—even when everyone says you don’t have a chance in the world.

More about Pemberton

Armed with a warrior spirit and a servant’s heart, Pemberton currently serves as Chief Human Resources Officer for Globoforce, a leading provider of social recognition and continuous performance development solutions. Prior to his current position, he served as Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion and Global Chief Diversity Officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance, the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise in the world. He was the first person in Walgreens’ 100-plus year history to hold the position of Chief Diversity Officer, and under his leadership the company reached record levels of performance in areas of representation, retention, employee engagement and supplier diversity.

In his personal life, Steve is a passionate champion for disadvantaged youth, serving on several boards including United States Business Leadership Network and UCAN. He established The Pemberton Fund for the Future at The Home for Little Wanderers to provide help and guidance to children aging out of foster care.