ECCOE Speaker Series


The 2023-2024 speaker series focuses on infants and toddlers and the amazing work that goes into brain development during the earliest years. View a PDF of the schedule here and see the entire list with registration links below:

Join us for the FINAL presentation on June 21, 2024:

June 21, 2024
12-1 pm MT; Zoom
Building an Expanded Mindset for Science-Informed Policy and Practice
Dr. Jack Shonkoff; Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University
Register Here

Previous Presentations:

October 20, 2023
Building Brains: Neuroscience in Practice
Dr. Amelia Bachleda; University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences
Dr. Yolandra Toya; Developmental Pediatrics New Mexico

October 2023 Brain Builders Resource Guide and Slides

November 10, 2023
12-1 pm Zoom
Building Systems and Policies for the Earliest Years
Miriam Calderon; Chief Policy Officer for Zero to Three
Sara Mickelson; Deputy Secretary NM ECECD

November 2023 Brain Builders Resource Guide and Slides

January 19, 2024
12-1 pm Zoom
Building Healthy Beginnings for Child Development
Dr. Carrie Quinn; Executive Director of the Mount Sinai Parenting Center
Dr. Heather Pratt-Chavez; UNM Pediatrics

January 2024 Brain Builders Resource Guide and Slides

February 23, 2024
12-1 pm Zoom
Building Protective Supports for Vulnerable Children and Families
Dr. Brenda Jones Harden; Zero to Three & Columbia University School of Social Work
Adriana E. Molina; Allies for Every Child
Michele Harwood; CASA First

February 2024 Brain Builders Resource Guide and Slides

March 8, 2024
12-1 pm Zoom
Building Strong Children: The Role of Culture and Family in Child Development
Dr. Deana Around Him; Child Trends
Zachariah Ben; Family Leadership
Jovanna Archuleta; LANL Foundation

March 2024 Brain Builders Resource Guide

April 19, 2024
12-1 pm Zoom
Building Joy: The Brain Science of Play
Dr. Stephanie Jones, Harvard Early Childhood Education
Janelle Garcia Cole; UNM Family Development Program

April 2024 Brain Builders Resource Guide and Slides

May 17, 2024
12-1 pm Zoom
Building Resiliency and Connection Through Brain Science
Dr. Deborah Phillips; Georgetown University
Dr. Angela Owens; Glass Family Research Institute at NMSU

May 2024 Brain Builders Resource Guide and Slides

Speaker Bios

Amelia Bachleda, Ph.D., is Director of Outreach and Education at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. Bachleda’s professional background bridges the gap between two distinct fields — education and neuroscience. She holds a Ph.D. in neurobiology and specializes in sharing the science of learning and development in actionable formats. She believes science is for everyone and loves bringing the latest research on learning and brain development to life in meaningful ways.

Dr. Yolandra Gomez Toya, MD, MPH, is originally from Dulce, New Mexico, and a member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation.  She graduated from Princeton in 1988 with a degree in Public Policy, then from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Masters of Public Health in 1991.  After working as an advocate in public health in Native American communities in New Mexico, she returned to school and received a medical degree and completed her Pediatric Residency from the University of New Mexico (UNM) School of Medicine.  As one of the fewer than 300 Native American pediatricians in the country, she is an advocate for Native American access to culturally competent healthcare especially for children, and a strong proponent for increased representation of Native American physician and medical professionals.

Dr. Gomez Toya currently works in private practice in Rio Rancho, NM, and for the past eight years pediatric consultant at the Pueblo of Jemez Clinic where she specializes in Developmental Pediatrics. Dr. Gomez Toya was instrumental in creating an innovative school-based collaborative effort in Jemez between the reservation school, clinic and parents to address the needs of Native American children with learning and behavior challenges.  She also teaches medical students as an Assistant Professor at the UNM School of Medicine primarily in primary care and rural medicine and is a mentor to high school and college Native American students interested in the field of medicine.  Dr. Gomez Toya founded and is a co-leader of the first Native Alumni of Princeton group affiliated with the university in 2018 and was recently elected as the first Native American woman to the Princeton Board of Trustees in 2022.

As the Chief Policy Officer, Miriam Calderón leads the development and implementation of ZERO TO THREE’s policy agenda, priorities, and strategies; oversees the Policy Center, which includes federal and state policy and advocacy; and serves as the principal spokesperson for the organization on public policy matters.

Sara Mickelson is Deputy Secretary at New Mexico’s Early Childhood Education Department, where she supports the state’s programs that serve young children and their families. Prior to that, she serves as director of early childhood initiatives for Harris County, the largest county in Texas. She has also served as chief of programs and chief of staff for the Oregon Early Learning Division of the Oregon Department of Education and has worked for the Bainum Family Foundation, leading the policy strategy that resulted in the landmark District of Columbia Birth-to-Three for All Act. Mickelson holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree from Brown University.

Dr. Carrie Quinn is a primary care pediatrician and the executive director of the Mount Sinai Parenting Center. Her work at the Parenting Center promotes strong parent-child relationships and early childhood development by training healthcare professionals and transforming the physical environment to enhance existing pediatric healthcare interactions. Her team has created a suite of parenting resources that demonstrate how to promote positive parenting behaviors during routine well child visits. Prior to her work with the Parenting Center, Dr. Quinn practiced primary care in Queens, New York and at the Faculty Practice within the Department of Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She received her undergraduate degree in Science-Business from the University of Notre Dame and her medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Quinn completed her residency in Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center in the Boston Combined Residency Program. 

Dr. Pratt-Chavez is a general pediatrician and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.  She specializes in the care of babies and young children in the setting of parental substance use disorder and complex trauma.  She is the author and leader of NOWS-NM, Optimizing Care for Neonates with Opiate Exposure in New Mexico, a program that supports rural hospitals in best practices of care for newborns with prenatal opiate exposure.  She is also the Director of FOCUS Pediatrics, a multidisciplinary primary care clinic that serves families with complex structural and social determinants of health. The FOCUS program provides primary care for the whole family, outpatient substance use disorder treatment, behavioral health support, as well as intensive developmental and home-visiting services. Dr. Pratt-Chavez is committed to serving families with a compassionate, non-judgmental and trauma informed approach to maximize the home environment for children.

Brenda Jones Harden is the Ruth Ottman Professor of Child and Family Welfare at Columbia University School of Social Work, and is Professor Emerita of Human Development at the University of Maryland. Her research examines the development and mental health of young children experiencing adversity, particularly maltreatment, foster care, or other forms of trauma (Jones Harden et al., 2016). She focuses on preventing maladaptive developmental outcomes through early childhood programs, on which she has conducted numerous evaluations (Jones Harden et al., 2021). She received a PhD in developmental and clinical psychology from Yale University and a Master’s in Social Work from New York University.

Adriana E. Molina, MS, LMFT, has spent over 20 years working with at risk children and families coping with everything from living with AIDS, Extreme Poverty, Domestic Violence, Gang Culture and Child Abuse and Neglect. Ms. Molina is a CA-CIFECMH Endorsed Infant-Family & Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist & Reflective Practice Facilitator II and is currently the Interim Chief Program Officer at Allies for Every Child in Los Angeles. Her focus in recent years has been to educate the community and stakeholders about Early Childhood Mental Health and strengthening System of Care communities serving children 0-5 and their families.

A licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and an adoptive parent, she has been described as a clinician by training, a social worker by trade and a community advocate in practice. Ms. Molina has been an advisory member for Sesame Street in Communities and an active participant in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. She provides training and consultation on topics related to Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, Leadership, Trauma and Developmentally Informed Services, and Community Collaboration that include the Impact of Implicit Bias and helping children (and adults) manage change and how to conceptualize family need and service delivery with an awareness of cultural, historical and current family and social context to promote improved outcomes.

Michele Harwood is committed to supporting infants, toddlers, and young children in foster care as Program Coordinator at CASA First.  Their needs are high and services are harder to secure.  This young population is especially vulnerable to trauma that can have long-term consequences for a child’s development, attachment, health, learning and behavior.

Michele came to CASA First with a background in early intervention working with infants, toddlers and young children.  Currently she trains and supports Court Appointed Special Advocates as they work directly with children who have been removed from their families due to abuse and neglect.  The needs are unique and services are vital to this young population.

Deana Around Him, DrPH, ScM, is a research scholar leading the development of Child Trends’ applied research agenda to advance the well-being of Indigenous children, youth, and families. Her work specifically aims to improve the well-being of American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) children and families through culturally and scientifically rigorous research and evaluation. Dr. Around Him’s lived experience as a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, mother, and relative inform a career that respects Tribal sovereignty, builds on cultural strengths, and seeks to inform the policies and programs encountered by Indigenous families. 

Dr. Around Him’s training focused on the social determinants of health, the life course approach to health, maternal and child health, and research ethics. She has worked with AIAN communities to develop and adapt interventions, build research and evaluation capacity, and strengthen research ethics knowledge and infrastructure. Dr. Around Him often applies community-engaged and community-based participatory research (CBPR) approaches in her work. Her past projects have involved partnerships to prevent adverse childhood experiences, trauma, and youth suicide; evaluate a culturally based safe infant sleep intervention; and explore American Indian student perspectives of school climate. Her current projects focus on evaluating a culturally based parent training curriculum, examining how home visiting has supported equity during the COVID-19 pandemic, and integrating Indigenous research methodologies and approaches in early childhood research and practice. She is also the strategic dissemination lead for the Tribal Early Childhood Research Center. 

In addition to her role at Child Trends, she is an adjunct faculty member at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Community Health from Brown University, a Master of Science with a concentration in maternal and child health from the Harvard School of Public Health, and a Doctor of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

Zachariah Ben (Navajo) is a 6th generation traditional farmer and sandpainter in Shiprock, NM. He is of the “Giant People” born for the “Red Running Into Water” clan. His maternal grandfather’s clan is the “Red House People” and his paternal grandfather is of the “Salt People. Zach has over 10 years of experience in traditional farming and is the Founder and Owner of Bidii Baby Foods, LLC, a Navajo-registered business that sells a product line of organic indigenous baby foods. Zach works part time with The BEN Initiative supporting farmer training and resource procurement Zach has been a member of the NM state-led Family Leadership Council where he works with other families to address early childhood issues through action and advocacy. Zach also serves as a Tribal Liaison with University of New Mexico where he supports other indigenous entrepreneurs as they seek to establish their businesses in tribal communities.

Jovanna Archuleta rejoined the LANL Foundation after serving as the nation’s first Assistant Secretary for Native American Early Childhood Education and Care with the newly established cabinet level state Early Childhood Education and Care Department of New Mexico where she served under the Lujan Grisham administration. Prior to her appointment from 2020 to 2022, Jovanna worked for the LANL Foundation from 2017 to 2020 as the Pueblo Outreach Coordinator working with the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos to develop individual early childhood strategic plans. In her current role as the Early Childhood Community Outreach Director. Jovanna comes from the Pueblo of Nambe where she lives with her two children and husband. She has earned a Master’s in Business Administration from New Mexico Highlands University and a Child Development Certificate through the Pueblo Outreach Cohort from Central New Mexico Community College.

Stephanie M. Jones is the Gerald S. Lesser Professor in Child Development and Education and Director of the EASEL Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research, anchored in prevention science, focuses on social, emotional, and behavioral development from early childhood through early adolescence. Over the past fifteen years, her work has centered on evaluation research addressing the impact of preschool- and elementary-level social-emotional learning interventions on behavioral and academic outcomes and classroom practices, as well as new curriculum development, implementation, and testing. Jones is also co-Director (with Nonie Lesaux) of the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative and Co-PI of the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H). She serves on numerous national advisory boards and expert consultant groups related to social-emotional development, early childhood education, and child and family anti-poverty policies. Her research is published in academic and educational journals as well as in trade publications, and she regularly presents her work to national academic and practitioner audiences. Jones holds a BA from Barnard College and a PhD from Yale University.

Janelle Garcia Cole has been a part of the Early Childhood community for over twenty years. She joined the UNM Family Development Program in May 2015 as a Training and Development Consultant and Statewide Trainer and is now in the co-associate director position. She has a BA in Elementary Education from NMSU and an MA in Language, Literacy, and Socio-Cultural Studies from the UNM. Janelle taught in the Even Start Family Literacy Program for Albuquerque Public schools before coming to UNM and is a certified Elementary and Early Childhood teacher with a TESOL endorsement. In addition, she is a Master Trainer on the NM Training Registry. She is committed to advocating for and improving the well-being of children in New Mexico and encouraging the importance of play as the foundation for learning.

Deborah Phillips is Professor Emerita (Psychology) at Georgetown University. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Yale University. She was the first Executive Director of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families of the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine and served as Study Director for From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Child Development. She has also served as President of the Foundation for Child Development, Director of Child Care Information Services at the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and Congressional Science Fellow on the staff of Congressman George Miller.
Dr. Phillips has served on the National Board for Education Sciences (U.S. Department of Education), the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child at Harvard University, and the Research Advisory Board of the Committee on Economic Development. Her research on the developmental impacts of early education – child care, pre-k programs, and Head Start – and on the child care workforce has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Child Care Bureau, and numerous national foundations, as well as recognized at White House conferences and in the State of the Union address. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society. She received the 2022 Nicholas Hobbs award from the American Psychological Association, the 2022 President’s Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award from Georgetown University, and the 2011 Distinguished Contributions to Education in Child Development Award from the Society for Research in Child Development.

Angela Owens holds a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Early childhood – 4th grade), dual Master’s Degrees as an Instructional Specialist in Early Childhood and Educational Administration, and a Ph.D. in Literacy/Biliteracy from The University of Texas at El Paso. She works as the Director of the Glass Family Research Institute for Early Childhood Studies and with early childhood and special education teacher candidates at New Mexico State University. Her research interests include caregiver experiences with the special education process, early childhood education, and inclusivity for all children. Her experiences range from teaching in K-12 and special education settings, as well as a professional development consultant, liaison for families who have children with special needs, and an elementary campus administrator. Dr. Owens can be contacted at

Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., is the Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Graduate School of Education; Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital; Research Staff at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Director of the university-wide Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. He currently chairs the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, whose mission is to bring credible science to bear on public policy affecting children and families, and The JPB Research Network on Toxic Stress, which is developing new measures of stress effects and resilience in young children.
Dr. Shonkoff has received multiple professional honors, including elected membership in the National Academy of Medicine, the C. Anderson Aldrich Award in Child Development from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Distinguished Contributions to Social Policy Award from the Society for Research in Child Development. He has authored more than 150 publications and has been a visiting professor or delivered named lectureships at more than 35 universities in the United States and around the world.

This speaker series is supported by:

Brindle Foundation Logo

Thank you for joining us for the 2022-2023 early childhood speaker series featuring national and local New Mexico experts focused on equity and social justice in early childhood teacher preparation. We greatly appreciate all of our higher education partners who made this series possible. You can view all our previous speakers and presentations in our Speaker Series Archive.


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