Empowering Parents and Optimising Early Childhood Development

Presented by ANU College of Business & Economics

Join the ANU College of Business and Economics for a virtual event about the important role parents and caregivers play in the foundational brain development of children.

Our presenters, Professor Dana Suskind, MD, and Professor John A. List, who joined the ANU Research School of Economics' John Mitchell Economics of Poverty Lab in late 2019, are Founders and Co-Directors of the TMW Centre for Early Learning and Public Health (TMW Centre) at the University of Chicago (UChicago). They believe that while most early childhood efforts focus on children rather than the adults in their lives, engaging the latter is a critical missing link.

Dana and John will be introduced by Nicola Forrest AO, Co-Chair and Co-Founder of Minderoo Foundation. They will share their Center's findings in this space, and the innovative ways it is developing new approaches to ensure parent and caregiver intervention in a child's early development yields strong outcomes.

About our Speakers

Nicola Forrest AO is a driving force behind one of Australia's largest philanthropic organisations, Minderoo Foundation. A shared passion for improving early childhood outcomes and building stronger communities led Nicola and her husband Andrew to establish the Australian Children's Trust in 2001, the precursor to Minderoo Foundation.

In 2019, Nicola was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for her distinguished service to the community through philanthropic support of education and the arts, business, and the community. She is now spearheading a grassroots movement to improve outcomes for all Australian children and families through the Thrive by Five campaign, which advocates for a universally accessible, high-quality early learning system, delivered by a skilled and supported workforce. Nicola has also been instrumental in driving direct action through Minderoo Foundation's Bright Tomorrows parenting app, which provides tailored learning activities, 'in-the-moment' advice and practical tips to empower parents and caregivers to support children develop critical brain building skills.

Dana Suskind, MD is a professor of surgery and pediatrics. She is the Founder and Director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program at UChicago, and the Founder and Co-Director of the TMW Centre for Early Learning + Public Health, which designs innovative, evidence-based intervention programs. While her clinical work focuses on pediatric cochlear implantation, Dana's research focuses on optimising children's foundational brain development - in order to prevent the emergence of early cognitive disparities.

For her work in advancing public health approaches to early childhood development, Dana has received several accolades. In 2015, she was presented the LENA Research Foundation Making a Difference award. In the consequent years, she was conferred with the SENTAC Gray Humanitarian award and the Weizmann Women for Science Vision and Impact award.

Through her research, Dana has found that parent knowledge, belief, and behaviour are malleable and that their impact can be measured and mapped onto adult behaviour change as it relates to early cognition.

John A. List has held the appointment of Distinguished Professor of Economics at The Australian National University since 2019. He is also the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor in Economics at UChicago, where he has been a faculty member since 2005, and even served as Chairman of the Department of Economics from 2012-2018.

He was elected a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011, and a Fellow of the Econometric Society in 2015. He also received the Arrow Prize for Senior Economists in 2008, the Kenneth Galbraith Award in 2010, the Yrjo Jahnsson Lecture Prize in 2012, and the Klein Lecture Prize in 2016. He received an honorary doctorate from Tilburg University in 2014, and from the University of Ottawa in 2017.

His research focuses on questions in microeconomics, with a particular emphasis on using field experiments to address both positive and normative issues.

For more information please contact the CBE Alumni Team.

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This event will be recorded
The recording will be made publicly available after the event on the CBE webpage. Participants will be able to ask questions or make comments via the chat function. If you do not wish your question or comment to be in the recording, please contact the CBE Alumni team at alumni.cbe@anu.edu.au after the event. Alternatively, please ask them your question after the event via the same email address.

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