Our Work

Transform Systems

Transforming Systems, Transforming Lives

To transform our systems, all of us who are deeply invested in the health and well-being of children and families must come together with our most expansive ideas for advancing relational health and emotional connection to build transformative strategies. Most critically, we must remove silos, which lead to inequitable, inefficient, and disjointed practices that directly hold back many families from achieving relational health.

The Nurture Connection movement calls on systems leaders and practitioners to:

  • Develop and expand a relational health workforce.
  • Dismantle silos, which get in the way of practitioners delivering the most complete family-oriented care and supports.
  • Create a culture that builds trust between the relational health workforce and parents through partnerships that allow parents and caregivers to show up as their children’s most capable guardians in alignment with their cultures and traditions.
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The ERH Workforce

The Early Relational Health workforce consists of doulas, community health workers, home visitors, early care and education providers, and other practitioners working alongside young children and families. This workforce shoulders its own tremendous demands, starting with the challenge that there just isn’t enough capacity to meet the individual and unique needs of families.

What does exist has not been readied up and equipped to support the families in the most effective and equitable ways to promote Early Relational Health. Nor are they supported through policies and practices that prioritize their health and well-being so they can bring their best selves to the young children and families they serve.

The Nurture Connection movement is working on a variety of initiatives to better support the workforce to promote ERH for every family, including:

  1. Supporting the Academic Primary Care Settings Workgroup which aims to learn from family experience to develop a curriculum to teach ERH to emerging pediatric professionals, specifically medical students and residents in academic primary care settings. This workgroup consists of leaders from University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Benioff Children’s Hospitals and the UCSF Center for Child and Community Health; Duke University Children’s Hospital and Health Center; Columbia University Medical Center; Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital; and Family Voices;
  2. Integrating Early Relational Health training across HealthConnect One’s doula and perinatal support networks;
  3. Supporting the Michigan Department of Health in the development of the ERH Core Competencies and Curriculum for the early childhood workforce.

ERH in Practice

Reach Out and Read (ROR) is supporting the wide-scale promotion of ERH through training that equips pediatric primary care communities to promote positive parent/caregiver-child interactions through early literacy.

The initiative is focused on communicating the importance of ERH and creating change within the pediatric primary care workforce. In collaboration with clinicians, the ROR team revised the core ROR training, an online accredited training that is a prerequisite for all clinicians in any clinic joining the ROR community.

The training now reflects the organizational emphasis on the promotion of ERH through ROR, including:

  • The wealth of evidence for the importance of promoting ERH
  • The critical role that pediatric care clinicians can play in promoting ERH because of their near-universal access to families with young children
  • Guidance about how to enhance the promotion of ERH through ROR by encouraging parents/caregivers to find moments of connection with their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers through shared reading
  • Since April 2021, ROR has trained more than 10,000 pediatric clinicians.

Since April 2021, ROR has been training pediatric clinicians serving communities across the nation on the promotion of ERH practices.

Creating Lasting Change Through Policy

Join the Nurture Connection Movement

Community by community, we are building a networked and engaged movement in partnership with parents and families.

Through our collective imagination and effort, we can make sure that every child is cared for and valued, every family is supported and heard, and every community is made stronger through positive and enduring emotional connection.