Building Children's Brains, Pt. I

MON, NOV 13, 2017 (46:47)

The first session of the WGBH 7th annual Innovation IdeaLab starts with The Brain Beat: Building Children’s Brains, moderated by journalist Arun Rath. In this discussion, Harvard’s Jack Shonkoff and Ron Ferguson talk about Early Childhood Development.

Innovation IdeaLab explores new ideas from thought leaders, scientists and grassroots activists presenting to WGBH documentary producers from national television programs, children’s programs, digital initiatives, radio/broadband series, independent public media producers and interested foundation representatives.

Day One features The Brain Beat: Building Children’s Brains, moderated by journalist Arun Rath.

Day Two features sessions on the Future of Nature, Future of Work, Future of Equity: Engaging New Voices, and Future of Cities, moderated by journalists Miles O’Brien and Kara Miller.

Photo: Ronald Ferguson

+ BIO: Jack P. Shonkoff

Jack P. Shonkoff is the Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, and Founding Director of the university-wide Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. He has served as Chair of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families at the National Academy of Sciences and led a blue-ribbon committee that produced the landmark report From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development.

Dr. Shonkoff has received multiple honors, including elected membership to the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) of the National Academy of Sciences, the C. Anderson Aldrich Award in Child Development from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Public Policy for Children from the Society for Research in Child Development. In 2011, he launched Frontiers of Innovation, a multi-sectoral, R&D platform that engages researchers, practitioners, policymakers, community leaders, parents, investors, and experts in systems change who are committed to driving science-based innovation that achieves breakthrough impacts on the development and lifelong health of young children and families facing adversity.

+ BIO: Ronald Ferguson

Ronald F. Ferguson is an MIT-trained economist who focuses social science research on economic, social, and educational challenges. He has been on the faculty at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government since 1983, after full time appointments at Brandeis and Brown Universities. In 2014, he co-founded Tripod Education Partners and shifted into an adjunct role at the Kennedy School, where he remains a fellow at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy and faculty director of the university-wide Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI).

During the 1980s and ’90s Ron focused much of his attention on economic and community development. That work culminated in the social science synthesis volume Urban Problems and Community Development (1999), which remains an important text in graduate policy courses.

By the late 1980s, he had begun to study education and youth development because academic skill disparities were contributing to growing wage disparity. During the 1990s and early 2000s, his writings on the topic appeared in publications of the National Research Council, the Brookings Institution, the U.S. Department of Education, and various books and journals. In December 2007, Harvard Education Press published his book Toward Excellence with Equity: An Emerging Vision for Closing the Achievement Gap. A February 2011 profile of Ron in the New York Times wrote, “there is no one in America who knows more about the gap than Ronald Ferguson.”

Ron’s current focus as AGI director is an initiative entitled the Boston Basics that is spreading to other cities in a Basics National Network. It takes a socio-ecological saturation approach, collaborating with many partners to reach extended families with caregiving advice for infants and toddlers. In addition, Ron is co-authoring a book with journalist Tatsha Robertson on the ways that highly successful people were parented. Ron holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a Ph.D. from MIT, both in economics. He has been happily married for 39 years and is the father of two adult sons.

Partner
WGBH
Series
Future Tense, Future Perfect? The WGBH Innovation IdeaLab
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