What patients and families need to know
Childcare and biological sensitivity to context
Zients Community Mental Health Lecture - Childcare and Biological Sensitivity to Context
Deborah A. Phillips, PhD
Professor of Psychology and Associated Faculty,
Public Policy Institute, Georgetown University
Health professionals must understand how children’s environments, which they do not see directly, affect their growth and development. The evidence linking adverse experience to brain development and genetic mechanisms, and from these to physical and mental health and behavioral development, has immediate implications for healthcare practitioners who work with young children and families.
Childcare is a pervasive environment in the lives of young children that can either ameliorate or exacerbate adverse experiences, and thus must become an arena that all practitioners inquire about as part of effective medical care.
Attendees of this session will be able to:
- Describe the process through which early adversity undermines early development and the role of biological sensitivity to context in these processes
- Identify the role of early childhood education in addressing the toxic stress that arises from early adversity, and thus its importance to medical practice
- Define the direction in which ongoing research and intervention science related to early childhood education are moving, and notably how they are increasingly guided by neurobiological science
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