Building a Bright Start for New York’s Children: A Panel on the Social, Emotional, and Developmental Needs of Young Children and Their Families


June 15, 2021

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

In Partnership With

Join Citizens’ Committee for Children and the Healthy Minds, Healthy Kids Campaign for a panel discussing innovative opportunities to support the healthy development and social and emotional wellbeing of infants and toddlers in New York.

About the Panel

The first few years of life are a crucial time for a child’s physical health and social and emotional development. Too often, however, families face significant barriers accessing services and supports for young children. These types of services have become even more vital in the aftermath of COVID-19, which has fundamentally disrupted access to screenings and services and heightened stressors for young children and their caregivers.

Early identification and intervention are key to ensuring children get a healthy start to life, are school ready, and have their developmental and mental health needs addressed during this critical window of brain growth. Our speakers will explore a new analysis of child development and school readiness indicators and discuss innovative interventions that engage families in strengths-based approaches to young children’s growth and development. Through discussion, panelists will also identify steps that the city and state leaders can take to bring promising practices to scale.

About the Panel Speakers

Erasma Beras-Monticciolo, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Power of Two

Erasma is an Afro-Latina activist and co-founder of Power of Two. She holds a B.A. from St. Johns University and an MPA from NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Policy. With over fifteen years of experience, Erasma has successfully established relationships with policymakers, community-based organizations, and social change groups to create partnerships and build support for programs serving historically marginalized populations in NYC. Erasma is a strong believer in healing-informed practice and approaches all of her work with this framework in mind. She is a 2019 Promise Ventures Fellow, 2020 Aspen Healthy Communities Senior Fellow, and a 2021 NYU Steinhardt Senior Leaders Fellow.



Aileen Gonzalez, Early Intervention Ambassador for United for Brownsville

Aileen Gonzalez is the first Early Intervention Ambassador with United for Brownsville and a graduate student at Emerson College pursuing a degree in Communication Disorders. She has extensive experience working with a diverse array of children with special needs and families in hospital, school and community-based settings. She developed her passion for helping families into a career specialized in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Aileen has witnessed firsthand the communicative challenges presented by young children in preschool settings, as well as the treatment plans used to address them. Her work included supporting children with disabilities in building meaningful relationships, as well as community participation and advocacy. Her experiences awarded her with skills such as patience, empathy, and versatility that are evident in her ability to instill vigor in the families and children she serves.


Beth Maletz, Pediatric Psychiatry Nurse Practitioner at Washington Heights Family Health Center, New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York

My entire career has been dedicated to caring for those most impacted by disparities and injustices in our world. As a psychiatric nurse practitioner within New York Presbyterian Hospital’s (NYPH) Pediatric Integrated Mental Health Program, I provide mental health treatment to children and families impacted by severe social determinants of health. My role in population-level programming and community outreach at NYPH and with Citizens’ Committee for Children aims to improve maternal mental health and early childhood social, emotional, and developmental outcomes around New York City. To have a greater impact and prepare the next generation of clinicians to provide the highest level of mental healthcare, I teach at Columbia University School of Nursing. I feel privileged to utilize my passion and experience, continue to learn from and collaborate with others, and be a part of a movement committed to creating healthier communities.


Mary McCord, Director of Pediatrics at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Sydenham

Mary McCord, MD, MPH is the Director of Pediatrics at NYC Health and Hospitals Gotham Health and at the Sydenham site. She is also a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at New York University Medical Center. For over 30 years her work has focused on improving clinical services to vulnerable children using community partnership and population health approaches. As a leader of the Community Pediatrics Program at Columbia University Medical Center from its inception in 1998 through her departure in 2011, and as the Medical and then Pediatric Director of New York-Presbyterian’s Washington Heights Family Health Center from 1996-2006, Dr. McCord lead a team of committed partners who built numerous programs which remain core programs at the Medical Center, including the Integrated Mental Health program in Pediatric Primary Care, the Healthy Schools/Healthy Families program, the WIN for Asthma program, New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s Reach Out and Read program and of the Lang Youth Medical Program.

Since coming to NYC Health and Hospitals in 2014 she has worked to focus primary care services on a 2 Generation approach to Pediatric Primary Care through a program called 3-2-1 IMPACT. 321 IMPACT aims to transform the model of Pediatric and Pre-natal care at NYC H+H to a 2 Generation approach that makes optimal social emotional outcomes the population health focus of care. Since 2016 Dr. McCord has also been an active member of NY State’s First Thousand Days initiative and its Children and Adolescent Value Based payment Subcommittee and Clinical Advisory Committee. Since early 2018 she has been the co-Chair of the H+H Ambulatory Care Leadership Council Pediatric Workgroup

Presentation By: Bijan Kimiagar, Associate Executive Director for Research at Citizens’ Committee for Children

Moderated By: Alice Bufkin, Director of Policy for Child and Adolescent Health at Citizens’ Committee for Children

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