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Supporting Families to Foster Pediatric Brain Health

Key themes and learning from the 2022 Pediatric Brain Health Summit


Critical brain development happens during the prenatal to three-years-old period of life. Pediatricians have a unique opportunity to leverage this science to support families. The 2022 Pediatric Brain Summit focused on this opportunity with its theme, “Working Together to Support Relational Health in Families.”

Promoting the science of early brain development and its impact on lifelong health is core to the Foundation’s Resilient Children strategy. Because pediatric care reaches almost all children shortly after birth and maintains a connection to families at regular intervals via well-child visits, pediatrics offers the best prospect to leverage the critical developmental period of brain development that occurs during the prenatal to three period. To ensure that pediatric providers have access to information and tools to effectively support families during this critical period of brain development, the Foundation supports the Texas Safe Babies Pediatric Brain Health Initiative and its annual Pediatric Brain Health Summit.

This collaboration focuses on the prenatal to three-year-old developmental window, promoting the science on pediatric brain development to help inform and support programs that enable community resilience and optimal child development in Texas across sectors.

The theme of the 2022 Pediatric Brain Health Summit was “Working Together to Support Relational Health in Families.” The sessions made clear the importance of relational health to healthy child development provided actionable insights on how to proactively support families to care for children before issues like neglect arise.

The Role of Pediatrics in Creating Thriving Families and Healthy Communities

While everyone who interacts with children can benefit from a better understanding of brain development and resilience, pediatricians have a unique opportunity to screen for potential issues and support families and caregivers in a child’s development.

In the session Healthy Communities and Thriving Families: Role of Pediatrics, Dr. Renee Boynton-Jarrett shared examples of how, through cross-sector engagement, and by listening to families in small groups, healthcare providers can break down silos, redesign their healthcare practices, and build community capacity.

Dr. Boynton-Jarret tied these examples to an in-depth examination of how structural inequities disproportionately inflict harm on Black children and other children from marginalized communities. She highlighted the importance of making this connection across sectors to improve health equity.

“Our social structures really influence the way in which relational health can show up consistently, equitably, and in a just way for all children.”

You can watch recordings of all summit sessions, including Dr. Boynton-Jarrett’s presentation, or read a high-level summaries and key takeaways here: 

Save the date! Attend the 2023 summit on May 1-3. The summit will be held in-person in Austin, Texas with a virtual registration option.

Pediatric Brain Health Summit

The 2022 Pediatric Brain Health Summit was a collaboration between the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Texas Department of State Health Services, Episcopal Health Foundation, St. David’s Foundation, The University of Texas System, and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler.

Meet our Contributors


Kim McPherson, MPAff

Senior Program Officer

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