Trailblazing Leaders

Emerging Leadership Award

For the third consecutive year, we honored three outstanding professionals with the ZERO TO THREE Emerging Leadership Award at our 2022 LEARN Conference.

The award acknowledges the efforts of professionals with five to 15 years of experience who have made significant contributions to the field of infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH), highlighting those serving diverse populations who strive for increased access to services and supports. Recipients demonstrate significant visionary and cutting-edge work to transform practices, policies and research at the local, state or national level in promoting IECMH.

Erin Henderson Lacerdo

Executive Director, Association for Infant Mental Health (AIMH) in Hawai’i

Practice Award

Lacerdo previously served on the AIMH Hawai‘i Board of Directors, where she co-developed and led the Promising Minds Fellows Program, a statewide initiative to build an IECMH-focused direct service and consultation workforce. The program’s model focuses on creating capacity for early childhood providers to understand and embrace the basic tenets of IECMH, building a system of consultants to provide support to those working with the 0–5 age group, and collaboratively supporting the work in perpetuity.

Callan Wells

Senior Health Policy Manager, Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS)

Policy Award

Wells has helped build an early childhood system of care in Georgia that promotes coordinated policy and collaborative service delivery to support young children with, or at risk for, social, emotional and behavioral health needs, as well as to promote healthy social and emotional development for all children. On behalf of GEEARS, Wells lent her guidance and expertise to a legislative study committee that brought to fruition the state’s first IECMH Director and a Child-Parent Psychotherapy pilot. She also helped establish the Georgia Association for Infant Mental Health (GA-AIMH) and recently led GEEARS’ advocacy efforts to pass the Mental Health Parity Act into Georgia law, bringing early childhood into the state lens for comprehensive behavioral health.

Holly Hatton-Bowers, PhD

Assistant Professor in Child, Youth, and Family studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an Early Childhood Extension Specialist

Research Award

Dr. Hatton-Bowers’ applied research focuses on enhancing and supporting the emotional well-being of caregivers, helping professionals and young children. Dr. Hatton-Bowers co-created the Cultivating Healthy Intentional Mindful Educators (CHIME) professional development program based on mindfulness and compassion aimed at enhancing early childhood educators’ well-being. Her CHIME research is the first of its kind to investigate the impact of a mindfulness-based intervention on physiological markers of stress to determine whether the intervention has a positive effect on early childhood educators’ self-regulation and well-being, which is essential for their ability to be fully present with young children.