MassAIMH’s Board of Directors represents nationally-recognized experts from many different areas of practice, such as early education and care, pediatric health care, early intervention, home visiting, parent and family support, psychology, social work, psychiatry, research and policy, and parenting.
Board Members (click on member’s name to read bio)
Mathieu Bermingham, MD
Mathieu Bermingham, MD
Sarah Birss, MD
Dr. Sarah Birss is a child and adult psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, with training in developmental pediatrics. Dr. Birss has an interest in early emotional developmental theories, including attachment and psychoanalytic theories, and in applying this interest to clinical work with young children and parents. She has consulted to Early Intervention and to therapeutic preschools. She is on the faculty of the Infant-Parent Training Institute at Jewish Family and Children’s Service Greater Boston and for four years she was co-director with Dr. Epstein of the Infant Mental Health Training Program at the Boston Institute for Psychotherapy. Dr. Birss is a clinical instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and is on the faculty of the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute. Dr. Birss has a private practice in child and adult psychiatry and psychoanalysis in Cambridge.
Ellen Cullen, LMHC (Co-Chair, Policy Committee)
Ellen Cullen, LMHC is a licensed mental health counselor specializing in infant and early childhood mental health. She currently works for Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC) in the position of Clinical Supervisor at the Lawrence Family Counseling Center. The previous ten years she held the position of Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant and Therapist for Catholic Charities Family Child Care Program in the towns of Lynn, Peabody and Salem. Ellen has presented training to staff and child care providers on key topics including domestic violence, abuse and neglect, child development, worker self-care, the Pyramid Model (CSEFEL) and Mind in the Making series. Ellen provides individual play therapy and child-parent psychotherapy to families struggling with economic, domestic violence, substance abuse, mental health and child abuse/neglect concerns. In 1996 she received her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University, Cambridge MA. Ellen graduated from University of Massachusetts, Boston Infant-Parent Mental Health Post-graduate Fellowship Program in 2011. Her areas of interest include: workforce education/training for infant-early childhood mental health (I-ECMH) field; state-wide initiatives focusing on trauma-informed and developmental services for I-ECMH; cross-systems collaboration in all areas of service delivery; improved reimbursement for services through insurance companies; partnerships in funding sources for innovative programming; and developing a specialized trauma-informed dependency court model/pilot site to respond to the needs of children age 0-4 in the child protective system.
M. Ann Easterbrooks, PhD (Secretary; Chair, Research Committee)
M. Ann Easterbrooks, PhD is Professor in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University. Dr. Easterbrooks is former department Chair and Director of the Graduate Program. A developmental psychologist and applied developmental scientist, her work focuses on social and emotional development in infancy and childhood, and issues of risk and resilience in development. . She currently is Co-Principle Investigator of the Massachusetts Healthy Families Evaluation, examining the efficacy of Healthy Families Massachusetts, a statewide child maltreatment prevention program. Other current research investigates emotional availability and attachment in parent-child relationships and the role of maternal depression in infancy. Dr. Easterbrooks’ publications include chapters, research articles, and edited volumes on a range of topics, including: healthy social and emotional development in the context of psychosocial risk factors such as depression and trauma; father-child relationships in infancy and early childhood; the developmental course of parent-child attachment relationships; and promoting positive relationships in early education and care. She is a member of the Society for Research in Child Development, where she chairs the Publications Committee; the World Association for Infant Mental Health; she serves on the boards of the Boston Institute for the Development of Infants and Parents (BIDIP) and the Massachusetts Association for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (MassAIMH).
Claudia M. Gold, MD
Claudia M. Gold, MD is a pediatrician and writer with a long-standing interest in addressing children’s mental health needs in a preventive model. She has practiced general and behavioral pediatrics for over 25 years, and now specializes in early childhood mental health. She currently works as an infant-parent mental health specialist at the Austen Riggs Center and offers parent-child consultations for ages 0-3 at Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires. She is the author of several books: the recently released The Developmental Science of Early Childhood: Clinical Applications of Infant Mental Health Concepts from Infancy through Adolescence (Norton 2017); The Silenced Child: From Labels, Medication and Quick-Fix Solutions to Listening, Growth and Lifelong Resilience (Da Capo 2016); and Keeping Your Child in Mind: Overcoming Defiance, Tantrums and Other Everyday Behavior Problems by Seeing the World through Your Child’s Eyes (Da Capo 2011). She is on the faculty of William James College, University of Massachusetts, Boston Infant-Parent Mental Health Program, the Berkshire Psychoanalytic Institute, The Brazelton Institute and the Austen Riggs Center. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago and U of C Pritzker School of Medicine.
Alex Harrison, MD
Alex Harrison, MD
Donna Housman, EdD (Treasurer)
Dr. Donna Housman is the Founder and Executive Director of Beginnings Child Development Center (BCDC), a researching and training affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry, and a child and adult clinical psychologist. BCDC is a private day school that offers children aged three months through kindergarten a rich developmentally appropriate curriculum grounded in relevant research based on emotional foundations of learning and cognition during a child’s first six years. The school’s mission, developed by Dr. Housman, is to facilitate the healthy development of emotional skills, focusing on the building blocks of emotionally intelligent abilities. She is leading research and training focused on studying emotional development, self-regulation and its link and impact on the brain’s architecture in the development of executive functioning skills. Dr. Housman is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Boston University School of Medicine where her Beginnings of Emotional Intelligence and the Brain’s Architecture (BEIBA) lab focuses on the beginnings of emotional intelligence and the brain’s architecture from birth. As an expert in child development, Dr. Housman speaks extensively on the beginnings of emotional intelligence, bullying and other child development topics. Dr. Housman serves as Treasurer of the Massachusetts Association for Infant Mental Health and is a member of the New England Center for Children’s Advisory Board. She also maintains a private clinical practice in Wellesley.
Lucy Hudson, MS (Co-Chair Policy Committee)
Lucy Hudson, MS has more than 35 years of experience in project management, program implementation, and policy development in public and private sector child welfare, child care, mental health, and youth-serving organizations. Ms. Hudson currently serves as the Director for the Safe Babies Court Teams Project at ZERO TO THREE. She has been instrumental in the planning and development of the Court Teams Project and is responsible for the daily operation and oversight of all project activities, project staff, and fiscal matters. As the Director, she also produces training materials, including a series of DVDs about working with families involved in the child welfare system. For four years, she directed efforts in Massachusetts and nationally to learn about and expand the models of court-based, drop-in child care available to litigants, jurors, witnesses, and victims. While at the Center for the Study of Social Policy (1993-1996) Ms. Hudson was a member of the team evaluating the District of Columbia’s success in complying with the terms of the LaShawn A. v. Kelly class action lawsuit brought against the District on behalf of children in the child welfare system. Throughout her professional career, Ms. Hudson has served as a public speaker on issues affecting the lives of young children. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and her Master of Science degree from Wheelock College.
Peggy H. Kaufman, MEd, LICSW (Chair, Training Committee)
Peggy H. Kaufman, MEd, LICSW is Director of The Center for Early Relationship Support at Jewish Family and Children’s Service of greater Boston. Peggy is on the graduate faculty at The Infant-Parent Training Institute at Jewish Family and Children’s Service. Previous teaching positions include Wheelock College, The Boston Institute for Psychotherapy, Lesley University, Pine Manor College and Bank Street College of Education. For the past thirty years Peggy has been leading workshops and training locally and nationally in the areas of perinatal emotional health, parenting and family support and education. Her clinical specialty is perinatal emotional health.
Teresa M. Kohlenberg, MD
Teresa M. Kohlenberg, MD is a pediatrician-turned-child-psychiatrist, with a long-standing interest in young children and their parents. Initially trained as a developmental pediatrician, and a Fellow of the National Center for Clinical Infant Programs (Zero to Three) she worked with teen mothers and their children at Boston City Hospital, where she ran a large federally-funded intervention program for substance abuse affected teen families. She then trained in Child Psychiatry at Childrens Hospital, focusing on early parent-child interaction and therapy. Dr. Kohlenberg is a long-time member and past-President of the Boston Institute for the Development of Infants and Families. She teaches at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, has a private practice of child and adolescent psychiatry, consults to schools, and focuses on adoptive families.
Karlen Lyons-Ruth, PhD
Karlen Lyons-Ruth, PhD is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a member of the clinical staff and faculty of the Cambridge Health Alliance. Her research has focused on the assessment of attachment relationships in high-risk environments over the infancy, childhood, and adolescent periods and has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and several private foundations. Several attachment-focused assessments developed in her lab are now being disseminated internationally, including the AMBIANCE scales for atypical parent-infant interaction and the RISE scale for infant indiscriminate attachment behavior. She is the author of more than 70 research articles and book chapters and speaks internationally on infant social development, maternal trauma and depression, and the parent-infant attachment relationship. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and a former Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, and has served on the editorial boards of Child Development, Developmental Psychology, and the Infant Mental Health Journal.
Carmen Rosa Noroña, MSW, MS Ed., CEIS
Carmen Rosa Noroña, MSW, MS Ed., CEIS is from Ecuador where she trained and practiced as a clinical psychologist and served as a consultant in two UNICEF-funded projects for abandoned young children. For over 20 years, Ms. Noroña has provided clinical services to infants and toddlers and their families in a variety of settings including early intervention, home-based and outpatient programs. She co-developed the Birth to Three Clinic and was a Fussy Baby specialist at Baby Steps, a NICU follow-up clinic for fragile babies and their parents at Boston Medical Center. Ms. Noroña currently is the Clinical Coordinator of the Child Witness to Violence Project and the Associate Director of the Boston Site Early Trauma Treatment Network at Boston Medical Center. She is a Child-Parent Psychotherapy National Trainer. Her practice and research interests are on the impact of trauma on attachment; the intersection of culture, immigration, and trauma; tailoring mental health services to new immigrant families; and cross-cultural supervision and consultation. Ms. Noroña is a co-chair of the Culture Consortium of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and she has adapted and translated materials for Spanish-speaking families affected by trauma. Ms. Noroña has also contributed to the literature in infant mental health and diversity.
J. Kevin Nugent, PhD
J. Kevin Nugent, PhD is the Founder and Director of the Brazelton Institute at Children’s Hospital in Boston and is on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School in the Department of Pediatrics. He is also Professor of Child and Family Studies at the University of Massachusettes at Amherst. Dr. Nugent was educated in Ireland and received his doctorate in Developmental Psychology from Boston College. He has worked at the Children’s Hospital in Boston since 1978, conducting research on newborn behavior and early parent-infant relations. Dr. Nugent is co-author with Dr. Brazelton, of the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale, third edition, published by Mac Keith Press, London and has been the director of training on the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale since 1978. He and his colleagues, Drs. Keefer, O’Brien, Johnson and Blanchard, developed the Newborn Behavioral Observations (NBO) system, formerly known as the CLNBAS. This observational set is intended for use by clinicians in pediatric and intervention settings, as a way of sensitizing parents to the competencies and individuality of their infants. It is comprised of 18 neurobehavioral observations and is based on an individualized, infant-focused, family-centered approach to working with infants and families in the early months of life. Dr. Nugent’s areas of research include the effects of a range of prenatal teratogens on neonatal and developmental outcome, the impact of melatonin on newborn behavior, the transition to parenthood and the role of fathers. He is involved in a study of the
origins of temperament, with Jerome Kagan and Nancy Snidman.
Dorothy T. Richardson, PhD (President)
Dorothy T. Richardson, PhD is a Clinical and Developmental Psychologist, Adjunct Professor at UMass Boston Department of Psychology and Program Director of the UMass Boston Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship. Dr. Richardson has worked with young children and their families for over 25 years in a teaching, research and clinical capacity. In 2003, Dr. Richardson founded the first community-based outpatient infant-parent mental health clinic in the Boston area, The Rice Center for Young Children and Families at the Boston Institute for Psychotherapy, where she served as Clinical Director for 7 years. The Rice Center is presently housed at The Home for Little Wanderers in Boston, where she serves on the Rice Center Advisory Board and Training Faculty. Dr. Richardson has served on a number of state advisory committees on Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, presently serving as President of MassAIMH. She co-developed, with Dr. Ed Tronick, the UMass Boston Infant Parent Mental Health Postgraduate Certificate Program, where she trains an international group of interdisciplinary clinicians in infant and early childhood developmental research, assessment and interventions. Dr. Richardson maintains a private practice in the Boston area specializing in parent-child relationship-based treatments for families with children under the age of six who are dealing with disorders of behavior, communication, mood, adoption and trauma, and consults to early childcare and education settings. Dr. Richardson earned her Masters’ in Education, in Human Development, from Harvard University Graduate School of Education and her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Boston University.
Kate Roper, MEd
Kate Roper, MEd is the Assistant Director of Early Childhood Services at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Bureau of Family Health and Nutrition. Ms. Roper oversees two Federal grants, Mass LAUNCH and the Massachusetts Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Project (MECCS). She also provides a leadership role in cross-systems work for two new large Federal grants to the state: the Mass Home Visiting Initiative and the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant. Mass LAUNCH is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) to ehance systems of care to promote the social-emotional wellness of young children from birth to 8. The goals of MECCS are to coordinate across systems of early childhood health, mental health, child care and education, family support and parenting education.
Ms. Roper leads the Mass CSEFEL Pyramid Model State Leadership Team. She also assisted EOHHS with the development of and training on the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths Tool for young children, the CANS Birth-4.
Ms. Roper has been in the field of ECE since 1978 as an infant teacher, teen parent child care director, trainer, adjunct faculty member, and mentor for women transitioning from welfare to work as ECE teachers. Prior to joining DPH, Ms. Roper was a consultant and trainer for 13 years, working with a range of programs including higher ed, private foundations, and state agencies. She has a Masters degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education in Human Development.
Jayne Singer, PhD (Past President; Chair, Intervention Committee)
Jayne Singer, PhD is a clinical psychologist with extensive experience working with a diverse array of children and families in hospital and community-based settings. She is the Clinical Director of the Child and Parent Program (CPP) in the Developmental Medicine Center at Children’s Hospital Boston, where she works with families of children aged birth through early childhood with a wide variety of medical, developmental, emotional, behavioral, and familial challenges, including a service for early detection of Autism. She provides direct services and training in the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program, an inpatient and outpatient evaluation and triage service for children with congenital heart disease and complicated developmental trajectories. Dr Singer has served in many therapeutic school based and community based programs, including the Manville School of the Judge Baker Children’s Center. She is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She joined the faculty at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center in 1999 where she oversees the Early Care and Education Initiative and has developed adaptations of the Touchpoints Approach for families living with children with Special Needs. She is the primary author of the Touchpoints in Early Care and Education Reference Guide and the Touchpoints in Reflective Practice guides for practitioners and supervisors. Dr Singer lectures extensively locally and nationally on the Touchpoints Approach and other child development topics. She currently serves as Past-President of the Massachusetts Association of Infant Mental Health: Birth to Six, Inc.
Nancy Topping-Tailby, LICSW
Nancy Topping-Tailby, LICSW is an early childhood mental health clinician with over three decades of experience treating young children and families in clinical settings, as well as providing mental health consultation to early intervention, Head Start, and early education and care programs. She is a staff member at The Rice Center for Young Children and Families at the Boston Institute for Psychotherapy where she treats families with young children ages birth to five and pregnant and postpartum mothers. Nancy leads a team at the Education Development Center (EDC) in Waltham, MA that works under the direction of the American Academy of Pediatrics on the Head Start National Center on Health. The Center is funded by the Office of Head Start, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to provide evidence-based training and technical assistance to Head Start staff throughout the country. Nancy is also a faculty member in the area of maternal depression on EDC’s Home Visiting Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (HV CoIIN). The purpose of the CoIIN, funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is to produce faster and more consistent health and development results among families served by Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) agencies in at-risk communities across the country. The role of the expert faculty includes recommending improvement targets and measurement variables, preparing content for and delivering training, and providing ongoing support and coaching to participating agencies.
Anat Weisenfreund has worked with at-risk infants, young children and their families for over 25 years and has a deep passion for engaging with others to develop responsive and effective plans, systems and interventions. Presently, Anat directs a large Head Start/Early Education and Care program in Western Massachusetts, where she has been able to make significant community impact through improving the quality of service delivery, expanding services for infants and toddlers, and significantly reducing early childhood staff turnover. Prior, Anat worked in various leadership roles in New York City: she created and implemented an NICU-based early intervention program for substance exposed infants and their mothers at Beth Israel Medical Center, using the BNBAS as an assessment and intervention tool; oversaw the delivery of Early Intervention services to over 10,000 children for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and held the position of Assistant Commissioner for Child Care contracts for the NYC Administration for Children’s Services. Anat was an early member of the New York City Early Childhood Mental Health Strategic Work Group and contributed to the development of the White Paper on Infant Mental Health. She holds a Master’s Degree in Infant-Parent Development and Early Intervention from Bank Street College of Education and has taught infant development and early childhood policy as an Adjunct at both Hunter College and at Bank Street College of Education. In her role as Chair of the Massachusetts Head Start Association, Anat engages in both federal and state collaboration and early childhood advocacy.