National Advisory Council

The work of the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center is led by Dr. Cynthia Osborne and guided by the National Advisory Council (NAC). The NAC, comprised of national leaders from diverse sectors and perspectives, informs the development of the annual Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap, and fosters dialog among scholars, practitioners, state leaders, advocates, business leaders, and funders.


  • Christina Altmayer, MPA – Principal, Health Management Associates
  • Joia Adele Crear-Perry, MD – Founder/President, National Birth Equity Collaboration 
  • Libby Doggett, PhD – former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning, U.S. Department of Education
  • Greg Duncan, PhD – Distinguished Professor, School of Education and Departments of Economics and Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California at Irvine; Chair, National Academies of Sciences Committee on Building an Agenda to Reduce the Number of Children in Poverty by Half in 10 Years
  • Janet Froetscher – President, J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation; former CEO of Special Olympics International
  • Janis Gonzales, MD – Chief Health Officer, Office of the Secretary, New Mexico Early Childhood Education & Care Department; Title V Director, New Mexico
  • A.J. Griffin – CEO, Potts Family Foundation; former Senator and Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Human Services, Oklahoma State Senate
  • Thomas Hedrick – Director of Dillon Joyce Ltd; former CEO, AVANCE Inc.; former Fellow, Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative; former Sr. Partner, McKinsey and Co.
  • Iheoma Iruka, PhD – Program Director for Racial Equity and Research Professor, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina
  • Brenda Jones Harden, PhD – Alison Richman Professor of Children and Families, University of Maryland School of Social Work; Vice President of the Board, Zero to Three
  • Ruth Kagi – former Representative and Chair of the Early Learning and Human Services Committee, Washington State House of Representatives
  • David Lakey, MD – Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer, The University of Texas System; former Commissioner, Texas Department of State Health Services
  • Joan Lombardi, PhD – Director, Early Opportunities LLC; former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Michael Lu, MD – Dean, UC Berkeley School of Public Health; former Director of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Tammy Mann, PhD – President and CEO, The Campagna Center; former President of Governing Board, National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Geoff Nagle, PhD – Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Tulane University; former president and CEO of Erikson Institute
  • Jessie Rasmussen – President, Buffett Early Childhood Fund; former Senator, Nebraska Senate, and Director of both Nebraska and Iowa Departments of Health and Human Services
  • Jack Shonkoff, MD – Founding Director, Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University; Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital 
  • Jim Spurlino – President and Owner, Spurlino Materials
  • David Willis, MD – Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of Social Policy; former Director, Home Visiting and Early Childhood Services at the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration Maternal Child Health Bureau

National Advisory Council Biographies (PDF)


Health Management Associates

Christina Altmayer is a Principal with Health Management Associates (HMA). She is a senior executive with vast experience and success leading public agencies dedicated to early childhood. Her work has focused on policy and system changes to better serve the needs of children in both the health care and early education spaces. She joined HMA after leading high-impact efforts to implement and expand maternal and pediatric early intervention services as the senior vice president of the Center for Children and Family Impact for First 5 LA. In this capacity she oversaw more than $90 million in programmatic investments focused on family supports, community engagement, early care and education, and health systems with a focus on policy and systems change. She developed First 5 LA’s 2020–2028 strategic plan and pioneered innovative financing strategies to sustain priority maternal and child interventions, including partnerships with Medi-Cal managed care organizations. Ms. Altmayer earned a bachelor’s degree in government and politics and a master’s degree in public administration from St. John’s University in New York.


National Birth Equity Collaborative

Joia Adele Crear-Perry is the founder and president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative. A speaker, trainer, advocate, policy expert, and thought leader around racism as a root cause of health inequities, Crear-Perry continues to expand her focus on maternal and child health nationally and internationally. She previously served as the executive director of the Birthing Project, director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Jefferson Community Healthcare Center and as the director of Clinical Services for the City of New Orleans Health Department. While in her position at the City of New Orleans Health Department, she was responsible for four facilities that provided health care for the homeless, pediatric, WIC, and gynecologic services within the New Orleans clinical service area. Crear-Perry is well-known for her work to remove race as a risk factor for illnesses such as premature births. Crear-Perry currently serves on the Advisory Committee of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Principal at Health Equity Cypher and on the board of trustees for Community Catalyst, National Medical Association and the UCSF PTBi. Crear-Perry received her bachelor’s trainings at Princeton University and Xavier University and completed her medical degree at Louisiana State University.


Early Learning Expert and Consultant

Libby Doggett is a consultant working to build public will to improve children’s readiness for kindergarten. From 2013 to 2017, Doggett served as the deputy assistant secretary for policy and early learning at the U.S. Department of Education, where she oversaw the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge and the Preschool Development Grant programs. In that role, Doggett provided expertise and policy guidance to the secretary of education and served as the department’s early learning liaison to the White House and other federal and state agencies. Before working with the Department of Education, Doggett worked at the Pew Charitable Trusts, directing its home visiting campaign and working with advocates in target states to build political and public understanding and support for data-driven investments that align with federal guidance. Doggett also previously directed Pre-K Now, a 10-year campaign to advance high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten for all three- and four-year-olds. Doggett also worked for the National Head Start Association. She began her career as a bilingual first-grade teacher at Ortega Elementary School in Austin, Texas, and holds a doctorate from the University of Texas in early childhood special education.


University of California at Irvine

Greg Duncan is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Education at the University of California, Irvine and an adjunct faculty member at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. His current research projects include an examination of how children’s early skills and behaviors relate to later-life outcomes, and a meta-analysis of the impacts of early childhood intervention programs. He recently was the Chair of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on Building an Agenda to Reduce the Number of Children in Poverty by Half in 10 Years. In addition, Duncan is a member of the interdisciplinary MacArthur Network on the Family and the Economy. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 and the National Academy of Education in 2009. He has served as president of the Population Association of American and the Society for Research in Child Development. Duncan has published extensively on issues of income distribution, child poverty and welfare dependence. He has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan.


J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation

The J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation is a private foundation committed to innovative strategies for solving society’s most challenging problems. As President, Janet Froetscher develops strategy and drives its implementation to create results supporting the Foundation’s priorities in early childhood development, healthcare and civil rights which are the three cornerstones of the Foundation. Froetscher is the former CEO of Special Olympics, where she led a global team with operations and affiliates in more than 170 countries. From 2008 to 2013, Froetscher was the President and CEO of the National Safety Council (NSC), an organization whose mission is to save lives and prevent injuries. Under her leadership, NSC created a new strategy and implemented initiatives which saved over 10,000 lives and prevented over 1 million injuries by focusing on issues such as workplace safety, distracted and teen driving. From 2003 to 2008, Froetscher was CEO of the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago where she led the merger of 54 United Ways into a single entity, the largest merger of a non-profit in the country. She also served as COO of the Aspen Institute where she also led the leadership development business and the strategic planning effort. Froetscher holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management of Northwestern University both with high distinction.


New Mexico Early Childhood Education & Care Department

Janis Gonzales is the Chief Health Officer, Office of the Secretary, New Mexico Early Childhood Education & Care Department. Previously, she was the Bureau Chief and Medical Director for the Family Health Bureau in the NM Department of Health. She is also the Title V Director for New Mexico, the Vice President of the NM Perinatal Collaborative, and the President of the NM Pediatric Society. Before working for the Department of Health, Gonzales worked for the University of New Mexico Center for Development and Disability, Early Childhood Evaluation Program (ECEP), providing developmental evaluations for children birth to three; and prior to that she spent nine years in private practice at Santa Fe Pediatrics in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the mother of three children including a daughter with special needs. Gonzales is board certified in Pediatrics. She studied medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago and received her master’s degree in Public Health from the University of New Mexico.


Potts Family Foundation

AJ Griffin is the CEO of the Potts Family Foundation. PFF addresses the root causes of poverty through supporting proven solutions through early childhood initiatives (ages 0-3) and through the management and leadership development of Oklahoma nonprofits. PFF collaborates with other entities to leverage people, material, and monetary resources to provide annual grants to organizations and projects that support our priority initiatives, resulting in greater results. Prior to taking the helm at PFF AJ spent five years with Paycom as the Director of Government and Community Affairs where she managed interactions between one of the nation’s fastest-growing technology companies and government officials and community groups across the country.  Griffin served six years in the Oklahoma State Senate where she was a member of senate leadership and gained recognition for improving policy around juvenile justice, child welfare, health care and the state’s response to the opioid epidemic. Prior to her election, she was a nonprofit executive with a background in the hospitality industry and as an educator.  She is a proud graduate of Oklahoma State University and earned her master’s degree in education from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Baylor University.


Dillon Joyce Ltd

Thomas Hedrick is a recent Fellow of Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative (ALI) where he concentrated in early childhood education. While at Harvard he began developing a smartphone app to assist parents of newborns. Post ALI, he spent 18 months at AVANCE, Inc, a Latinx-focused parent engagement platform, repositioning it for the long term. Hedrick also founded and currently leads private equity firm Dillon Joyce Ltd, and is an Operating Partner with The Stephens Group, Private Equity Group. Prior to his private investing career, he was a Senior Partner at and Managing Partner of McKinsey and Company’s Dallas office, specializing in serving technology clients. During George W. Bush’s presidency, Hedrick was appointed to assist the Department of Defense in crafting its semiconductor strategy. He also served as President of the school board for one of the largest private K-8 schools in Texas. Hedrick holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Iheoma Iruka is the Program Director for Racial Equity at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she also serves as a Research Professor.  Prior to this role, she led research strategy at HighScope Educational Research Foundation, driving innovation in the field of early childhood education. Before joining HighScope, Iruka was the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska and also previously held the role of Associate Director at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. Iruka’s research is centered on determining how early experiences impact poor and ethnic minority children’s learning and development and the role of the family and education environments and systems. Iruka earned a Ph.D. in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami. She holds an MA in psychology from Boston University and a BA in psychology from Temple University. She is a current member of several national boards and committees, including the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committees on Supporting Parents of Young Children, and Applying Neurobiological and Socio-behavioral Sciences from Prenatal through Early Childhood Development: A Health Equity Approach, NC Child Care Commission, and the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI).


University of Maryland

Brenda Jones Harden is the Alison Richman Professor of Children and Families at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. She has worked over 35 years in the early childhood policy, practice and research arenas. Her research examines the developmental and mental health needs of young children at environmental risk, particularly those who have been maltreated or exposed to other forms of trauma. Her key focus is preventing maladaptive outcomes in these populations through early childhood and parenting programs, such as early care and education, home visiting services and infant mental health interventions. Jones Harden is the author of numerous publications regarding vulnerable children and families, particularly risk and protective factors that are linked with their developmental and mental health outcomes. She also has conducted numerous implementation and impact evaluations of early childhood and prevention programs. Jones Harden is the author of the book “Infants in the Child Welfare System: A Developmental Perspective on Policy and Practice” and is currently working on a major evaluation of an Early Head Start-child care partnership initiative and the implementation and evaluation of a group-based intervention to promote language development in infants and toddlers from low-income backgrounds. She received her Ph.D. in developmental and clinical psychology from Yale University and her M.S.W. from New York University.


Former Washington State Representative

Ruth Kagi served in the Washington State House of Representatives for 20 years, retiring January 2019. As Chair of the Early Learning and Human Services Committee, Kagi brought scientists and researchers to Olympia over two decades to educate legislators about early brain development, the importance of early nurturing relationships to school readiness, and the impact of toxic stress. Under her leadership, the legislature passed and funded an evidence-based home visiting bill, and the Early Start Act- setting standards for high-quality childcare and pre-school with robust support for providers to improve the quality of care. She also led legislative efforts to create a new Department of Children, Families and Youth and to reform foster care, juvenile sentencing and the state’s drug sentencing laws. She is past chair of the National Conference of State Legislature’s Human Services Committee. Kagi is now advising Ballmer Group on their efforts to improve kindergarten readiness for all children by significantly expanding high-quality learning opportunities for young children and their families. Kagi received her M.P.A. from Syracuse University and her B.A. from the University of Washington.


The University of Texas System

David Lakey, an expert in disease prevention, community health services and infectious disease outbreaks, serves in a dual role as Vice Chancellor for Population Health and Chief Medical Officer at The University of Texas System and Senior Advisor to the President and Isadore Roosth Distinguished Professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler. Previously, he was the Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, one of the largest state agencies. As Commissioner, he led one of the state’s largest agencies with a staff of 12,000 and an annual budget of $3.3 billion, and oversaw programs such as disease prevention and disaster preparedness, family and community health services, environmental and consumer safety, regulatory programs and mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs. He earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, graduating with high honors from Rose‐Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana, and received his medical degree with honors from Indiana University School of Medicine.


Early Opportunities LLC

Joan Lombardi is an international expert in child and family policy. Over the past 45 years, she has made significant contributions in the area of early childhood development as an innovative leader and policy advisor to national and international organizations and foundations and as a public servant. She currently directs Early Opportunities LLC, a strategic advisement service focused on the development of young children, families and the communities that support them. In this role she provides overall advisement to a number of foundations working both in the United States and around the world. She also serves as a Visiting Scholar at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University. Lombardi served in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as the first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development (2009-2011) and as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and External Affairs in Administration for Children and Families and the first Commissioner of the Child Care Bureau among other positions (1993-1998). She is the author of numerous publications including Time to Care: Redesigning Child Care to Promote Education, Support Families and Build Communities and Co-Author of Beacon of Hope: The Promise of Early Head Start for America’s Youngest Children.


University of California, Berkeley

Michael Lu possesses decades of expertise in maternal and child health policy. He is currently dean of the school of public health at the University of California, Berkeley, and previously a senior associate dean at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. Lu served as director of the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau under the Obama Administration. During his tenure, he transformed key federal programs in maternal and child health, and launched major initiatives to reduce maternal, infant, and child mortality across the nation. He oversaw the launch and expansion of the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program. Prior to his public service, Lu was a professor of obstetrics-gynecology and public health at UCLA, where his research focused on racial-ethnic disparities in birth outcomes from a life-course perspective. He co-directed the residency program in obstetrics and gynecology and atraining grantin maternal and child health, and received several prestigious awards for his teaching. Lu has served on three National Academy of Medicine Committees, and co-authored the recently released report “Vibrant and Healthy Kids: Aligning Science, Practice, and Policy to Advance Health Equity.” Lu received his bachelor’s degrees in political science and human biology from Stanford University, master’s degrees in health and medical sciences and public health from UC Berkeley, medical degree from UC San Francisco, and residency training in obstetrics and gynecology from UC Irvine.


The Campagna Center

Tammy Mann has worked at the intersection of research, practice and policy at local, state and national levels for over 25 years. She has devoted her career to improving life outcomes for children, youth and families. Since 2011 she has served as President and Chief Executive Office of The Campagna Center, a nonprofit that provides cradle to career programs to over 2,000 children, teens and adults across the city of Alexandria, Virginia. Before her work at The Campagna Center, she served as executive director of the Frederick Patterson Research Institute and deputy executive director at ZERO TO THREE. Mann currently serves on several boards, including Foundation for Child Development, the Buffet Early Childhood Institute, and ZERO TO THREE. She served on the governing board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children as an at-large member, and as Board President from 2016 to 2018. Mann is a former Public Policy Fellow with the American Psychological Association. She has held adjunct and affiliate appointments at Howard University and George Mason University, respectively.


Tulane University

Geoffrey A. Nagle is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Tulane University. He most recently completed a seven-year term as the president and chief executive officer of Erikson Institute, a leading force for improving the lives of young children and their families through knowledge, research, service, and advocacy and the nation’s premier graduate school in child development. Nagle joined Erikson in January 2014 after serving as the founding director of the Tulane University Institute of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. He has worked closely with Louisiana government leaders to strengthen the state’s early childhood system and expand high-quality early care and education. Nagle earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Duke University and a master’s degrees in both social work and public health from Tulane University. His doctorate, also from Tulane, is in mental health policy research, an interdisciplinary degree that combined his interests in social work and public health.


Buffett Early Childhood Fund

Jessie Rasmussen is the president of the Buffett Early Childhood Fund in Omaha, Nebraska, where she manages early childhood investments and collaborates with other private investors at the national level to advance effective, research-driven early childhood policies and practices. Rasmussen’s professional career has focused on improving outcomes for children and families. She began her career as an early childhood education teacher, administrator and infant-toddler specialist. She spent the next 20 years of her career in state government, first serving as a Nebraska state senator and as the state human services director in both Nebraska and Iowa. Before joining the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, she acted as an advocate for children and families and played an instrumental role in the development and successful passage of legislation in 2006 that established a $60 million early childhood endowment funded through a public and private partnership.


Harvard University

Jack P. Shonkoff is the Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Graduate School of Education; Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, and Research Staff at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Director of the university-wide Center on the Developing Child at Harvard. He currently chairs the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, whose mission is to bring credible science to bear on public policy affecting children and families, and The JPB Research Network on Toxic Stress, which is developing new measures of stress effects and resilience in young children. Under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, Shonkoff served as Chair of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families and led a blue-ribbon committee that produced the landmark report, “From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development.” He currently leads Frontiers of Innovation, a multi-sectoral, science-based, R&D platform committed to achieving breakthrough outcomes at scale for young children and families facing adversity. He has authored more than 150 publications and has been a visiting professor or delivered named lectureships at more than 35 universities in the United States and around the world.


Spurlino Materials

Jim Spurlino is an entrepreneur and businessman with extensive experience owning and operating construction materials, automotive, and land development companies. As owner and President Spurlino Materials, he operated concrete plants in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, as well as a national division operating mobile plants throughout the U.S. While the company’s primary service markets included Cincinnati, Dayton, and Indianapolis, its national division operated in 16 states across the country, from Arizona to Pennsylvania. Projects included supplying concrete for the Indianapolis Colts’ new stadium, Bristol Motor Speedway, and the Meldahl Hydroelectric Plant on the Ohio River. The company was founded in 2000 and grew to 10 plants and 150 employees in the time since. Previously, Jim held various executive positions with a prominent construction materials company. He is active in and supportive of various construction industry associations and charitable organizations. This includes serving or having served on the Boards of Directors/Trustees/Advisors of National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Ohio Concrete, RMC Research and Education Foundation, Every Child Succeeds, HIPPY USA, University of Dayton Graduate School, Council for a Strong America, and Ready Nation. Jim ran for the Republican nomination for the 8th district congressional seat in Ohio in 2016. Jim graduated from the University of Dayton with a B.S. in Business Administration and an M.B.A.


Center for the Study of Social Policy

David Willis leads a national initiative, at the Center for the Study of Social Policy, to advance early relational health for infants, toddlers and their communities. A developmental-behavioral pediatrician, Willis was a clinician in Oregon for more than 30 years with a practice focused on early childhood development and family therapy. Most recently, he was named the first executive director of the Perigee Fund, a Seattle-based philanthropy focused on strengthening the social and emotional development of babies and toddlers. From 2012 to 2018, he served as director of the Division of Home Visiting and Early Childhood Services at the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Maternal Child Health Bureau, in Washington D.C. Willis also served as a Harris Mid-Career Fellow with childhood development nonprofit ZERO TO THREE, the past president of the Oregon Pediatric Society, an executive member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Early Education and Child Care, and chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Early Brain & Child Development Strategic Initiative.