Invited Symposium: Public Policy and Infant Mental Health

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Moderator: Professor Hiram E. Fitzgerald from USA
Presenters: Catarina Furmark from Sweden; Catherine Mcguire from Ireland; Jane Barlow from UK; David Wills from USA
Discussant: Deborah Weatherston from USA


Hiram E. Fitzgerald, Ph.D., is associate provost for university outreach and engagement and university distinguished professor of psychology, at Michigan State University.  He is Past President of the National Outreach Scholarship Conference, executive director of the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health and the International Association for Infant Mental Health,  and for 16 years, was executive director of the World Association for Infant Mental Health.  He has been involved with research on infants and young children since 1964, has been associated with the Michigan Longitudinal Study of Family Risk for Alcoholism over the Life Course for 30 years, was a member of the Steering Committee of the Early Head Start national evaluation research consortium group for 15 years



Catarina Furmark is a clinical psychologist and currently holds a PhD position at the neuropediatric unit of Karolinska Institute. She is a part of the research team for the Small Step intervention for infants at risk of developing cerebral palsy and their families. The main focus of Catarinas doctoral thesis is to expand current knowledge concerning efficacy of early interventions for infants at risk of developing CP and on parental mental health, parent-child interaction as well as parental internal representations in this group. More specifically, the aim is to map parental levels of depression, anxiety and stress and to increase knowledge of parental representations, parental sensitivity and quality of interaction in both a group of parents with children at risk for developing CP and in a group of parents referred for clinical intervention for relational difficulties receiving the intervention COS-P.



Catherine Maguire is an Endorsed Infant Mental Health Specialist and Clinical Mentor IMHE® (IV) with Young Knocknaheeny Area Based Childhood Programme, based in Cork city. She is currently on a 2 year secondment from the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) North Cork Child and Family Psychology, where she is employed as a Senior Clinical Psychologist.  She is the Lead Practitioner for the Young Knocknaheeny Infant Mental Health (IMH) and Wellbeing strategy.




David Willis joined HRSA’s Maternal Child Health Bureau in July 2012 as its Director of the Division of Home Visiting and Early Childhood Services.   He was a long standing early childhood leader in Oregon who first founded the Northwest Early Childhood Institute in response to the call-to-action of From Neurons to Neighborhood. He then moved to the Artz Center for Developmental Health and Audiology and served as its first Medical Director. There, as clinician, he focused on providing state-of-the-art early childhood multidisciplinary clinical services, while leading some of Oregon’s early childhood transformational activities.




Jane Barlow is professor of Public Health in the Early Years at the University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.  Her main research interest is the role of early parenting in the aetiology of mental health problems, and in particular the evaluation for early interventions aimed at improving parenting practices and reducing the risk of child maltreatment, particularly during pregnancy and the postnatal period.  She is Director of Warwick Infant and Family Wellbeing Unit, which provides training and research in innovative evidence-based methods of supporting parenting during pregnancy and the early years to a wide range of early years and primary care practitioners.





Deborah Weatherston, United States Deborah Weatherston was the Executive Director of the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health since 2001 where she is closely involved with the nationally recognized, professional development plan for infant and family professionals, the MI-AIMH Endorsement for Culturally-Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health. Currently she is the Executive Director of the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health.