WASHINGTON, D.C. — ZERO TO THREE, the nation’s leading nonprofit dedicated to ensuring babies and toddlers have a strong start in life, announced today that it has named renowned psychology expert, Dr. Rahil Briggs offsite link as the new national director of its HealthySteps program. Dr. Jonathan Goldfinger will continue to provide his expertise as the Chief Medical Officer for HealthySteps as well as for ZERO TO THREE. He will provide guidance around clinical quality, take on investments into new technology, and support opportunities that will advance the program and organization’s mission in the pediatric and health arenas.
HealthySteps is an evidence-based pediatric primary care program designed to improve the health, well-being and school readiness of babies and young children in low-income families. Currently, 120 pediatric and family medicine practices across the country have implemented HealthySteps and together serve more than 37,000 children ages 0-3. Recognizing the success to date and the potential for national impact, Blue Meridian Partners is investing $39 million in the first phase of HealthySteps’ long-term growth plan. This plan aims to double the number of families and young children served over the next five years and ultimately aims to reach over 1 million children by 2032, focusing on those most at-risk.
“Blue Meridian Partners’ investment serves as a powerful affirmation of our shared vision to transform pediatric primary care into a platform for the holistic delivery of the services and supports needed to ensure babies and toddlers have a healthy start in life,” said Matthew Melmed, executive director, ZERO TO THREE. “Dr. Briggs has been a bold and effective champion of HealthySteps; her experience makes her the ideal leader to make this program the standard model in every pediatric office across the country.”
Dr. Briggs comes to this role after a successful career at Montefiore Health System in New York, where she grew the HealthySteps footprint from one to 21 practices, serving over 30,000 children annually. Additionally, Dr. Briggs is the founder and former director of Pediatric Behavioral Health Services at Montefiore Medical Group, one of the nation’s largest integrated pediatric behavioral health services in the nation. She is also an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
“There’s no time of life more critical than the first three years. When babies and their caregivers form strong, positive early connections, the benefits last a lifetime,” said Briggs. “As a guest in the ‘medical home,’ we have the honor of strengthening those connections and adding even more value to routine pediatric care visits. I’m excited to join the national team and help to shape the future for this vital program.”
“HealthySteps shows how pediatric practice in the U.S. can be enhanced and strengthened to support a child’s overall development and family needs in addition to physical health,” stated Meeghan Prunty, a managing director with Blue Meridian Partners. “Bringing this approach to national scale can help disrupt the negative effects of poverty, in light of the growing body of evidence linking early emotional and cognitive development with a child’s success in school and life.”
Over 90 percent of all American families receive pediatric primary care. HealthySteps serves families by integrating a child development specialist into their child’s primary care team. Through the program, parents obtain the support, knowledge and resources they need to foster not only their child’s physical development but also their social, emotional, cognitive and behavioral development. These supports include team-based well-child visits where the HealthySteps Specialist and the physician engage with a family, access to the specialist between well-child visits, comprehensive universal screening, referrals to community resources, and care coordination that helps families navigate the often-complex process of getting access to these resources.
About ZERO TO THREE
ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all babies and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals and policymakers. For more information, and to learn how to become a ZERO TO THREE member, please visit zerotothree.org, offsite link facebook.com/zerotothree offsite link or follow @zerotothree on Twitter. offsite link
About Blue Meridian Partners
Blue Meridian Partners is a partnership of results-oriented philanthropists seeking to transform the life trajectories of children and youth living in poverty across America. Blue Meridian finds the best of what works and invests significant growth capital to bring these promising strategies and programs to scale. Incubated at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Blue Meridian Partners is pooling resources of $1 billion and more in order to make large-scale, performance-based investments in exceptional nonprofits poised to make a national impact on social problems confronting economically disadvantaged children and youth.