Scientific Advisory Committee

Clancy Blair

Clancy Blair, PhD is a Professor of Cognitive Psychology in the Department of Applied Psychology in Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. He earned a BA at McGill University and an MPH in maternal and child health, and MA and PhD in developmental psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

He has been conducting research on the development of self-regulation in early childhood for over two decades. The specific focus of this research has been on the development of executive function abilities. This research has demonstrated that executive functions are central to school readiness and school achievement in the elementary grades, are substantially influenced by experience and by the characteristics of the family and the home environment, and highly interrelated with the regulation of stress response physiology. An important focus of this research is on the ways in which experience ‘gets under the skin’ to influence the development of executive functions through its effects on stress physiology. This mechanism is one that appears to be particularly relevant to the effect of poverty on children’s development and may be one primary route through which childhood poverty exerts long-term influence on cognitive and social-emotional development into adulthood. Blair’s research focuses in part on data collected with a large longitudinal sample of children and families in predominantly low-income and rural communities in North Carolina and Pennsylvania funded by a federal program project grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and on data from two recently completed federally-funded (Institute of Education Science and NICHD) randomized controlled trials of an innovative approach to early childhood education focused on the development of executive functions.

He is currently completing a trial of a parenting program designed to foster self-regulation including executive functions in parents and children participating in Early Head Start programs (funded by the US Administration for Children and Families), is collecting normative data on a computer-based assessment of executive functions that he developed with his colleague Michael Willoughby (funded by IES), and is in the beginning stages of a study designed to examine prenatal and early postnatal influences on the development of executive functions in children (funded by the National Science Foundation).

He serves as a consultant on numerous research projects and in addition to serving as a scientific advisor to the Urban Child Institute, serves on the advisory boards of several initiatives focused on early childhood education and child wellbeing including First things First in Arizona; the Early Childhood Comprehensive Assessment System, in Maryland and Ohio; the Exploring Implications of Emerging Insights from Psychology for Self-Sufficiency Programs project, Mathematica, Washington DC; and the BUILD K-3 Formative Assessment Consortium, North Carolina.

Dan Goldowitz

Dan Goldowitz received his PhD in Psychobiology at the University of California at Irvine with a thesis that focused on the plasticity of the adult central nervous in response to lesions. His subsequent postdoctoral work at Harvard Children’s Hospital in Boston, the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City was in the development of the nervous system.

His first position was as an assistant professorship at Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia. Using approaches that were relatively novel to the study of the brain he pioneered approaches to ascertain the function of genes in brain and behaviour. He moved to the University of Tennessee Health Science Centre (UTHSC) in Memphis and was a leading force in organizing researchers across the State of Tennessee in forming a collaborative to use the mouse as a model organism to identify the function of the genes that were just being uncovered with the human genome project.

The Tennessee Mouse Genome Consortium was the result of these efforts and this collaborative won one of three US National Institute’s of Health (NIH) awards, with D. Goldowitz as the Principal Investigator, to understand the role of genes in the function of the brain. This success led the University of Tennessee system to fund a Centre of Excellence in Genomics and Bioinformatics proposed by Goldowitz and his colleague Rob Williams. Goldowitz also worked with other individuals at UTHSC to obtain NIH funding for projects to bring science education to the K-12 grades. He was awarded an endowed chair of Neurosciences at UTHSC.

These efforts have resulted in national and international collaborations that Dan brought to Canada about three years ago (the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics at the Children and Family Research Inst at UBC). He currently holds a tier 1 Canada Research Chair. He maintains strong NIH- , CIHR- and foundation-funded research programs in the genetics of brain development and function.

Goldowitz put together a Letter of Intent to the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) for a network in brain development. A survey of the research landscape indicated that Canada had some incredible strengths in brain development, both clinically and in the basic sciences, but that they were not united in a way that could bring a synergy that seemed possible. From this as a vantage point, and with a focus of creating a marriage between the clinical and basic sciences, Goldowitz led a successful application to be one of three new, federally funded NCEs, NeuroDevNet, in December of 2009.

Pat Levitt

Dr. Levitt is the Simms/Mann Chair in Developmental Neurogenetics and Director of the Developmental Neurogenetics Program in the Institute for the Developing Mind at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He also is the WM Keck Provost Professor of Neurogenetics in the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. Dr. Levitt received his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and the PhD degree in Neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Neuroscience at Yale University. Dr. Levitt has held leadership positions at several medical schools, including Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, Chairman of the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development.

Named a McKnight Foundation Scholar in 2002, Dr. Levitt also was a MERIT awardee from the National Institute of Mental Health and recently completed his term as a member of the National Advisory Mental Health Council for the National Institute of Mental Health. He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.

He serves as Scientific Director of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and Director of the Marino Autism Research Institute. He is a member of a number of scientific advisory boards for foundations and university programs, and also is a member of six editorial boards of basic and clinical neuroscience journals. Dr. Levitt’s research focuses on the development of brain architecture that controls learning, emotional and social behavior.

Dr. Levitt's human genetics and basic research studies focus on understanding the causes of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, and how genes and the environment together influence typical and atypical development. He has published over 225 scientific papers. Dr. Levitt is a frequently invited speaker at national and international scientific seminars and conferences.

He also is an avid participant in business and policy forums that promote investments in the health and education of brain and child development. Dr. Levitt presents to state legislatures and to business groups, and in 2007, he spoke at the Summit on America’s Children for House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

David Olds

David Olds is Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Public Health, and Nursing at the University of Colorado Denver, where he directs the Prevention Research Center for Family and Child Health. He has devoted his career to investigating methods of preventing health and developmental problems in children and parents from low-income families.

The primary focus of his work has been on developing and testing in a series of randomized controlled trials a program of prenatal and infancy home visiting by nurses known as the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP), which serves socially disadvantaged mothers bearing first children. Today, the program is operating in over 270 counties, serving 20,000 families per year in the United States.

Olds also is working with governments in other societies to adapt and test the NFP in international contexts. A member of the American Pediatrics Society, the Society for Prevention Research, and the Academy of Experimental Criminology, Professor Olds has received numerous awards for his work, including the Charles A. Dana Award for Pioneering Achievements in Health, the Lela Rowland Prevention Award from the National Mental Health Association, the Brooke Visiting Professorship in Epidemiology from the Royal Society of Medicine, and the 2008 Stockholm Prize in Criminology. Professor Olds obtained his B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and his Ph.D. from Cornell.

Fred Rivara

Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH, is the holder of the Seattle Children’s Guild Endowed Chair in Pediatrics, Professor of Pediatrics and adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Washington. He is vice chair of the Department of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine. He is editor-in-chief of JAMA Pediatrics.

Dr. Rivara served as founding director of the Harborview Injury and Research Center in Seattle for 13 years, founding president of the International Society for Child and Adolescent Injury Prevention, and his contributions to the field of injury control have spanned 30 years. He has received numerous honors including the Charles C. Shepard Science Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Public Health Association, Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section Distinguished Career Award, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, Section on Injury and Poison Prevention, Physician Achievement Award, and the UW School of Public Health Distinguished Alumni Award. Rivara was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2005. Rivara is also a founding board member of the Washington State Academy of Science.

His research interests have included the efficacy and promotion of bicycle helmets, prevention and treatment of sports concussion, youth violence, the epidemiology of firearm injuries, intimate partner violence, interventions for alcohol abuse in trauma patients and the effectiveness of trauma systems in the care of pediatric and adult trauma patients. He continues as an active clinician, teacher, investigator, and advocate at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Pari Sabety

Pari Sabety was appointed Vice Chancellor and CFO of Antioch University in 2011.  She comes to Antioch from her most recent experience as the CFO and Cabinet member for Governor Ted Strickland, State of Ohio from 2007 to 2011, managing a state budget of $56 billion and a department of 200 professionals. Pari served as the senior fiscal leader and primary public face as the Administration guided the state through the worst recession in 50 years.

Ms. Sabety’s interests are at the nexus of finance and information technology. Her work in establishing Ohio Shared Services has been featured in business cases for Harvard and Gartner, won the 2010 President’s Award for Innovation from the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers and was featured for the 2010 Oracle Titan Award.  In 2008, Pari’s leadership was recognized by Government Technology Magazine as one of the “Top 25 Doers and Dreamers” in deploying Ohio’s extensive ERP platform.

Ms. Sabety founded and directed the Urban Markets Initiative for the Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy at the Brookings Institution.  She also directed the Technology Policy Group, an initiative of the Ohio Supercomputer Center at The Ohio State University, which focused on the emerging challenges and barriers to widespread adoption of high-performance computing and networking capabilities nationwide. 

Pari began her career in public accounting for Arthur Andersen, then moved into public service for Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste.  They partnered to operate a consulting firm, Celeste and Sabety, which focused on technology-driven economic development strategies for regions throughout the US. 

Pari obtained her BA in History from Bryn Mawr College and her MA in Business Administration from Rutgers University School of Business and a Masters of Foreign Service, Concentration in Arab Studies (with distinction) from Georgetown University.

Pari is a member of the Board of Directors for Policy Matters Ohio and serves on the Advisory Board for The Urban Child Institute in Memphis, Tennessee.