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SAVE THE DATE: A NYC Child Health Forum: Toxic Stressors, Child Development and Interventions to Improve Health

NYC Child Health Forum: Toxic Stressors, Child Development and Interventions to Improve Health
By Deirdre Byrne, Director of Policy, Children's Health Fund

On October 28, Children’s Health Fund will bring together doctors and other health professionals, child advocates and local government officials to discuss toxic stressors and the role they play in a child’s life.  Research has shown that early childhood years – birth to age 5 – are critical to a child’s development and are directly linked to later economic productivity, responsible citizenship and sound physical and mental health.  The pervasive effects of deep poverty, abuse, neglect and exposure to violence in early childhood all lead to toxic stress, endangering not only a child’s short term but also long term health and chance to succeed in society. 

In contrast to normal or tolerable stress, which can build resilience and properly calibrate a child’s stress-response system, toxic stress is caused by extreme, prolonged adversity in the absence of a supportive network of adults to help the child adapt. When it occurs, toxic stress can actually damage the architecture of the developing brain, leading to disrupted circuits and a weakened foundation for future learning and health.[1]

We’re thrilled to welcome Jack Shonkoff, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston and Director, Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University as the Keynote speaker for the forum.

Dr. Shonkoff will be followed by a panel of experts:

  • Angela Chan, MD, Clinical Coordinator of the Early Childhood Initiative, from the Center for Child Health and Resiliency (a partnership between CHF & Montefiore Medical Center);
  • Rahil D. Briggs, Psy.D., Director of Healthy Steps at Montefiore Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine;
  • Dina Lieser, MD, FAAP, Attending Physician at New York Hospital Queens, President of Bright Futures Health Consultants and Project Director at Docs for Tots New York.

For more information or to RSVP please email Elizabeth Rincon at

Shonkoff, Jack, Preventing Toxic Shock in Children, available at: