Docs for Tots 20th Anniversary Year

Milestones to Remember

2023 is the 20th anniversary year of the founding of Docs for Tots. We will be highlighting a milestone each month – check back to see how Docs for Tots has matured!


Well Moms, Well Tots

Docs for Tots’ launches  Well Moms, Well Tots: Maternal Depression and Mother Child-Well Being a practice improvement project to help pediatric providers integrate maternal depression screening. Melissa Pasarelli headed the project and Laraib Humayun joined the Docs for Tots team to make change happen! Maternal depression has a significant impact on quality of life and can impair a mother’s ability to develop healthy attachment and parenting skills in a child’s early years. Melissa and Laraib addressed considerations such as stigma and language barriers that make it harder to communicate with providers and connect to helpful services. The work later received a 2018 Honorable Mention in Innovative Community Solutions at the Maternal Mental Health Innovation Awards by 2020 Mom and the Marce Society of North America.


Nassau Thrives

October 29, 2013, Child Care Council of Nassau Receives Superstorm Sandy Social Services Block Grant in Collaboration with Docs for Tots and Adelphi University Institute for Parenting. The project, called NASSAU THRIVES – Building Resiliency in Young Children, promoted social-emotional health for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers through outreach to early care and learning providers, curriculum implementation, and support services, including an evidence-based mental health consultation model which Docs For Tots is overseeing.
This work continued until 2017 and laid the foundation for the work that Docs for Tots continues to this day in the area of Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation with Project BRITE – Building Relationship in Infant and Toddler Early Education.


Rauch and Hagedorn Foundation Fund Developmental Screening

In 2013 Docs for Tots received grants from the Rauch Foundation and Hagedorn Foundation to help improve developmental screening practices across Nassau County. This funding enabled Docs for Tots to work with healthcare practices:

• Supporting doctors in their Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) efforts by aligning early screening and referral practices with core NCQA and NYS requirements
• Linking parents and doctors to community resources to support the youngest children
• Providing a learning community to share successes, challenges, and opportunities


Docs for Tots moves to New York under the leadership of co-directors Dr. Liz Isakson and Dr. Dina Lieser

Dr. Isakson, Docs for Tots current Executive Director, and her co-director at the time, Dina Lieser, MD, changed the focus of Docs for Tots from a nationally oriented one, to a New York State oriented one, knowing that the NYS based activities and related outcomes could still have national implications. The initial NY board of directors (Liz, Dina, Rahil Briggs, and Lisa Langhart) developed a strategic plan with an updated mission:

To bring together children’s doctors and communities to promote practices, policies and investments in children from prenatal to age five that foster children’s healthy development and future success.

This mission remains the same to this day, accomplished in its early years in NY through five priority issues:
· Promoting the Early Childhood Medical Home
· Increasing Developmental Screening
· Promoting High Quality Early Care and Education
· Improving Social-Emotional Health
· Addressing the Impacts of Poverty


Docs for Tots founded by pediatrician Dr. George L. Askew in Washington, DC

As an urban-based pediatrician, Dr. Askew (current President and CEO of the Meyer Foundation and former NYC Deputy Commissioner of Health) was continually frustrated by factors beyond his clinical practice walls that had far greater impact on his patient’s well-being than anything he could “treat” in the office. These included: poverty, lack of access to social services, inadequate early care and education, unsafe environments, racism, and more.
He founded Docs for Tots to create a way for children’s doctors to actively promote policies and practices to improve the health and development of infants and young children, taking the practice of medicine beyond clinic walls.

Originally based in Washington, DC, Docs for Tots vision was to: 
Create a society in which no young child lives in poverty or suffers from disparities in health and development due to race, ethnicity, or socio-economic status; all young children have access to quality early care and education; and children’s doctors are actively engaged in bringing about these changes.

Come back to read about more milestones from the past 20 years!

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