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Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) Emerging Leadership Awards

Do you know someone changing the world for infants and toddlers? Nominate them today!

ZERO TO THREE believes early connections last a lifetime. We envision a society that has the knowledge and will to support all infants and toddlers in reaching their full potential. The Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) Emerging Leadership Award recognizes and celebrates a diversity of early- and mid-career leaders engaged in cutting-edge, transformative work to advance IECMH Practice, Policy, and Research. These advancements are critically important in support of healthy social, emotional, and developmental well-being of our youngest children and our capacity to intervene early in the presence of risk and adversity.

Award Criteria

The IECMH Emerging Leadership Awards are open to early- and mid-career professionals who are making significant contributions to the field of IECMH. Nominees must be professionals in the field of IECMH for no less than 5 years and no more than 15 years. We are seeking emerging leaders from IECMH practice, policy, or research. We seek nominees who are engaged in visionary IECMH practice, policy, or research and demonstrate a commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in ways that impact child/family/caregiver well-being and the IECMH field.


One award will be given in each of the following areas:

  • Practice
    Improving the way IECMH supports and services to infants, young children, and their families are delivered that better promote equity in health and well-being and foster healthy relationships. Potential examples include developing, adapting, or bringing to scale approaches or interventions; expanding access to IECMH services to meet the needs of historically underserved populations; or formulating best practice guidance that meet the IECMH needs of diverse populations. Practice may encompass an array of work including developmentally appropriate approaches to prevention, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.
  • Policy
    Making IECMH services more inclusive, equitable, accessible, better financed, or of higher quality by influencing policy and creating systems-level change. Examples include integrating IECMH services into a community or statewide programs; implementing a universal developmental screening process; revising financing rules to improve availability of IECMH interventions; or advocating for legislation to create or fund IECMH workforces or services.
  • Research
    Generating empirical evidence and/or translational research focused on IECMH issues, practices, and populations. Examples may include research on storytelling as a parenting support method, research that demonstrates the efficacy and effectiveness of IECMH practices and interventions; the nature of mental health disorders in infancy and early childhood; risk and protective factors that promote development; diversity, equity, and inclusion in IECMH; or important knowledge of IECMH-related biological processes. Nominated IECMH research work represents studies using quantitative and/or qualitative design and have a record of publication.

We recognize there may be overlap across a nominee’s work in terms of practice, policy, and research. Please submit under the area that you believe best fits the nominee’s work and impact. The nominee must have no less than 5 years and no more than 15 years of experience as an emerging leader in IECMH.

Nomination Requirements

All nominations will be submitted on the ZERO TO THREE platform.

  1. Nominator’s name, email address
  2. Nominee’s name, email address
  3. Nomination category (i.e., practice, policy, research)
  4. Essay question responses:
    • Describe the nominee’s work (250 words/max)
    • How has the nominee’s work advanced the field of IECMH (250 words/max)
  5. Resume/Vita (5 pages/max)
  6. Letters of recommendation from someone other than nominee/nominator (2 pages/max) addressing the following:
    • Connection to the nominee
    • Description of the nominee’s work
    • Description of nominee’s leadership and how their work has impacted and advanced IECMH

Deadline for submission of nominations is
Wednesday April 10, 2024, at 11:59 pm EDT

Award Highlights

  • Inclusion in a public statement highlighting the accomplishments of the awardees, published on the ZERO TO THREE website
  • Registration to attend the ZERO TO THREE LEARN Conference 2024
  • Invitation to showcase the awardee’s accomplishment through various ZERO TO THREE platforms, including webinar presentations
  • Facilitation of a learning session with the ZERO TO THREE Fellowship class
  • A monetary award of $1,000.00 (USD)

Learn about emerging leader awardees from last year.


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