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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-career (no less than 5 years and no more than 10 years) and mid-career (no less than 10 years and no more than 15 years) IECMH professionals. 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 strive to transform 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 promote healthy development and well-being and advance commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 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; resilience 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. Individuals must be nominated for the award; self-nominations are not permitted.

Nomination Requirements

All nominations will be submitted on the ZERO TO THREE platform. Each nomination includes requirements from a nominator, the nominee, and a letter of recommendation writer. The nomination is considered complete only after each of the above requirements are met. All nominations must be completed in full by Monday, July 15.

The Nominator initiates the nomination and provides the following:

  • Nominator’s name, email address
  • Nominee’s name, email address
  • Nomination category (i.e. practice, policy, research)
  • 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)
  • After the nomination is submitted, the IECMH Emerging Leadership Awards Nominee: Next Steps document will be automatically sent to the nominee. The document notifies the nominee that they have been nominated and informs them how to complete the nomination.

Next, the Nominee is responsible for submitting the following:

  • Nominee’s resume/vita (5 pages max)
  • Name, Email address for someone other than the nominator who will provide a letter of recommendation

Last, the Letter of Recommendation writer will receive a system email with a link to upload a letter of recommendation (2 pages max) to address 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
Monday July 15, 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 2025
  • 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 $1,200.00 (USD)

Learn about emerging leader awardees from last year.


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