Professional Resource

ZERO TO THREE's Emerging Leadership Awards

Recognizing emerging Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) Leaders

ZERO TO THREE is committed to the healthy development of young children, nurturing consistent relationships and promoting the social and emotional well-being of infants, young children, and their families. We celebrate and support emerging leaders who are demonstrating significant contributions to the IECMH field.

Award Criteria

The IECMH Emerging Leadership Awards are open to any early- to mid-career professionals who have made significant contributions to the field of IECMH. Nominees must be involved in IECMH work no less than 5 years and no more than 15 years. Preference will be given to candidates demonstrating visionary, cutting-edge work to transform practices, policies, or systems at the community, state, or national level. We welcome nominations and self-nominations of early to mid-career professionals in any of the three categories.


Three awards will be given out in the following areas:

  • Practice
    Improving the way IECMH supports and services to infants, young children and their families are delivered to better promote equity in mental health and foster healthy relationships. Potential examples include developing or bringing to scale approaches or interventions, adapting or expanding access to IECMH services to meet the needs of historically underserved populations, or formulating best practice guidance. 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 higher quality by influencing policy and creating systems-level change. Potential examples include integrating IECMH services into a community or statewide program, implementing a universal developmental screening process, revising financing rules to improve availability of IECMH interventions, or advocating for legislation to create or fund IECMH programs.

  • Research
    Generating important empirical evidence and/or translational research focused on IECMH issues, practices, and populations. Examples may include research that demonstrates such key evidence as the efficacy and effectiveness of IECMH practices and interventions; the nature of mental health disorders in infancy/early childhood; risk and protective factors that promote development; diversity, equity and inclusion issues in IECMH; or important knowledge of IECMH-related biological processes. Nominated IECMH research work would represent studies using quantitative and/or qualitative design and ideally would include studies published in peer reviewed journals.

It is often difficult to distinguish among the three areas listed above. There may be substantial overlap across the nominee’s work in terms of practice, policy, and research. Please submit under the area that you think best fits the nominee’s work and impact. It is important to recognize that the nominee must have between 5 and 15 years of experience in the category of emerging leadership for which they are nominated (practice, policy, research).

Nomination Requirements

We hope to maximize nominations by minimizing the nomination submission requirements for the IECMH Emerging Leadership Awards. Please include the following with your nomination submission:

  1. Indicate if the nomination is for practice, policy, or research.
  2. Indicate the year the individual began to focus on IECMH work in the specific category of the nomination submitted - practice, policy or research.
  3. A brief description (no more than 500 words) of the nominee, their contributions to the field, and why you are nominating them for this category.
  4. The nominee’s resume or vita
  5. If self-nominated, your resume or vita and one letter of recommendation from an individual who supports your nomination is required. The letter of recommendation must include:
    1. How long have you known the candidate and in what capacity?
    2. How has this individual’s work advanced IECMH?
    3. A description of the nominee’s work

Nominations will open May 5, 2021

Closing date for nominations is June 14, 2021


What Award Recipients Receive

The 2021 award recipients received the following:

  • Registration to the Virtual ZERO TO THREE Annual Conference 2021
  • Opportunity to highlight work as a panel presenter at the 2021 Annual Conference
  • Opportunities to have their leadership efforts highlighted through various ZERO TO THREE platforms including webinar presentations, Fellowship presentation, articles appearing in the ZERO TO THREE Journal, and acknowledgment of their award on ZERO TO THREE website
  • One-year membership to ZERO TO THREE
  • A monetary award of $1,000.00 (USD)

What Award Recipients Agree To

The 2021 award recipients committed to the following:

  • Attend the Virtual ZERO TO THREE Annual Conference 2021 (October 25-29, 2021)
  • Serve as a panel presenter highlighting work at the Annual Conference
  • Share their individual work on a national webinar in 2021-22
  • Submit an article on their nominated work for an issue of the ZERO TO THREE Journal
  • Recipients will facilitate a presentation for the ZERO TO THREE Fellowship class