Mini Plenary  Speakers


Mini-Plenary 1


Dr. Navsaria will discuss the critical importance of the first thousand days of life and the key role human relationships and interactions play in that time period. The concepts of toxic stress and how early adversity leads to lifelong issues will be reviewed, with practical examples and discussion of research which highlights these areas. Broad policy and programmatic principles that may help address the issue will also be discussed, providing a practical framework for those who work with children and families.


Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD


Dipesh Navsaria is a pediatrician working in the public interest. He blends the roles of physician, occasional children's librarian, educator, public health professional and child health advocate.  With graduate degrees in public health, children’s librarianship, physician assistant studies, and medicine, he brings a unique combination of interests and experience together.

An associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and is director of the MD–MPH program there as well as the medical director of the physician assistant program. Clinically, he practices primary care pediatrics, with special interest in underserved populations.  He is the founding medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin. Dr Navsaria is heavily involved in both training and in the practice of child health advocacy — writing and speaking publicly locally, regionally and nationally on early brain and child development, early literacy, and advocacy to a broad variety of audiences.  He also has extensive involvement with the American Academy of Pediatrics at the state and national levels.

Committed to understanding how basic science can translate into busy primary-care settings via population health concepts and policy initiatives, Dr Navsaria aims to educate the next generation of those who work with children and families in realizing how their professional roles include being involved in larger concepts of social policy and how they may affect the cognitive and socioemotional development of children for their future benefit.

Mini-Plenary 2


Sandra Gutierrez


Sandra Gutierrez is the Founder and National Director of Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors (AP). Ms. Gutierrez led the development of AP-the nation’s first evidence-based, comprehensive training program for Latino parents with children 0 to 5. She brings over forty years of experience with legal, children’s advocacy and community service organizations. Her multi-faceted career has included founding the first service organization to assist Central American Refugees, developing health education programs for the United Farm Workers of America and leading campaigns to promote the benefits of preschool to the Latino community. In addition, for seven years, she served as a founding member and State Commissioner for First 5 California where she established the Advisory Committee on Equity. In March 2014, Ms. Gutierrez was named by the White House as a César E. Chávez Champion of Change, and in February 2015 she received the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award.

Mini-Plenary 3: Panel Discussion


This mini-plenary panel session is designed to share diverse perspectives on the importance of using data and partnerships to demonstrate the impact of Parents as Teachers. Panelists will share recent data and research and engage in conversations on partnering with funders, affiliates, evaluators, business leaders, and other key individuals to design and implement a robust evaluation plan for your community.


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David Morley is a business consultant and former chairman of Dazor Manufacturing Company, leader in industrial lighting and microscopy. Prior to that he was the president and chief operating officer of The Falcon Companies and senior vice president for Monsanto Company. In this position, Morley led the development and integration of company–wide strategy, emphasizing emerging opportunities in the life sciences industry.

Morley holds degrees from Indiana University and Purdue University. He is past chairman and current board member for Wyman Center, Inc., a St. Louis-based nonprofit organization dedicated to giving underprivileged children the opportunity to reach their full potential. He also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the School of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University.

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Dr. Craig W. LeCroy is Co-founder of the evaluation firm of LeCroy & Milligan Associates, Inc.  Dr. LeCroy is also Professor of Social Work, Arizona State University, in the College of Public Programs. Dr. LeCroy has an extensive background in program evaluation.  He has been conducting program evaluations since 1983 and worked extensively with state and federal agencies conducting program evaluations.  He is a past president of the Arizona Evaluation Network, a state affiliate of the American Evaluation Association.  Dr. LeCroy brings considerable knowledge and expertise in the areas of juvenile justice, child and adolescent treatment and prevention services.  Dr. LeCroy has been Principal or Co-Principal Investigator for a number of federal projects including: Randomized study of Healthy Families (Children’s Bureau), Interventions for Risk Reduction and Avoidance in Youth (NIH), Promoting competence among Native American Youth (NIDA), Youth Plus substance abuse prevention (CSAP). 

Dr. LeCroy has also overseen the implementation of a large number of outcome studies including randomized trials, quasi-experimental studies, and longitudinal studies.  For example, Dr. LeCroy was lead evaluator for the Healthy Families Arizona program evaluation for over 12 years, and has developed and implemented process and outcome studies, conducted a qualitative interview study, a focus group study, created, pilot-tested and implemented new measures and survey instruments, and produced the annual reports. 

He is frequently requested to serve on state and national committees and boards, such as the Child Interventions Panel (NIMH), Healthy Families National Research Network, the Arizona National Association of Social Workers, and editorial boards for professional journals.  Dr. LeCroy’s work in prevention, adolescent mental health, child welfare and juvenile justice is well known.  He has evaluated programs for child abuse prevention, substance abuse prevention, juvenile risk prediction, and designed a children's mental health specialization for the School of Social Work at Arizona State University. 

Dr. LeCroy is the author of over 100 articles and book chapters and 11 books, including Handbook of Evidence Based Treatment Manuals (Oxford University Press, 2008) and Handbook of Prevention and Intervention Programs for Adolescent Girls (Wiley, 2008).  Dr. LeCroy is also experienced in the development and selection of measures used in program evaluation, the statistical analysis of experimental data (including the use of effect size measures), and evaluation of program implementation of evidence based programs.

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Heather Tritten is the Executive Director of Parent Possible in Denver, Colorado. Parent Possible is the state office for both Parents as Teachers and HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) as well as the state anchor for Vroom. Heather is responsible for providing overall leadership of the organization and its programs, ensuring consistent achievement of the organization’s mission, implementation of its policies, goals and objectives, and management of its programmatic, financial, and administrative position. Under Heather’s leadership Parent Possible recreated its evaluation process by adding parent and child outcome measures and site level reporting. All PAT and HIPPY sites in Colorado participate in the evaluation process, allowing for the creation of a snapshot of the outcomes and impacts of the programs. 

Heather previously served as the Vice President of Quality Programs at Qualistar Colorado as well as the Head Start State Collaboration Director in the Office of Lt. Governor Joe Garcia.  Heather authored Governor Hickenlooper’s early literacy plan, Colorado Reads: the Early Literacy Initiative, provided leadership in the development of Colorado’s Race to the Top: Early Learning Challenge proposal, and coordinated efforts around improving early childhood program quality and increasing professional development opportunities. Before moving to Colorado, Heather was the Executive Director of Community Action Partnership of Utah where she focused on finding long-term solutions to the problems of poverty. Heather completed a Buell Early Childhood Leadership Fellowship and holds a B.S. in Sociology from Grand Valley State University and an M.A. in Administration, Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Colorado Denver.

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Cindy Schwarz, MPH, MS, RD serves as Associate Director of the Center for Obesity Prevention and Policy Research at Washington University in St. Louis. She is a Registered Dietitian and has a Master’s degree in Public Health and a Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. Ms. Schwarz has over 10 years of experience managing numerous large scale National Institutes of Health intervention trials partnering with community organizations, such as Parents as Teachers. In addition, she manages behavior-based interventions that are translated to real-world settings. She has expertise in participatory-based research methods to improve approaches for obesity interventions within diverse, low-income populations.

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Jon-Paul Bianchi is a program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan.

As a member of the Education & Learning team, Jon-Paul’s portfolio focuses on young children and their families and seeks to improve local, state and national early care and education systems serving young children and their families. 

Prior to joining the foundation in 2010, Jon-Paul was the Early Childhood Initiatives Director at the Colorado Children's Campaign focusing on statewide early childhood policy and systems. Other earlier positions include project assistant at the Infant-Parent Interaction Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin, Waisman Center for Development Disabilities and policy researcher with the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families. Jon-Paul began his career teaching in child care, preschool and elementary school.

Jon-Paul holds an Ed.D in K-12 leadership and policy from the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University and a Master of Science in child development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit

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Roopa Iyer, Ph.D. is the Senior Director of Research and Evaluation at First Things First (FTF), the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board. She has 15 plus years of experience working in early childhood research and data field. She oversees the research and evaluation efforts at FTF –program implementation data collection, the development of scope and design of research and evaluation studies, the coordination of state agencies’ data sharing, and technical support to FTF departments and external stakeholders. Evaluation team supports the FTF Board and 28 Regional Partnership Councils with data to support strategic planning and data driven decision-making. Prior to joining FTF, she was an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University, Department of Psychology. Dr. Iyer completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Human Development, University of California, Berkeley. She has published in peer-reviewed journals, presented at national conferences, and has taught college courses in research methods, measurements and statistics, leadership skills, educational psychology and developmental psychology.