While in graduate school, Jon Korfmacher, PhD, thought he was studying to become a therapist who specialized in helping older children. But not long after he started working as a research assistant on a home visiting project, he knew his career trajectory was about to change.
He first took the job, he says, simply for the research experience. “But it took me only about a week to realize that working with young children and their families was what I really loved,” he says. “I was fascinated by that period of time when babies bring families together. It’s where the past, present, and future all intersect.”
Today, Dr. Korfmacher is recognized as a leading researcher on early childhood home visiting programs, having studied extensively these preventive interventions in both the United States and abroad. As the principal investigator for Erikson’s Birth to 3 Prevention Initiative Program Monitoring initiative, a collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education, he studies programs that provide in-home parenting support and links to community services for at-risk families in order to improve young children’s health and well-being. His work is focused on understanding why families can have such different experiences in these programs and what kinds of support can improve their effectiveness.
Dr. Korfmacher has earned a strong reputation among early childhood professionals around the world for his innovative research, as home visiting has become more common in countries outside the United States. He has advised home visiting programs in Brazil, Chile, and China and provided consultation to UNICEF in its initiatives in Central and Eastern Europe.
An Erikson faculty member since 1998, Dr. Korfmacher helps Erikson students learn about how research studies are designed and the results are applied to work in the field. “It’s my job to help them understand how and why research is used in particular ways so they can be aware of how best practices are developed and then used to help children and families,” he says. “Research is an important part of puzzle, but it exists alongside family interests and clinical judgment in order to best inform practice. Students need to know how to balance all three.”
- BA in psychology, Stanford University
- PhD in clinical psychology/child development, University of Minnesota
Areas of Expertise
- Parent support and early childhood home visiting
- Early childhood workforce development
- Infant and early childhood mental health
- Home-based child care
- Birth to 3 Prevention Initiative Program Monitoring Project — funded by the Illinois State Board of Education (principal investigator)
- Home Visiting Research and Development Platform — funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (co-investigator)
- Research to Strengthen Home Visiting Impact on Parental Engagement in Children’s Education: Home Visitor Training to Improve Communication — funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation (co-investigator)
- Implementation and evaluation of the Illinois Child-Parent Psychotherapy Learning Collaborative — funded by the Irving Harris Foundation, Steans Family Foundation, and the Michael Reese Health Trust (project director)
- The Pan-American Home Visiting Research Network, 2013-2014 — funded by the Society for Research in Child Development
- Developing a Cross-Program Assessment of Quality in Home Visitation — funded by The Pew Charitable Trust, 2010-2012 (principal investigator)
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- Bromer, J., & Korfmacher, J. (2016). Providing high-quality support services to home-based child care: A conceptual model and literature review. Early Education and Development, DOI: 10.1080/10409289.2016.1256720
- Wen, X., Korfmacher, J., & Hans, S. (2016). Change over time in young mothers’ engagement with a community-based doula home visiting program. Children and Youth Services Review, 69, 116-126.
- Korfmacher, J. (2016). Supporting the Paraprofessional Home Visitor. In L. A. Roggman & N. Cardia (Eds). Home Visitation Programs: Preventing Violence and Promoting Healthy Early Child Development (p. 85-100). New York: Springer.
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- Quality in Home Visiting. Fourth Meeting of the CEE/CIS Technical Advisory Group on Home Visiting for Young Child Wellbeing. Leiden, NL. (April, 2017)
- The US Experience of Home Visiting. Fifth International Conference on Poverty Reduction and Child Development. Beijing, PRC (October, 2016).
- Communication and relationship-building in home visiting. Presentation at Administration for Children and Families’ National Research Conference on Early Childhood, Washington, DC (July, 2016).
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Related professional experience
- Council chair, Home Visiting Applied Research Collaborative (HARC), funded by HRSA
- Faculty content expert, Home Visiting Continuous Improvement and Innovation Network (HVCoIIN). Education Development Center (EDC) project, funded by HRSA
- Licensed child psychologist (Colorado)
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