Dr. Nagle Receives 2016 World Association for Infant Mental Health Sonya Bemporad Award


Geoffrey A. Nagle, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Erikson Institute, has received the 2016 World Association for Infant Mental Health Sonya Bemporad Award.


Dr. Nagle

Dr. Nagle is recognized for leadership contributions that impact early childhood, notably his “leadership in, designing, building support for, and implementing child care reforms in the state of Louisiana which led to dramatic and positive changes in the quality of care for infants and young children,” the association said in announcing the award, which will be presented to Dr. Nagle on May 31 in Prague.

Before joining Erikson in January of 2014, Dr. Nagle served as the founding director of the Tulane University Institute of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and as an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Tulane University School of Medicine. In those roles Dr. Nagle worked closely with Louisiana government leaders to strengthen the state’s early childhood system and expand high-quality early care and education. His advocacy resulted in Quality Start, Louisiana’s child care quality rating and improvement system, and laws creating the Early Childhood System Integration Budget and School Readiness Tax Credits.

“It is an honor to be recognized for work that improves the lives of young children and their families,” Dr. Nagle said. “Quality child care is critical to the positive development of young children, the stability of families, and the health of our communities.”

At Erikson, Dr. Nagle has driven the development and implementation of a new strategic plan that draws from Erikson’s core strengths as the nation’s premier graduate school in child development and addresses how Erikson will make an impact by transforming the early childhood workforce, informing the use of technology in early childhood, influencing leadership and policy, and improving support for families and communities.

Under his leadership, Erikson has launched a Master of Social Work degree program, the first in the nation to integrate a child development perspective in the social work curriculum, and worked with faculty to establish a global partnership with China’s largest private preschool provider in a groundbreaking effort that is training thousands of early learning professionals. Drawing on his work in Louisiana, Dr. Nagle testified in Nebraska in favor of a proposed tax credit program based on the successful Louisiana model, which was passed by the legislature there this month.

The World Association for Infant Mental Health promotes the mental well-being and healthy development of infants throughout the world. Through education, networking, conferences, and a biennial World Congress, it connects scientific and educational professionals with the latest research, resources, and innovations on infant mental health.

The association each year grants five awards at its World Congress, including the recognition that Dr. Nagle has received, the Sonya Bemporad Award, which honors leaders for their significant contributions to the advancement of social and public policies that contribute to the mental health and overall benefit of infants, toddlers, and their families.