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Infant-Parent Training Institute

Speaker Series

The Infant-Parent Training Institute offers professional development seminars, each spring, and fall.

These presentations are opportunities for experts in the field to share current research and knowledge on a variety of infant-parent mental health topics. The IPTI Speaker Series is open to the general public; advanced registration is required. CEUs for some disciplines are offered.

Please check back to see when upcoming sessions are being offered 

Upcoming Presentations


Examining Implicit Bias Embedded in our Developmental Science

IPTI Speaker Series Overview

This lecture will explore the dominant culture biases within the science and practice of infant mental health. We will reflectively examine our universal standard against the experience of BIPOC communities as caregivers and parents prepare their children for the inequities of systemic racism.

About the Speaker

Barbara Stroud, PhD is a renowned trainer, consultant, author, co-founding organizer of CalAIMH and an experienced graduate level faculty member. She holds endorsement as an Infant Family Early Child Mental Health Specialist/Reflective Practice Facilitator Mentor and is a ZERO TO THREE Fellow. In April of 2018 Dr. Stroud was honored with the Bruce D. Perry Spirit of the Child Award. Dr. Stroud is the author of ‘How to Measure a Relationship: A practical approach to dyadic interventions,’ ‘Intentional Living: finding the inner peace to create successful relationships’ and a contributing author to the text ‘Infant and early childhood mental health: Core concepts and clinical practice’ edited by Kristie Brandt, Bruce Perry, Steve Seligman, & Ed Tronick.

Dr. Stroud is particularly passionate about the unique needs of children of color in the mental health and foster care systems. She has an impressive history of working across infant and early childhood systems to integrate developmental models, culturally respectful services within a relationship-based framework. Dr. Stroud remains steadfast in her mission to ‘change the world – one relationship at a time’.

Date: May 14, 2021
Time: 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. EST (9:00 – 10:00 a.m. PST)
Location: Zoom, Link will be provided upon registration.
Tuition: $30
For more information and to register:

Registration is required before the session. Space is limited. For more information, email or call 781-693-5652.

Mothering: A journey from the northern triangle to Massachusetts (IPTI Event)

IPTI Speaker Series Overview

This presentation will offer a window into the clinical intervention and significant findings from the evaluation of Project Conexiones Tempranas, an intervention developed to foster resilience and ameliorate the symptoms and consequences of perinatal and early childhood trauma among Latino immigrant families in MA. The presentation provides examples and outcomes of their clinical interventions and offers an opportunity for conversation with those in attendance.

About the Speakers

Ruth Paris, Ph.D., LICSW is an Associate Professor of Clinical Practice at Boston University School of Social Work (BUSSW) where she serves as the Chair of the Clinical Practice Department. At BUSSW, she teaches courses on clinical practice with families, trauma in early childhood and clinical research methods. Her program of research focuses on attachment-based interventions for vulnerable families with young children. One current project is the evaluation of Early Connections/Conexiones Tempranas, a JF&CS program that addresses the needs of primarily immigrant young children and their families who have experienced trauma. Dr. Paris is a graduate of Smith College (MSW) and the University of California, Berkeley (PhD).

Karen Garber, LICSW, CEIS IMH-E is originally from Venezuela where she trained as a psychologist. For over 25 years, she has been an Early Childhood Mental Health provider and consultant. She currently works at the Center for Early Relationship Support at Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Boston, where she coordinates Early Connections/Conexiones Tempranas, a SAMHSA-funded project created to reduce the impact of early childhood trauma in the Waltham, MA, and surrounding communities. Recently, Karen has treated families impacted by a variety of adversities including substance use and provided early childhood mental health consultation to local agencies that provide treatment for Latino families in recovery. Karen is interested in the impact of immigration, culture and trauma on attachment and parenting. Karen is a member of the Culture Consortium of the NCTSN and an active volunteer at Postpartum Support International and Healthy Waltham.

Date: June 11, 2021
Time: 11:00 – 1:00 p.m. EDT
Location: Zoom, Link will be provided upon registration.
Tuition: $60 (without CEUs); $75 (includes CEUs for social work and LMHC)
For more information and to register:

Registration is required before the session. Space is limited. For more information, email or call 781-693-5652.

Recent Presentations

Racially Wounded: Nappy-Haired ‘Ghosts’ of Colorism in Parent/Infant/Therapist Relationships

Master Class Overview
This master class presents Dr. Marva Lewis’s work in articulating a cultural practice of hair combing interaction (HCI) as a therapeutic context to strengthen parent-infant attachment between parents and children of color. The HCI approach is now a manualized curriculum titled Talk, Touch and Listen While Combing Hair©. The training will include how to use HCI as a daily opportunity to connect with young children, how the parent’s early experiences with messages about body image and hair type may impact their behaviors during HCI, and how social workers may use HCI during therapeutic visits with birth parents and foster parents to develop a co-parenting model.

About the Speaker
Dr. Lewis earned a PhD in sociocultural psychology at Tulane University School of Social Work, with a clinical appointment in the Institute of Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health. She developed community-based interventions to strengthen attachment and address intergenerational legacies of the historical trauma of slavery and acceptance or rejection of children based on skin color. Her book Therapeutic Cultural Routines to Build Family Relationships: Talk, Touch & Listen While Combing Hair© will be released in 2021. She serves on the National Zero to Three Advisory Board and is a consultant with Safe Baby Court Teams to promote racial equity in child welfare.

Using Basic Principles of Developmental Science to Guide Trauma-Informed Care of Young Children and Families

Master Class Overview
This Master Class will offer a frame for listening to children and their caregivers who have experienced early developmental trauma. Dr. Gold will present a model informed by core principles of infant mental health, including reflective functioning, the mutual regulation model, the neurobiology of safety, and the neurosequential model of therapeutics. The Master Class will include opportunities for discussion about the application of this frame to participants’ clinical work.

About the Speaker
Claudia M. Gold, MD is a pediatrician and writer. After practicing general and behavioral pediatrics for over 20 years, she now specializes in infant-parent mental health. She is the director of the Hello It’s Me project, a program designed to bring infant mental health principles to rural communities. She works as a clinician with FIRST Steps Together, a federally funded program for pregnant and parenting women with opioid use disorders. She has written four books: The Power of Discord with co-author Ed Tronick (forthcoming June 2020), The Developmental Science of Early Childhood (2017), The Silenced Child (2016), and Keeping Your Child in Mind (2011). She is on the faculty of the Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston and the Brazelton Institute at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Coming to Life in Time: Early Deprivation and the Sense of a Lively Future

Master Class Overview
Time plays a central role in both clinical work and child development. Dr. Seligman conceptualizes “disorders of temporality”; one form involves the blurring of past and present, but another is a more basic deficit in the sense of a meaningful future. This lifeless state will be linked with the experience of an infant with a parent who does not respond to the baby’s feelings and gestures so as to support the infant’s most basic senses of personal agency. A relational-developmental approach is applied to show how the common sense of time as motion toward an emerging future is embedded in personal experiences of other people’s sympathetic responses. Video vignettes of infant-caregiver interaction will illuminate moments of patient-therapist interaction, alternatively reflecting chronic lifelessness and enlivening responsiveness.

About the Speaker
Stephen Seligman, D.M.H., is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCSF; Joint Editor-in-Chief of Psychoanalytic Dialogues; Training and Supervising Analyst at the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis and the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California; and Clinical Professor at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis. Dr. Seligman has recently authored Relationships in Development: Infancy, Intersubjectivity, and Attachment (Routledge, 2018) and is co-editor of the American Psychiatric Press’ Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health: Core Concepts and Clinical Practice.

This Master Class is offered in conjunction with A Home Within, a national organization dedicated to meeting the emotional needs of foster youth. 

High-Risk Families in the Court System: The Integration of Infant Mental Health Practice into Family Courts

Master Class Overview
This course will address the important contributions that infant mental health professionals can make in cases of child abuse and neglect within the court system.  The class will review the risk factors that infants contend with in the context of maltreatment, and the complex needs of court-involved parents. It will describe the shortfalls inherent to child welfare systems and Family Courts, in which legal and judicial staff make critical decisions about very young children without the benefit of background in early child development, and the benefits that accrue when an infant mental health practitioner becomes an active presence in the Family Court.  The course will describe efforts around the country to develop specialized courts for infants and toddlers, with a particular focus on New York City's Strong Starts Court Initiative.

About the Speaker
Susan Chinitz is a psychologist with specialties in the areas of infant/early childhood mental health and developmental disabilities in infancy and early childhood.

She was the former director of the Early Childhood Center and the Center for Babies, Toddlers and Families at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine where she was a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and the Raizen Distinguished Scholar in Pediatrics. She is currently spearheading the development and expansion of the Strong Starts Court Initiative in the NYC Family Courts and is also the Clinical Co-Director of a Training and Technical Assistance Center that is providing support to seven new Early Childhood Mental Health Treatment Centers funded by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Remembering the “Forgotten Parent:” Lessons from Practice and Research About the Changing Roles and Needs of Fathers of Infants and Young Children.

Master Class Overview
Fathers used to be known as “the forgotten parent” but their presence as front-line caretakers has increased dramatically since 1965. Research suggests that fathers spend three times as much time with their children now as they did in 1965. The success of the Feminist Movement and the changing economic climate in the US have led fathers, some out of necessity and some out of interest, to be more active and emotionally engaged in their children’s lives. At the same time, 25% of children grow up without a father in the house. In the context of this polarized picture, Dr. Ray Levy will discuss child outcomes and fathers' attitudes about the birth of their children. From his work at The Fatherhood Project at MGH, Dr. Levy will share lessons learned on incorporating father friendly practices in medical services to encourage early father involvement and the development of programs for fathers in recovery and teen dads.

About the Speaker
Dr. Levy is the Founder and Executive Director of The Fatherhood Project at Mass General Hospital. Through programs, training and original research, TFP is dedicated to helping men be more knowledgeable, active and emotionally engaged with their children. Being a father has been a central part of Dr. Levy’s life. He is also the Senior Editor of a book series on Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Research. Dr. Levy has been in the private practice of psychotherapy for 35 years, currently in Belmont, MA.

Trauma and Immigration Stress among Latino Families: Implications for Infant-Caregiver Well-Being 

Master Class Overview
The experience of immigration is universally stressful and the current climate heightens feelings of uncertainty and fear. How do these realities impact families and the relationships between parents and their young children? An ecological model can provide a frame to understand the multiple risk and protective factors, which determine the quality of an infant-caregiver relationship. Immigrant women are particularly vulnerable to trauma, discrimination and health disparities, yet there has been limited research describing the implications for maternal-child well-being. This master class will include a presentation of findings from clinical research studies of Latino immigrants in the United States and clinical examples to examine the factors that have an impact on Latina immigrant women's emotional health, including the impact of exposure to interpersonal violence, discrimination, poverty and disadvantage and immigration status. We will discuss implications for infant-caregiver health, and specific intervention, prevention, and policy considerations. Following the didactic presentation, staff from the Early Connections/Conexiones Tempranas program of the Center for Early Relationship Support will share clinical vignettes and qviruestions from dyadic work with Latina immigrant parents and their young children.

About the Speaker
Lisa Fortuna, MD, MPH is Medical Director for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine. She is Co-Director of Transforming and Enhancing Access to Mental Health in Urban Pediatrics (TEAM UP for Children), a BMC-community health center partnership aimed at building excellence in behavioral health care integration in primary care for children (ages 0-18 years) and families in Boston and Lowell, MA. Her clinical career has focused on health services research with a particular focus on post-traumatic stress disorder; Latino, immigrant and adolescent mental health services; access to care and quality of treatment for underserved minority and immigrant populations. She is a co-founder of the Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center Community Counseling program, which offers mental health care integrated within a refugee resettlement agency in Boston. She has been an investigator on several NIH-funded national and international epidemiological and clinical studies of immigrant and minority mental health. She has published peer reviewed articles and chapters in the field of multicultural mental health services research and in posttraumatic stress and a book on the treatment of PTSD and co-occurring substance use disorders in adolescence.

Early Signs and Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder 

Master Class Overview
Professionals in the early childhood field are faced with the difficult tasks of identifying early signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in infants and young children and of sharing their concerns with parents sensitively and effectively. In this Master Class, Dr. Carter will discuss research that helps us understand early symptom presentation and the varied course of onset of autism spectrum disorders. Specific strategies to assist in identifying early symptom presentation, including the use of behavioral checklists and structured observations, will be discussed. The importance of learning about parents’ concerns and beliefs about their children’s red flag behaviors will be emphasized as well as potential approaches for discussing ASD when you suspect that a child may be on the spectrum.

About the Speaker
Alice Carter is a professor in the psychology department at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Trained as a clinical psychologist, Dr. Carter’s work focuses on young children’s development in the context of family relationships, with an emphasis on the early identification of psychopathology and factors that place children at risk for difficulties in social and emotional development. Dr. Carter is an author or co-author of more than 200 articles and chapters, the co-editor of the Handbook of Infant, Toddler, and Preschool Mental Health Assessment with Rebecca Del Carmen, PhD, and the co-author of the Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (ITSEA) and the Brief Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (BITSEA) with Margaret Briggs-Gowan, PhD. She is a member of the Zero to Three DC: 0-5 Task Force, and a DC: 0-5 trainer.


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For more information, contact us at or 781-693-5652.

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