The Simms/Mann Institute for Education and Community Development Think Tank and Fellowship Program, now in its second year, has made great strides in addressing the challenges of our time by reaching back to where it begins—where we begin to emerge and develop as individuals—ages zero to three. The fast-paced lifestyle of today’s world, which has been created by technology, globalization, and changing economic conditions, has threatened the healthy development of the child, the family, and the community. The Simms/Mann Institute was created to address this risk. The Institute has developed an innovative method of professional development by linking renowned researchers and early childhood care practitioners to advance education of early childhood care providers. On February 13th and 14th, the Simms/Mann Institute will be host to the second annual Community College Think Tank and Fellowship Program and will announce the next cohort of Fellowship recipients.

The Simms/Mann Institute Think Tank and Fellowship is a unique public/private partnership that is offering professional development opportunities to Community College Faculty and Staff whose focus is on children ages 0-3. This is the first program of its kind to be implemented at the Community College level. Community Colleges in California educate 70% of early childhood educators.

“Santa Barbara City College is honored to work in partnership with the Simms/Mann Institute to bring attention to the importance of early childhood development and the rapidly changing and complex structure of family and social dynamics,” said Lori Gaskin, Ph.D., Superintendent/President of SBCC. “We are fortunate to be engaged with a group of intelligent, compassionate, and visionary leaders at the Simms/Mann Institute who are dedicated to creating innovative educational programs that address the critical issues facing families today.”

“We are pleased and grateful to have Dr. Victoria Simms, President of Simms/ Mann Institute for Education and Community Development on the SBCC Foundation Board of Directors,” said Madeleine Jacobson, SBCC Foundation Board President. “Her work is an inspiration to us all.”

Dr. Ruth Feldman will be presenting at the Simms/Mann Institute’s next Think Tank. Feldman is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Bar-Ilan University, Israel with a joint appointment at Yale University Medical School, Child Study Center. She is also the director of a community-based infancy clinic and heads an internship program in early childhood clinical psychology.

Dr. Kyle Pruett from the Yale University Child Study Center will also be presenting. Dr. Pruett recently received both the Lifetime Distinguished Teaching and Lifetime Achievement awards from Yale University. He has been in the private practice of infant, child and family psychiatry since 1974. As past president of Zero to Three: The National Center for Infants, Toddlers and their Families, he headed America’s most prestigious multi-disciplinary resource and training center for infant/family professionals.

Wendy Parise, Department Chair of Early Childhood Education at Santa Monica College will be the featured Fellow presenter. Parise developed an innovative workshop to heighten the awareness of current technology usage and assist attendees in determining whether it is interfering in any way upon their relationship and/or quality time with their child. Ninety percent of mothers in the study admitted to texting while breast feeding. The implications of increased technology usage by parents and the affect on child development must be investigated.

The February 13th and 14th Think Tank will provide Fellows with the opportunity to hear from and meet with leading researchers in the field. The Fellows will participate in a specially designed, year-long fellowship program aimed at professional development. The Fellows will each conduct a project based on topics presented at the Think Tank and will then present their project findings to the community at the following Think Tank event.

The 2014-2015 Fellowship Cohort includes an interdisciplinary group of six Fellows from across California: Debbie Cazares, Jennifer Montgomery, Mark Whitney, Marni Roosevelt, Peggy Kidwell-Udin, Kristine Gose.

The Simms/Mann Institute is highly regarded for a series of ‘firsts’ in healthcare and wellness, notably the Simms/Mann UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, which introduced integrative care in oncology at a university setting, and the Venice Family Clinic’s Simms/Mann Health and Wellness Center, the nation’s first health, wellness, and integrative medicine program offered at a free clinic.

“Bridging the gap between research and practice is of upmost importance to me. It has long been my desire to elevate the importance of 0 – 3 years and how those years can impact the health and wellbeing of our children, families, and communities for years to come,” said Victoria Mann Simms, Ph.D., Founder and President, Simms/Mann Institute. “Community colleges are the training ground for our future workforce, and I am excited for the launch of this innovative partnership.”


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