Building Bright Futures:
A Policy Summit on Supporting Healthy Moms, Babies, and Childhood Development


The first few years of a child’s life are a time of incredible potential. Great things happen for that child and her community – for decades to come – when parents and young kids have the support of policymakers, health professionals, early childhood educators, and community organizations. When that support lags, bright futures grow dimmer.

To ensure a brighter future for Texas kids and communities, our daylong summit will explore emerging challenges and innovative, effective ways to support maternal health, postpartum care, infant health, and early childhood development. Expert panelists will share the latest evidence on what’s off track, what works, policies ripe for change, and innovative opportunities to give Texas children the best possible chance for a bright future. 

The discussion topics are designed to interest health practitioners, early educators, policy leaders, philanthropists, business leaders, and other Texans who advocate for strong early childhood systems.

We encourage you to get your tickets to the summit before the price of registration increases on Wednesday, November 29th at 5:00 pm.

The deadline to register is Friday, December 1st, at 5:00 pm.

Registration is closed. If you are interested in attending
the event and do not have a ticket, please contact us at
512.473.2274, or email
[email protected].


Click the session title for more details, including topics to be discussed and speakers.

■ 8:30 – 9:30: Registration and Continental Breakfast

+ 9:30 — 10:45: Hurricanes, Hunger, and Hurt: How Childhood Trauma Affects Our Kids and Communities and What We Can Do About It

A child may experience trauma when an event or series of circumstances – such as child abuse, neglect, family stress, community violence, or natural disasters – threaten their physical or emotional safety and overwhelm their ability to cope. These experiences can have long-lasting adverse effects on a child’s physical and emotional well-being, with ripple effects on a child’s development, learning, behavior, and long-term health. Understanding the prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and helping children develop strong social-emotional and coping skills in the early years can help minimize the long-term impact of trauma.

This panel session will explore how (1) trauma affects a young child’s health, development, and well-being; (2) child care programs, pediatric medical homes, and other family support settings have infused trauma-informed care into their routine practices; and (3) how Texas can ensure more children, including those affected by Hurricane Harvey, get the support they need to thrive.


  • Dr. Cynthia Osborne: Director, Child and Family Research Partnership; Associate Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs


  • Seanna Crosbie: Director of Program & Trauma-Informed Services, Austin Child Guidance Center; Chair, Trauma-Informed Care Consortium of Central Texas (TICC)
  • Colleen Horton: Policy Program Officer, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health
  • Tracy A. Spinner: Assistant Director, Comprehensive Health Services, Dept of SEL and Multi-tiered Systems of Support, Austin ISD
  • Christina Triantaphyllis: Chief Officer of Public Policy & Strategic Initiatives, Collaborative for Children

+ 11:00 — 12:15: From Maternal Mortality to Maternal Health: Confronting the Texas Crisis, Saving Lives, and Supporting Healthy Moms and Babies

Texas faces a maternal mortality crisis, with the rate of pregnancy-related deaths and complications doubling over the last few years. No other state has seen such an increase in maternal deaths. In addition, while new mothers of all backgrounds have died in Texas in recent years, state-led reports reveal that Black women bear the greatest risk. The tragic impact on infants and families cannot be ignored. There is growing recognition among state leaders and communities that further action is needed to prevent more Texas women from dying during pregnancy, childbirth, or in the weeks after delivery.

A range of players – including family planning providers, obstetricians, pediatricians, home visitors, therapists, and community health workers – play a critical role in improving pregnancy and postpartum health for moms, ultimately benefiting the health and well-being of infants. Speakers will discuss current initiatives with proven results, identified gaps, and how a two-generation approach supporting parents and their children can be implemented in different settings serving families.


  • Elizabeth Krause: Senior Program Officer, St. David’s Foundation


  • Elaine Cavazos: Clinical Director, Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Alliance of Texas; Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Austin
  • Dr. Lisa Hollier: Chair, Texas Maternal Mortality & Morbidity Task Force; Physician specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital
  • Lisa Ramirez: Project Director, Texas Targeted Opioid Response, Substance Use Disorder Unit, Texas Health and Human Services
  • Darline Turner: Owner and Founder, Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond; Executive Director, Healing Hands Community Doula Project

■ 12:30 — 1:30: Lunch and Breakout Sessions

+ 1:45 — 3:00: Childhood Disabilities, Delays, and Dreams: Ensuring Young Kids Have the Screening, Therapies, and Support They Need to Succeed

Developmental screenings help identify young children's possible developmental delays, disabilities, and concerns early so families can be referred to appropriate services and supports, such as Early Childhood Intervention (ECI). In many cases, children are referred to ECI after a doctor conducts a developmental screening during routine check-ups. In other cases, child care professionals screen children for risk of developmental delays and work with families to get further evaluation and supports.

Given that a child may be screened in different settings, it’s important that developmental screenings are used effectively across systems and that streamlined referral networks are in place. Speakers will discuss current initiatives to increase awareness of developmental screenings among families, pediatric providers, child care staff, and ECI contractors. Panelists will explore how cross-system trainings can implemented to ensure more children are screened for developmental delays and referred to appropriate supports.


  • Katy Butterwick: Program Officer, Episcopal Health Foundation


  • Martha Aki: Program Director, ECI Project TYKE, Katy I.S.D.
  • Audrey Jackson: Executive Director, Cen Tex Family Services, Inc.
  • Dr. Ryan Van Ramshorst: Pediatrician practicing in San Antonio, Texas; Affiliated with UT Health San Antonio and University Health System

+ 3:15 — 4:30: Health Equity from the Start: Confronting Infant Health Disparities in Texas and Where We Go From Here

While progress has been made in recent years, still too many Texas babies are born too small or too early. Although this affects babies of all backgrounds, Black babies are at greatest risk of being born too early or too small. The rate of Black babies dying is also much higher compared to other babies. This panel will cover current trends, underlying causes of poor infant health, and best practices in hospital and health care settings. Experts will explore the role of social determinants of health, the work of Texas’ Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies, and discuss how data can be used to drive targeted community-based efforts across the state.


  • Nancy Sheppard: Former chair, Central Texas Perinatal Coalition; Former Perinatal Outreach Coordinator, Seton Healthcare Family


  • Dr. Rosanna Barrett: Director of Health Equity, Office of Minority Health Statistics and Engagement, Texas Health and Human Services
  • Dr. Charleta Guillory: Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine; Director, Texas Children's Hospital, Neonatal-Perinatal Public Health Program
  • Dr. David Lakey: Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer, The University of Texas System; Director, Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies; Former Commissioner, Texas Department of State Health Services
  • Sasha Rasco: Associate Commissioner, Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Division, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

who is this summit for?

This learning summit is designed for advocates, health professionals and clinicians, and community-based organizations serving babies, toddlers, and their families. 

  • Early Childhood Intervention professionals

  • Social workers

  • Child development professionals and researchers

  • Early care and education directors and staff

  • Doctors, nurses, doulas

  • Counselors or therapists

  • Community health workers

  • Parent coaches

  • Home visitors

  • Policy professionals


  1. Access to a full day of expert panelists discussing the latest evidence as to what policies are ripe for change, what’s off track and what works, and what innovative opportunities give Texas children the best possible chance for a bright future.

  2. CEUs will be provided for Early Intervention Specialists and Social Workers.

  3. Networking opportunities with other professionals and community leaders to share best practices, inspire collaboration, and learn from each other.

  4. Continental breakfast and boxed lunch.



Registration is closed. If you are interested in attending the event and do not have a ticket, please contact us at 512.473.2274, or email [email protected].