Re-envisioning updates

Update: March 8, 2018

Re-envisioning update #6: Gift from the Barnard estate, Nurses of Influence announcement

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

I am pleased to let you know that the Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and Development continues to move toward implementing the re-envisioned structure under Dr. Monica Oxford’s leadership.

Since our last update this fall, we have received a generous and significant final gift from Dr. Kathryn Barnard’s estate that will support the center’s endowment for operations.

As you may know, the School of Nursing will begin celebrating our centennial in May with the Nurses of Influence Banquet, formerly the Nurses Recognition Banquet. During the banquet, we plan to unveil 75 of our 100 influential nurses connected with the UW School of Nursing. I am sure this will be no surprise, but I am honored to let you know that Dr. Barnard will be one of those honorees.

Please mark your calendar: 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 10, 2018 at the Husky Union Building Ballroom North on the UW campus.

We will begin taking nominations for the remaining 25 influential nurses, and I invite you to put forward other nurses in the Infant Mental Health and Development field for this recognition. Monica and I will share more details about the nomination process in the coming months.

A few other updates follow.

Workforce development

We continue to envision the Barnard Center being the go-to resource for workforce development and training to better serve those professionals who work with families every day and provide services to support the care and well-being of young children. To this end Monica has been making connections with service agencies across King County and has conducted a focus group with several service agencies (home visiting/therapeutic) to learn more about the training needs and training models that will be best suited to the professional development of professionals in this field.

Our partnership and collaboration with King County in the Best Start for Kids program continues to develop. The publicly-funded program is an initiative to improve the health and well-being of all King County residents by investing in promotion, prevention and early intervention for children, youth, families and communities. This initiative will be closely associated with our DNP-Population Health Track (formerly Community Health Nursing) and will provide opportunities for DNP and Ph.D. student involvement.

Dissemination and training

As noted in our earlier communications, one of the exciting changes is that the Barnard Center and NCAST Programs are being combined into one organization. NCAST Programs trains approximately 900 professionals each year and has a solid infrastructure to support the aims of the Barnard Center and workforce development goals. Later this year, we will be formally changing the name of NCAST Programs to represent this new organizational structure. NCAST Programs will become Parent-Child Relationship Programs at the Barnard Center. Through this arm of the Barnard Center, we aim to expand our training menu to include advanced practice training models that will enable clinicians to do a deeper dive and expand their clinical expertise.


To date, faculty affiliated with the Barnard Center have secured more than $20 million in research funding in the last 10 years, primarily through funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Barnard Center-affiliated faculty recently began enrollment for an NIH-funded study to evaluate the  Promoting First Relationships® (PFR) home visiting service, which is an evidence-based program that originated with UW Professor Emeritus Dr. Jean Kelly. The aim of this large randomized clinical trial is to evaluate PFR within the context of children who are returning home to their birth parent after a foster care separation.

Two other NIH grants were submitted by faculty affiliated with the Barnard Center since October 2017. The first grant, headed by Monica Oxford and Colleen Dillon, is a partnership with three agencies, Listen and Talk; North West School for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children; and The Hearing, Speech, and Deaf Center, serving families who have children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The aim of this study is to adapt PFR with intervention methods suited to parents of young children who are deaf or hard of hearing. This is an exciting opportunity to expand Dr. Barnard’s work focusing on the non-verbal communication of infants and how helping caregivers become fluent in non-verbal language will support the overall quality of the parent-child relationships.

The second grant is headed by Monica Oxford with a colleague at Penn State, Idan Shalev. It aims to uncover how stress becomes embedded in the lives of young, vulnerable children and how early adversity contributes to both cellular aging and epigenetic changes. The study, we believe, will help explain health disparities across the life course.

Public and private partnerships

As we mentioned in the Fall, funding to support the activities of the center will be generated through the development of multiple revenue streams, including philanthropy and federal support. The School of Nursing has continued to support the activities necessary to secure funding. We have recently hired a permanent Chief Advancement Officer, Kevin Fralicks. The Barnard Center is one of the fundraising priorities for Kevin and his team during our ongoing capital campaign. Once funding is secured, work plans for center initiatives will be developed with a specific timeline and responsibilities.

Thank you  for your ongoing support and partnership. Monica and I look forward to more updates on our exciting work over the months to come.


Azita Emami, PhD, MSN, RNT, RN, FAAN
Robert G. and Jean A. Reid Dean
Executive Dean, UW School of Nursing

Monica Oxford, MSW, PhD
Director, Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and Development
UW Professor of Family and Child Nursing