Georgetown and EDC to Lead the new National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety

Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD) in partnership with the Education Development Center (EDC) has been selected by the Office of Head Start (OHS) to lead the new National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety (the Center).


Over the next five years, GUCCHD, EDC, and a consortium of multidisciplinary experts will support Head Start and Early Head Start programs in enhancing the well-being of over 1 million young children and families in low-income communities. The Center’s services and support will reach all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and American Indian and Alaska Native and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start communities.

Led by GUCCHD faculty Dr. Neal M. Horen, Director of the Early Childhood Division, co-PI and Project Director, Ms. Amy Hunter, MSW, LICSW, co-PI and co-lead for Behavioral Health, and Ms. Katrina Holt, MPH, MS, RD, FAND, Project Lead for Oral Health Lead, the Center, in partnership with EDC will work closely with consortium experts to design evidence-based resources and deliver innovative training and technical assistance to help programs accomplish the following:

  • Support children’s safety, healthy development, and school success
  • Promote the mental health and well-being of children, families, and staff
  • Provide inclusive, culturally and linguistically responsive services
  • Address disaster preparedness and response, including for COVID-19
  • Mitigate adversity through trauma-informed care
  • Advance health equity by improving child and family well-being

For over 40 years, EDC and GUCCHD have collaborated with OHS and the Head Start community to build on families’ strengths and foster young children’s school readiness and resilience. Recently, the two nonprofits partnered in the National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness, producing hundreds of resources and trainings to improve the knowledge, skills, and practices of Head Start leaders and program staff.

GUCCHD’s and EDC’s consortium partners include C4 Innovations; Child Trends; Children’s Equity Project; Illuminate Colorado; Center for Childhood Resilience, Lurie Children’s Hospital; National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center; National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education; Prevent Blindness; Pyramid Model Consortium; Sesame Workshop; UCSF California Childcare Health Program; UCSF Child Trauma Research Program; and University of Miami, Mailman Center for Child Development.

Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development is a designated University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.