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Human Capital Research Collaborative highlights leading thinking in early childhood, health, and education

November 10, 2010

The Human Capital Research Collaborative (HCRC) -- a partnership of the University of Minnesota and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis -- has released "Childhood Programs and Practices in the First Decade of Life: A Human Capital Integration" (Cambridge University Press) authored by some of the nation's leading experts in early childhood development and policy analysis. Edited by Arthur Reynolds, Art Rolnick, Michelle Englund and Judy Temple, the volume is based on research presented at HCRC's 2007 conference, which focused on the cost-effectiveness and impact of early childhood interventions. The publication offers a multidisciplinary approach to improving interventions, practices, and policies to optimize success from childhood into adulthood. 

Chapters include findings from many longitudinal studies of early interventions, including the WIC nutrition program, Head Start, the Nurse-Family Partnership, Child-Parent Centers, and small classes in the elementary grades. Recent evaluations of state-financed pre-kindergarten programs in Oklahoma, Michigan, and New Jersey are also featured. James Heckman of the University of Chicago and Edward Zigler of Yale University are just two of the noteworthy authors.

"Our focus on human capital highlights the identification of effective and cost-effective programs for public policy as well as key elements of their benefits," said HCRC co-director Arthur Reynolds.

During the 2010 HCRC conference held in October, experts focused more specifically on the impact of health on school readiness and later educational success. University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks and Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Narayana Kocherlakota welcomed university and national experts in the areas of pediatrics, public health, developmental psychology, education, and public policy. Speakers included Michael Georgieff, director of the University's Center for Neurobehavioral Development, Jean Abraham in the University's School of Public Health, Jack Shonkoff of Harvard University, Greg Duncan of the University of California-Irvine, and Paula Braveman of the University of California-San Francisco. They and others explored the impact of nutrition, health disparities, parental mental health, interventions, and public policy on child development. Topics included preventing obesity in early childhood, how poverty in early childhood affects later health and well-being, the influence of nutrition on cognitive development, and the impact of the new health care law on children's health.

"Developing human capital goes hand in hand with promoting health and well-being," said Rolnick, co-director of HCRC. "The conference provided a foundation for furthering interdisciplinary policy-related research at the University of Minnesota."

Held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minnesota, the full 2010 conference is available via video at http://www.humancapitalrc.org/events/2010/hcrcconf_2010.cfm. The conference was funded, in part, by the McKnight Foundation, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

Reynolds is a professor in the College of Education and Human Development's Institute of Child Development; Rolnick is a senior fellow in the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and former director of research for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. The mission of the HCRC is to promote effective public policies and programs for young people through multidisciplinary research on human development and learning.

Find out more about the book Childhood Programs and Practices in the First Decade of Life and about the partnership at humancapitalrc.org.

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