How We Work

Special Initiatives

Harris professional development Network

The Harris Professional Development Network (PDN) is an innovative network of 18 multi-disciplinary programs from 10 states, the District of Columbia and Israel. The PDN’s members train professionals in the infant mental health workforce, promote and integrate core developmental and mental health principles into systems and services, and inform public policy around young children’s social and emotional development. Areas of work include:

PDN sites also serve as advocates on behalf of children’s mental health. They influence state and federal public policy strategies that have resulted in increased support for infant and early childhood mental health and child trauma services and a greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

The History of the PDN

In 1994 Irving Harris wrote to a small group of leaders and experts in the nascent field of infant and early childhood mental health and trauma. He asked for big ideas that could transform the lives of young children and their families. He suggested focusing on their social-emotional well-being and reduction of the prevalence and impact of trauma. Irving emphasized leadership development as a strategy to build the infrastructure of the infant mental health field. The leaders selected and their innovative ideas became the base for what is now the PDN. For more than 23 years, the PDN and its members have played a leading role in improving mental health and related services for very young children across the U.S. and in Israel.

Diversity-Informed Infant Mental Health Tenets

The Diversity-Informed Infant Mental Health Tenets (“Tenets”) were co-created by the Foundation and its network of leaders working to intentionally embed a diversity and inclusion framework into the infant mental health field. The Tenets are a set of guiding principles and practices that strengthen the commitment and capacity of infant, child and family professionals, organizations and systems to embed diversity, inclusion and equity principles into their work. They are rooted in the belief that self-awareness and intentional action are the cornerstones of diversity, equity and inclusion. The Tenets are a call to action to all those working with or on behalf of infants, children and families to deliberately address the racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and other inequities in society and to work toward diversity-informed, culturally-attuned, equitable and inclusive practice. (Download the Tenets here.)

For more information, please visit: http://www.imhdivtenets.org.

The Harris School of Public Policy

The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy trains the next generation of leaders to become agents of change on a range of issues, including economic inequality, urban development, international policy and child and family policy.  In the mid-1970s, Irving Harris led an effort to transform the University of Chicago’s Committee on Public Policy into a world class graduate school because he understood that deeply rooted societal issues could only be solved through effective policy and informed action. Through engaged partnership, core endowment funding and strategic grants to support faculty development and excellence scholarships, Irving helped ensure the vitality and relevance of the school.

In 1999, Irving initiated and endowed the Harris School’s Center for Human Potential and Public Policy to help the school become a leader in policy work related to young children. The focus of the Center is on integrating research and policy change to improve the health, welfare and development of children and their families. More recently, in 2015 the Harris School received a $100 million gift from The Pearson Family Foundation to establish The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts and The Pearson Global Forum, further broadening and deepening the Harris School’s expertise and offerings.

More than 2000 students have graduated since its first degrees were awarded in 1977, and there are currently more than 375 students enrolled in Harris School degree programs. The training and education they receive helps them make an impact on the problems facing people and institutions around the globe. Beginning in Fall 2018, Harris School students will have a new home at the Keller Center, which is currently undergoing renovations to become a first class, 21st century center for learning.