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PlexusCall: Quality Childhood Programs Boost Adult Health
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When: Friday, August 22, 2014
1-2pm ET

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Friday, August 22, 2014 1-2 PM Eastern Time
Quality Childhood Programs Boost Adult Health

Guests: Gabriella Conti and Ruth Perry

MP3 File


A growing body of evidence suggests early childhood adversity echoes throughout lifetimes in terms of diminished educational and economic outcomes. Researchers have also found that can change—and that high quality early interventions impact adult health in surprising ways. Data from the North Carolina Abecedarian Project started in 1972 shows adults who received educational, medical and nutritional support from infancy through age 5 have less high blood pressure, less obesity, and lower incidence of chronic diseases than peers who were not part of the intervention.


James Heckman, a Nobel laureate in economics and University of Chicago professor, led the data analysis. He and health economist Gabriella Conti are coauthors of Science Magazine article detailing results of the study.

Gabriella Conti, PhD,is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Health Research School of Life and Medical Sciences at the University College London. She is also research associate at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, London, a fellow at the USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research, and Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research Children and Health Economic Programs, in the UK. She is Research Affiliate at the Population Research Center at the University of Chicago, where she was also an assistant professor. She was a visiting fellow at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and Center for Health and Wellbeing. She earned her PhD in economics at the University of Essex in the UK. Dr. Conti’s extensive work on early family environment, adolescent social skills and adult earnings has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other publications the US and abroad. Her study in the health effects of early life adversity in rhesus monkeys has been featured in Time. She has also written and coauthored dozens of peer reviewed scholarly articles.

Ruth Perry, MD, is Executive Director of the Trenton Health Team, a community health collaborative serving Trenton, NJ. As an emergency room physician in Philadelphia, Dr. Ruth Perry saw patients return often for minor ailments that just needed a doctor as well as for chronic illnesses that weren’t managed effectively. As executive director of the Trenton Health Team, she blends her physician background with corporate leadership experience to confront the health and wellness challenges of Trenton’s neediest residents and ensure better care. With a BA from Swarthmore College and MD degree from Temple University, Dr. Perry spent seven years working at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. After the birth of two daughters, she left the hospital for the chemical manufacturing company Rohm and Haas, where she remained for more than 15 years, focusing on product safety, implementation of best practices and change management. At THT Dr. Perry has established the organization’s infrastructure and implemented changes that have already begun to improve lives. Outside of work, she is a gifted musician, photographer and gardener. She plans to use her music talent to help the Trenton community. A classical pianist who also sings in the choir of the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Trenton, Dr. Perry hopes to use the arts to engage the homeless. One of her ideas is to perform in soup kitchens.

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