We currently offer three, 3 graduate credit courses in infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH) through the School of Nursing. These are asynchronous online courses, open to University of Washington graduate students (and eligible seniors) across campus as well as community-based non-matriculated students.
Enrolled students come from multiple disciplines, including nursing, social work, education, psychology, medicine, nutrition, speech language and occupational therapy.
IECMH 548 Frameworks in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (Spring Quarter)
Develop foundational knowledge in the growing field of IECMH, including typical and atypical child development and risk and resiliency factors that shape life span trajectories. Course will focus on diversity informed principles of practice, examine cultural perspectives in childrearing, and explore relationship-based, dyadic intervention programs.
IECMH 555 Relationship-Based Mental Health Assessment of Young Children (Autumn Quarter)
Use a diversity and developmentally-informed lens to gain a foundation in observation, assessment, and diagnosis of early childhood social, emotional and behavioral problems (birth – five). Special topics include synchrony, withdrawal, trauma, emotional regulation, and post-partum distress.
IECMH 537 Attachment and Psychopathology: Parents & Infants (Winter Quarter)
Learn about the intergenerational transmission of caregiver-child relationship dynamics and implications for functioning at all ages. The course takes a strengths-based approach to understanding that strategies individuals learned early in life to cope with adversity maturity can be maladaptive later in life or in new contexts.
We currently offer one 5 credit course in infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH). A 5-credit course on early childhood trauma is pending approval/under development for 2021-2022. Both are asynchronous online courses, open to University of Washington undergraduate students, graduate students, and community-based non-matriculated students.
Enrolled students come from multiple disciplines across campus, including nursing, social work, education, psychology, medicine, nutrition, speech language and occupational therapy.
NSG 432: Infants and Toddlers: Risk and Resilience (Autumn, Winter and Spring Quarter)
In this course we explore risk and resilience factors that support and impede infants, young children, and caregivers. We examine the impact of stress on early development as well as relationship-based strategies to promote the development and well-being of young children and their caregivers. Course content includes a brief introduction to early brain development, attachment theory, and application of infant observation and reflective practice skills.
IECMH 433 Trauma in Early Childhood: Resilience in Relationship (pending approval and development)
This course focuses on early childhood trauma and on resilience through relationships. Childhood trauma reverberates through families and across generations. Early care, education, and health systems shape trauma-exposed families' experience and access to resources. Using an infant and early childhood mental health lens, we explore adversity, resilience, historical trauma, and trauma-informed practice.
Susan Spieker, PhD
Susan began her career at UW as a postdoctoral fellow with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Network on the Transition from Infancy to Early Childhood. Her scholarship has been focused on the development of infants and young children under conditions of adversity, and on refining and testing prevention and intervention programs to promote nurturing parent-child relationships in families experiencing adversity and/or coping with a child’s atypical development. Her research experience spans projects on infant child care and attachment, adolescent childbearing and child and family development, and randomized trials on prevention and intervention in Early Head Start and child welfare. She has been an investigator or principal investigator on over twenty federal grants, three of them focused on Promoting First Relationships®. Her current major study, funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Development, is Collaborative Perinatal Mental Health and Parenting Support in Primary Care, 2015-2020, is a randomized control trial studying the effectiveness of adding Promoting First Relationships® to perinatal mental health treatment for low income English and Spanish-speaking mothers.
Colleen O. Dillon, PhD
Colleen O. Dillon is a licensed psychologist with expertise in infant and early childhood mental health. As an Associate Teaching Professor and Faculty Lead on IECMH Training in the UW School of Nursing, Child, Family and Population Health Nursing, she teaches both graduate and undergraduate IECMH courses. Dr. Dillon's graduate degrees are in clinical psychology (child/adolescent focus) from the University of Massachusetts, Boston; her APA residency year completed in the child/community track in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the UW School of Medicine. Dr. Dillon has served as a research fellow and associate member of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Network on the Transition from Adolescence to Adulthood, a clinical postdoctoral fellow at the UW Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and Development, a graduate of the UW Infant Mental Health Certificate Program, and a UW Maternal and Child Health Leadership, Education and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) trainee. Her clinical and research focus over the past 20 years has been on supporting families through vulnerable lifespan transitions.
Miriam Hirschstein, PhD
Miriam Hirschstein is a senior research scientist with the Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and Development in Family, Child, and Population Health Nursing at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on implementation of school-based programs, children’s social-emotional development, and early relational health. She is principal investigator of a longitudinal study at Seattle Educare, one of 25 sites implementing a model of center-based early childhood education serving vulnerable children and families. She also leads an innovation grant supporting mindfulness practices in early childhood education. Dr. Hirschstein has a PhD in educational psychology and teaches in the UW School of Nursing and College of Education.
If interested in learning more about courses, please contact the Faculty Lead on IECMH, Dr. Colleen O. Dillon (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If interested in learning more enrolling as a non-enrolled UW student, please investigate non-matriculated status.