Support The World's Smartest Network

Help the New York Academy of Sciences bring late-breaking scientific information about the COVID-19 pandemic to global audiences. Please make a tax-deductible gift today.

This site uses cookies.
Learn more.


This website uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the website to operate while others offer you a better browsing experience. You give us your permission to use cookies, by continuing to use our website after you have received the cookie notification. To find out more about cookies on this website and how to change your cookie settings, see our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

We encourage you to learn more about cookies on our site in our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

Early Childhood Development Research including Children in Crisis Settings Topic of Special Issue of Annals of the New York Academy of Science

Published May 23, 2018

New York, May 23, 2018 – According to a study1 by the International Child Development Steering Group of The Lancet, close to half of all children under five – an estimated 250 million children worldwide – fail to meet developmental potential in the first five years of life.

Young children require nurturing care in order to thrive and develop healthily. Yet, few programs that support development and enable nurturing actually reach young children and caregivers – a particular concern for those in conflict zones, or in regions where natural or man made disasters have created humanitarian crises.

A special series of 19 papers on implementation research and practice addressing early childhood development (ECD) authored by global researchers and practitioners, including academicians, funders, think tanks, UN agencies, and non-government organizations, will be published in a special issue of Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (Ann NY Acad Sci) on May 23, 2018.

While a growing body of evidence describes what interventions work and show promise for supporting young children’s development, little exists on how to implement effective programs at scale.

“The Ann NY Acad Sci papers cover interventions and evaluation of implementation effectiveness trials of home visit and community-based and preschool interventions. They include topics such as costing and financing interventions that support ECD, shaping demand, supporting ECD in fragile contexts, capacity building, and transitioning to scale,” said Dr. Aisha Yousafzai, Associate Professor of Global Health, at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and one of the special issue editors. “The papers are intended to serve as a much needed guide for better implementation research and practice, including improved reporting of ECD programs.”


Published as a special issue of Ann NY Acad Sci, this collection of papers is intended to advance evidence for effective scaling up of nurturing care interventions that promote early childhood development. Global programmatic discussion in the papers include experiences in Australia, Brazil, Colombia, India, Jamaica, Malawi, Pakistan, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Highlights include:

  • Britto and colleagues identify key ingredients of the implementation process and discusses strategies to embed programs into existing platforms for scalability and sustainability.
  • Yousafzai and colleagues introduce specific guidelines for standardized reporting of intervention implementation aimed at generating evidence for evaluating and understanding what does and does not work in these programs, and why.
  • Murphy and colleagues present a framework for ECD implementation research in humanitarian (crisis and conflict) settings and propose an agenda for future research.
  • Aboud and colleagues summarize the current status of ECD implementation research, emerging issues, and discusses the urgent need to prioritize the improvement and expansion of evidence-based programs.

Note to Editors -- Story Resources: 

Available for interview:

  • Aisha Yousafzai, Associate Professor of Global Health, at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard, and one of the special issue editors
  • Douglas Braaten, Chief Scientific Officer, Executive Editor of Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 
  • The papers in this series are open access and are available upon request.

Ref:  1. Developmental potential in the first 5 years for children in developing countries

About Ann NY Acad Sci

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences is one of the oldest scientific publications in the United States, and among the top cited multidisciplinary scientific journals worldwide. Continuously published since 1824, Ann NY Acad Sci is the premier publication of the New York Academy of Sciences, offering original research articles and commissioned reviews, perspectives, and commentaries in several areas of biological and physical sciences. Rigorously peer reviewed, Ann NY Acad Sci is available in over 11,000 institutions worldwide.

About the New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that, since 1817, has been driving innovative solutions to society's challenges by advancing scientific research, education, and policy. With more than 20,000 members in 100 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity.


Marie Gentile

Director of Communications