David Willis, MD, Joins CSSP as a Senior Fellow

WASHINGTON, DC (April 4, 2019)—The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) announced today that David Willis, MD, will join the organization as a Senior Fellow, bringing his experience and innovative thinking to CSSP’s work to advance equity for young children and their families.

David’s work at CSSP will focus on the intersection of child health and broader community-based early childhood systems. He will launch a national initiative on Early Relational Health (ERH), working with other national experts and organizational partners. Through this initiative, CSSP hopes to deepen understanding and action related to ERH both within pediatric primary care and other community supports for young children and their families. This new body of work will build on, complement, and integrate with the work of CSSP’s Early Childhood Learning and Innovation Network (EC-LINC) and the Strengthening Families National Network.   

David comes to CSSP from Perigee Fund, where he served as its first Executive Director and helped to focus the Fund’s work on the well-being of very young children, their parents, and other care givers—particularly those most affected by trauma and racism. “David made foundational contributions to Perigee’s work by helping to shape our initial priorities, and we’re looking forward to learning alongside CSSP and its partners in this initiative,” said Becca Graves, Executive Director of Perigee Fund.

Prior to joining Perigee, David served as the Director of Home Visiting and Early Childhood Systems at MCHB (2012-2018). In this role he shaped and oversaw the successful implementation of MIECHV, the federal initiative supporting evidence-based home visiting in states and communities nationwide, and he redesigned the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) initiative to focus on community and policy impacts. Boarded in Pediatrics and Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics, David was a practicing clinician in Portland, Oregon for 30 years, recognized as an early childhood champion and leader in Oregon and nationally. Among other positions, David has served as a Harris Mid-Career Fellow with ZERO TO THREE, past President of the Oregon Pediatric Society, an executive member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Early Education and Child Care, and the first Chair of the AAP Board’s Early Brain & Child Development Initiative (EBCD). 

“We are delighted to have such an outstanding leader from the intersecting worlds of child health and early childhood policy development joining our team,” said CSSP President, Frank Farrow. “With David’s experience and creativity, we will continue to spark innovation and drive change to ensure that all children, youth, and families in the US thrive.”

Read David’s full bio here.

About CSSP. The Center for the Study of Social Policy is a national, non-profit policy organization that connects community action, public system reform, and policy change to create a racially, economically, and socially just society in which all children and families thrive. To do this, we translate ideas into action, promote public policies grounded in equity, support strong and inclusive communities, and advocate with and for all children and families marginalized by public policies and institutional practices.