An Update from the Act Early Response to COVID-19


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Archived Recording
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Monday, May 24, 2021
3:00 - 4:00 p.m. ET
Location: Zoom Meeting


Webinar Description:

"Learn the Signs. Act Early." (LTSAE) is a CDC program that promotes collaboration among early childhood programs in states and territories so children with autism or other developmental delays and disabilities can be identified early and referred to appropriate services and supports. This past year the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded 43 states and territories to focus on early childhood state systems to support recovery and strengthen resilience skills, behaviors, and resources of children, families, and communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This webinar will provide an overview of LTSAE, the purpose and scope of the Act Early Response to COVID-19 and include a high-level overview of findings from the Act Early/COVID-19 Response Team needs assessment process.


A woman wearing glasses is smiling and standing next to a porch railing in front of a tree with a lake behind her.Elizabeth (Betsey) Howe, PhD, is the AUCD and CDC Fellow for the Act Early Response to COVID-19 Project. In this position, Betsey will support this project's work related to family engaged developmental monitoring and screening for autism and other developmental delays in response to the pandemic. This support will include technical assistance to state Act Early COVID-19 Response Teams, collaboration with project evaluators, summarizing, highlighting, and disseminating the project's work, including lessons learned and reporting results to the funders.

Betsey has extensive experience in the field of early childhood intervention as both a practitioner and a leader. She comes to the Fellow position from her role as the Early Childhood Personnel Center (ECPC) coordinator, a national technical assistance center funded by the United States Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs. In this role, Betsey worked with the center's leadership to provide technical assistance to state teams on the development of comprehensive systems of personnel development.

Betsey holds a Masters of Art in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Colorado at Denver, as well as a PhD in Leadership in Early Childhood Intervention from the University of CT, which is the CT UCEDD. Her prior research focused on the teachers' use of evidence-based practices to support social competence in young children with disabilities. Betsey's paramount area of interest is remediating barriers that impede the actualization of an inclusive early childhood system to support the best developmental outcomes for infants and young children with disabilities and their families.

A woman wearing glasses and smiling and wearing a emerald green blouse.Hannah Getachew-Smith, MPH, CHES is the Act Early/COVID-19 Project Evaluator for AUCD's Public Health Team. She is conducting evaluation activities for the "Learn the Signs. Act Early." initiative response to COVID-19. Hannah has worked in public health for more than 10 years at the federal, state, and local levels in both the public and private sectors. She spent 4 years on the Research and Evaluation team in the Prevention Communication Branch within the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the CDC where she conducted research to develop and evaluate national health communication campaigns and partnership initiatives under the "Let's Stop HIV Together" umbrella. She has also conducted research on developmental delays and disabilities, HIV surveillance, maternal and child health, and cancer prevention.

Hannah holds an MPH in behavioral sciences and health education from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). She is currently a doctoral candidate and presidential fellow in the Media, Technology, and Society program at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on the evaluation of digital behavior change interventions to promote healthy behaviors and address health disparities, specifically disparities that exist in developmental delays among children

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