Early Intervention Research


Diverse family speaking with doctor

Infant-Family and Early Childhood Developmental and Mental Health Intervention

The mission of our infant/family and early childhood intervention program is to support families in building resilience in infants and young children with special needs due to biological and/or psychosocial circumstance. This is accomplished through service delivery, workforce development, research, and policy.   Recent infant brain research has validated the impact of the early caregiving environment on parent/child relationships, the regulation of behavior and the trajectory of development.   Our program outreaches to families with infants and young children who have developmental delays and disabilities, chronic illness, perinatal drug exposure, or experience out of home placement, domestic violence or the stresses of poverty.  We collaborate with community health, mental health, public health, Head Start, early education and care, early intervention, and foster care to build an infant-family and early childhood system of care in Los Angeles County. 

Programs, Collaborations and Initiatives

Service Delivery

Training/Workforce Development

Current Projects

Biological and Environmental Contributions to Healthy Baby Development in Diverse Population (PI: Pat Leavitt; Co-Investigators: Suzanne Roberts, Douglas Vanderbilt)

The evaluation of infant-family mental health (IFMH) services in fetal-maternal comprehensive care for the congenital heart disease (CHD) population (PI: Eliza Harley; Co-Investigator: Marian Williams)

DC:0 - 5 Chart Review (PI: Marian Williams)

MRI of Newborns and Youth (PI: Mimi Kim; Co-Investigators: Joyce Javier, Christine Mirzaian)

Predicting the early childhood outcomes of preterm brain shape abnormalities (PI: Natasha LaPore; Co-Investigator: Christine Mirzaian)

Craniofacial Microsomia: Accelerating Understanding of the Significance and Etiology (CAUSE) (PI: Alexis Johns)

Antenatal counseling and support for women with high risk pregnancies (PI: Christine Mirzaian)

A Patient Navigation Model to Improve Follow Up After NICU Discharge (PI: Christine Mirzaian; Co-Investigators: Douglas Vanderbilt, Michele Kiepke, Beth Smith)

Quality of life among caregivers and families of preterm infants after discharge from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Los Angeles Cohort (PI: Christine Mirzaian; Co-Investigator: Douglas Vanderbilt)

Research Network on Toxic Stress and Health (PI: Pat Leavitt; Co-Investigator: Suzanne Roberts)

Infant & Toddler Short Gut Feeding Outcomes Study (PI: Russell Merritt; Co-Investigator: Larry Yin)

Early Cleft Lip Surgery: Neurodevelopment at Age Three Years (Alexis Johns, Co-Investigator)

First Connections at South Central LA Regional Center (Marian Williams, PI).
Filipino Family Initiative: Engaging Immigrants in Faith-Based Preventive Parenting Interventions (Joyce Javier, PI)

Impact of a Mother-Baby Group on Depression and Infant Development in Mothers with Postpartum Depression and their Infants. (Co-Investigator: Douglas Vanderbilt)

The HEALthy Brain and Child Development Study (HBCD) (Co-Investigator: Douglas Vanderbilt)

Biological and Environmental Contributions to Healthy Baby Development in Diverse Population (Co-Investigator: Douglas Vanderbilt)

Factors Associated with Successful Early Intervention Service Contact (PI: Christine Mirzaian)

MRI Assessment and Long-Term Neurodevelopment in Newborns Undergoing Cooling for Perinatal Depression ((Co-Investigator: Douglas Vanderbilt)

Scalable Measurement and Clinical Deployment of Mitochondrial Biomarkers of Toxic Stress(Co-Investigator: Douglas Vanderbilt)

Needs assessment regarding safely surrendered infants in Los Angeles County (PI: Micah Orliss)

Retrospective chart review of ASQ scores for children from a general pediatrics clinic who had a delay in receiving or were found ineligible for California Regional Center Early Start Program Services. (PI: Christine Mirzaian)

Outcomes of High Risk Infants_Informatics (Co-Investigator: Douglas Vanderbilt)

Endoscopic repair of myelomeningocele ( Co-Investigators: Douglas Vanderbilt, Kathryn Smith, Alex Van Speybroeck)

Neuroimaging and neurodevelopmental outcomes of infants undergoing hypothermia therapy (Co-Investigator: Douglas Vanderbilt)


Butera, C. D., Rhee, C., Kelly, C. E., Dhollander, T., Thompson, D. K., Wisnowski, J., Molinini, R. M., Sargent, B., Lepore, N., Vorona, G., Bessom, D., Shall, M. S., Burnsed, J., Stevenson, R. D., Brown, S., Harper, A., Hendricks-Muñoz, K. D., & Dusing, S. C. (2022). Effect of a NICU to Home Physical Therapy Intervention on White Matter Trajectories, Motor Skills, and Problem-Solving Skills of Infants Born Very Preterm: A Case Series. Journal of personalized medicine, 12(12), 2024. https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm12122024

Deavenport-Saman, A., Vanderbilt, D. L., Harstad, E., Shults, J., Barbaresi, W., Bax, A., Cacia, J., Friedman, S., LaRosa, A., Loe, I., Mittal, S., & Blum, N. (2022). Association of Coexisting Conditions, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Medication Choice, and Likelihood of Improvement in Preschool-Age Children: A Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network Study. Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology, 32(6), 328–336. https://doi.org/10.1089/cap.2022.0009

Dusing, S. C., Harbourne, R. T., Hsu, L. Y., Koziol, N. A., Kretch, K., Sargent, B., Jensen-Willett, S., McCoy, S. W., & Vanderbilt, D. L. (2022). The SIT-PT Trial Protocol: A Dose-Matched Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing 2 Physical Therapist Interventions for Infants and Toddlers With Cerebral Palsy. Physical therapy, 102(7), pzac039. https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/pzac039

Lakshmanan, A., Sunshine, I., Escobar, C. M., Kipke, M., Vanderbilt, D., Friedlich, P. S., & Mirzaian, C. B. (2022). Connecting to Early Intervention Services After Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Discharge in a Medicaid Sample. Academic pediatrics, 22(2), 253–262. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2021.10.006

Lakshmanan, A., Sunshine, I., Calvetti, S., Espinoza, J., Santoro, S., Butala, S., House, M., & Kipke, M. (2022). Designing a Mobile Health Solution to Facilitate the Transition from NICU to Home: A Qualitative Study. Children (Basel, Switzerland), 9(2), 260. https://doi.org/10.3390/children9020260

Loe IM, Blum NJ Shults J, Barbaresi W, Bax A, Cacia J, Deavenport-Saman A, Friedman S, LaRosa A, Loe IM, Mittal S, Vanderbilt DL, Harstad E.(2022) Adverse Effects of α-2 Adrenergic Agonists and Stimulants in Preschool-Age ADHD: A DBPNet Study. The Journal of Pediatrics, In Press.

Macam, S. R., Mack, W., Palinkas, L., Kipke, M., & Javier, J. R. (2022). Evaluating an Evidence-Based Parenting Intervention Among Filipino Parents: Protocol for a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR research protocols, 11(2), e21867. https://doi.org/10.2196/21867

Mirzaian, C.B., Ghadiali, T., Vestal, N., Song, A., Vanderbilt, D., & Lakshmanan, A. (2022) Rates of connection to early intervention from the neonatal intensive care unit in a high risk infant follow-up program. Journal of perinatology, doi: 10.1038/s41372-022-01408-3. PMID: 35589971.

Quebles, I., Perrigo, J. Bravo, R., Patel, M., Poulsen, K. M., Wheeler. Y, B., Williams, E. M. (2022, In Press). Latinx Mother's Experiences with Linkage to Early Intervention. Journal of infants and young children.

Rosales, M. R., Deng, W., Nishiyori, R., Vanderbilt, D. L., & Smith, B. A. (2022). Leg Movement Rate before and after a Caregiver-Provided Intervention for Infants at Risk of Developmental Disability: A Pilot Study. Physical & occupational therapy in pediatrics, 42(3), 259–274. https://doi.org/10.1080/01942638.2021.1986615

Kim, J. A., Fetters, L., Kubo, M., Eckel, S. P., & Sargent, B. (2021). Infants born full term and preterm increase the height of anti-gravity leg movements during a kick-activated mobile task using a scaffolded task environment. Infancy : the official journal of the International Society on Infant Studies, 26(1), 168–183. https://doi.org/10.1111/infa.12379