CDC names Dr. Burt to statewide education role

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations | August 27, 2014

Image with caption: Jennifer Burt, Ph.D.

Jennifer Burt, Ph.D.

Jennifer Burt, Ph.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics/psychology at UNMC's Munroe-Meyer Institute, has been selected to serve as an Act Early Ambassador for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) "Learn the Signs. Act Early." program.

Dr. Burt will play an important role in educating Nebraska's parents, health care professionals, and early educators about early childhood development, warning signs of autism and other developmental disabilities, and acting early on concerns about a child's development.

Important mission

The CDC Learn the Signs. Act Early Ambassador to Nebraska will assist in getting quality, free, research-based materials from a national health education campaign into the hands of local parents. The LTSAE campaign promotes awareness of healthy developmental milestones in early childhood, tools for tracking each child's development and the importance to act early if there are concerns.

To contact Dr. Burt about the campaign, call 402-559-4409.

"Act Early is an important initiative that can help children and families dealing with developmental disabilities to identify difficulties and access services in a timely manner," said Mike Leibowitz, Ph.D., director of MMI. "Dr. Burt brings a professionalism and commitment to this important position. She will be a strong and effective advocate and educator as Nebraska's Act Early Ambassador."

Dr. Burt said it will be important for her to work with partners in the rural and urban communities across the state. "I'm looking forward to meeting with potential partners and having conversations on how we can work together to improve healthy developmental outcomes for young children," she said.

Developmental disabilities are common in the United States.

"The CDC estimates that one in 68 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder and about one in six children aged 3 to 17 has a developmental disability," Dr. Burt said. "Many children with a developmental disability are not identified until after entering school.

"Early intervention can have a significant impact on a child's ability to learn new skills, as well as reduce the need for costly interventions over time. This campaign aims to change perceptions about the importance of identifying developmental concerns early and gives parents and professionals the tools to help."

In a press statement, the CDC said that Dr. Burt was selected as an Act Early Ambassador because of her commitment to improving the lives of children and families and increasing access to services for children with developmental disabilities.

The Act Early Ambassadors project is designed to develop a network of state-level experts to improve early identification of developmental delay and disability. It is a collaborative project of CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, the Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.

For more information on the project, click here.


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