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The 10th Annual On The Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium

October 15, 2020

The 10th Annual On The Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium was a huge success with 3,700 registrants, 1,355 engaged audience members during the event and an average interest rating of 94. The recorded event has also been viewed over 600 times on YouTube to date.

This year’s On the Shoulders of Giants event took a new format. Following brief presentations by Dr. Tom Boyce, winner of the 2020 Sarah Gund Prize for Research and Mentorship in Child Mental Health, and his proteges, the event moved on to a roundtable discussion composed of distinguished scientists, who discussed issues of racism and inequality in children’s mental health — as well as the future of training in the field.

The 2020 Sarah Gund Prize for Research and Mentorship in Child Mental Health honored Dr. Tom Boyce, the Lisa and John Pritzker Distinguished Professor of Developmental and Behavioral Health at the University of California, San Francisco, whose work focuses on the impact of socioeconomic factors and early life experiences on child physical and mental health. He is a leading expert on the interplay between neurobiological and psychosocial processes — an interplay that leads to socially partitioned differences in childhood health, development and disease.

In their presentations, Dr. Boyce and proteges Drs. Nicole Bush and Danielle Roubinov offered insights into some of the most compelling issues in child psychology: childhood trauma, compounding traumas, and child development as it relates to resilience. The presentations explored how the current cultural and sociopolitical climate intersects with the study of trauma and resilience and discussed the impact of trauma and resilience on the developing brain.

The roundtable discussion, moderated by Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), explored issues of race and discrimination in child and adolescent health and the country at large. Panelists were Drs. Tom Boyce, F. Xavier Castellanos, Kenneth A. Dodge, Felton “Tony” Earls, Yasmin Hurd, Jerome Kagan, Tom Insel and John Weisz. Highlights of the discussion included an incisive look at the changes scientists and researchers must make to combat classism and racism in the field of children’s mental health and a conversation about how a “national change of heart” can help create more inclusive, intersectional care.

Each year, the On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium brings together world-class researchers with children’s mental health care experts, educators, parents and young people interested in the advances that are revolutionizing our understanding of brain and mental health and learning disorders. This year is an important moment in history. We are hopeful that bringing together this panel of experts for this engaging discussion will help us move toward a world in which all children have equal access to the care they need. We were truly honored to have the opportunity to host such a valuable and timely conversation. For those who were unable to join us during the event, we have included a link to the recorded symposium and roundtable.