Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD)

Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD)


The Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD) was established over 50 years ago to improve the quality of life for all children and youth and their families, especially those with special health care needs, behavioral health challenges or disabilities (including adults with disabilities).

Founded with an emphasis on bringing the social justice values of Georgetown University to life, our Center has built a strong training and research program that impacts thousands of lives across the world. From our inception, we have embraced an interdisciplinary approach to the work, whether creating clinical teams, collectively solving service delivery issues, or developing effective policies and practices. Locally, nationally and globally, we bring to bear our unique capacities on critical social issues of our time such as poverty, health and mental health inequities, and homelessness. A variety of federal, state, local, and private resources support our work.

GUCCHD strives to foster a stronger society by promoting the wellbeing of ALL children, adults and families and creating more inclusive communities. We work together to:

  • Advance collective solutions.
  • Bridge the campus to the community.
  • Build strong and diverse partnerships.
  • Broadly share our extensive expertise with empathy and dedication.
Neal Horen

Neal Horen, PhD

Dr. Neal Horen is a clinical psychologist who has focused on early childhood mental health for the last twenty years. He is Director of the Early Childhood Division for the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development. Dr. Horen is considered one of the leading national experts on early childhood mental health and early childhood systems. Dr. Horen has worked closely with all 50 states, numerous tribes, territories and communities in supporting their development of systems of care for young children and their families, as well as in Mexico, Lebanon, and Jordan. Mental Health Consultation, Georgetown lead for the MIECHV TA Center, HV-ImpACT and the early childhood lead for the TA Network serving federally funded system of care sites. Dr. Horen has helped to developed innumerable materials related to infant and early childhood mental health consultation including training guides, evaluation guides, monographs and he also continues to be active in providing mental health consultation as part of his clinical practice. He is the proud father of four children, 20, 19, 19 and 3.

Deborah Perry

Deborah Perry, PhD

Deborah F. Perry, PhD is the Director of Research and Evaluation and a professor at the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development. In this role, Dr. Perry provides leadership on a broad portfolio of applied research and rigorous program evaluations. Dr. Perry’s research focuses on approaches to designing and testing preventive interventions for low-income young children and their caregivers. An area of focus for her community-based research is the prevention of perinatal depression in high-risk women. Dr. Perry helped develop the evidence base for the effectiveness of early childhood mental health consultation, evaluating several statewide projects in the Washington DC region. She co-chairs the RAINE group—a think tank focused on mental health consultation policy, practice and research and is faculty for the Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation. She also serves as the external evaluator for several federally funded grants including: Washington DC’s Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program, and the SAMHSA-funded early childhood system of care grant in DC. Dr. Perry is the director of research for the Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance—a medical-legal partnership that seeks to reduce the effects of health-harming legal issues for vulnerable families in DC.

Sarah Davidon

Sarah Davidon, PhD

Dr. Sarah Davidon is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and received her doctorate from the University of Colorado School of Education and Human Development in educational equity. Since 1998 Sarah has lived and worked in Colorado, while also consulting nationally, providing technical assistance, delivering keynote addresses and presentations, and authoring publications, all designed to help organizations identify and commit to effective early childhood systems building and children's mental health policy and program investment. She serves as a nationally recognized expert in both early childhood and school-age mental health system design and strategy, working to improve how children’s mental health is understood and addressed.

Lisa Hepburn

Lisa Hepburn, MPH PhD

Dr. Lisa Hepburn brings with her over 20 years of research experience focused on health behavior and education and health policy, Dr. Hepburn utilizes a public health lens to designing and implementing evaluation strategies incorporating mixed-methods and theory-based approaches. For over 15 years, she served as a researcher at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center and Center for Youth Violence Prevention focused on evaluating policies related to firearm and interpersonal violence. Until recently, Dr. Hepburn was at the MedStar Research Institute, where she was responsible for designing and evaluating youth injury prevention and health education programs. Dr. Hepburn approaches evaluation with a stakeholder-first mindset and believes community participation enhances all levels of research.

Kadija Johnston

Kadija Johnston, LCSW

Kadija Johnston LCSW is a clinical social worker who has been a practitioner in the field of infant and early childhood mental health since 1985. She is the past Director of the Infant- Parent Program at the University of California, San Francisco where she pioneered an approach to IECMHC that serves as a model for other organizations, locally, nationally and internationally. Currently, Ms. Johnston is on faculty at Georgetown University’s Center for Child and Human Development contributing her expertise and experience in early childhood mental health consultation to the SAMHSA supported Center of Excellence in ECMH Consultation and the National Center for Health, Behavioral Health and Safety.

Lauren Rabinovitz

Lauren Rabinovitz, MPH, MSW, LCSW-C

Lauren Rabinovitz, MPH, MSW, LCSW-C is a Senior Policy Associate at the Georgetown Center for Child and Human Development, Early Childhood Division. Lauren is the Program Director for the SAMHSA funded Center of Excellence on Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation. Lauren brings a unique perspective to policy, research and technical assistance based on many years of clinical and community mental health provision. Lauren is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with specialized training and experience in Early Childhood Mental Health. Lauren’s passion is the intersection of early childhood and population health.

Jordyn Rand picture

Jordyn Rand

Jordyn Rand is a Project Researcher for the Georgetown University Center for Child & Human Development's SAMHSA-funded Center of Excellence on Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (CoE). She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wheaton College (IL) in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Her previous experience includes interning at the Medical Institute for Sexual Health in Dallas, TX; the Multicultural Peace and Justice Collaborative at Wheaton College (IL); and the NSF-funded Computational Social Science Research Experience for Undergraduates (CSSREU) at the University of Notre Dame's Center for Research Computing (CRC). She has also served as an AmeriCorps' Reading Partners Literacy Tutor, fostering young children's social-emotional and linguistic development in under-resourced schools. Jordyn is especially interested in supporting youth with language and learning difficulties in the education system through both clinical and macro-level approaches and is working towards her Certificate in Speech-Language Pathology (Expected December 2022).


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This product was developed [in part] under grant number 1H79SM082070-01 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.