Dana Suskind

Co-Director, TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health and Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, University of Chicago

Dana Suskind, MD is Co-Director of the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health at the University of Chicago, Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics and Director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program. Her clinical work focuses on pediatric cochlear implantation and her research focuses on optimizing children’s foundational brain development and preventing early cognitive disparities and their lifelong impact. She is the author of the book, Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain and of a forthcoming book, Parent Nation, which empowers parents to use developmental neuroscience to build a society that works for families, not against them.

At TMW Center, she and her team develop evidence-based interventions that enable parents, caregivers, practitioners, and researchers to harness the power of language interactions to address early cognitive disparities at their onset. Specifically, Dr. Suskind’s research asks: How do we optimize adult-child interactions to impact foundational brain development and positively affect educational disparities in preschool children, particularly among low socioeconomic (SES) households? Dr. Suskind and team have developed and tested a suite of evidence-based behavioral interventions that have reached over 5000 families in Chicago and beyond.

Her research includes over 35 peer-reviewed journals and 150 national and international speaking engagements. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Crain’s Chicago Business, National Public Radio, and other national media outlets. For her work in advancing a public health approach to foundational brain development, she was awarded the Weizmann Women for Science Vision and Impact award in 2017, the SENTAC Gray Humanitarian award in 2016, and the LENA Research Foundation Making a Difference award in 2015. She also serves as a member on the Advisory Council of Too Small to Fail.

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