Select Page

Work Groups

Dr. Ann Kaiser

Work Group 1 Lead, Vanderbilt

Work group 1 – Interventions Aimed at Parents

This group, led by Dr. Ann Kaiser, is investigating issues around the content of interventions for improving the quality and quantity of caregiver language. The work group will carry out research syntheses to identify features promoting interventions’ short- and long-term effectiveness and factors that support their sustainability.

Work group 2 – Interventions for Non-parent Caregivers and Child Care

This group, led by Dr. Dale Walker (University of Kansas), is investigating how parent-designed interventions can be adapted for non-parental caregivers. The work group is conducting a research synthesis to identify the most effective ways to improve quality and quantity of caregiver language as well as the high fidelity implementation of language intervention practices by caregivers (information dissemination, awareness training sessions, coaching/mentoring).

Dr. Dale Walker

Co-PI and Work Group 2 Lead, University of Kansas

Dr. Jennifer Stapel-Wax

Work Group 3 Co-lead, Emory University

Dr. Ashley Darcy Mahoney

Work Group 3 Co-lead, George Washington University


Work group 3 – Pediatric and Public Health Care Setting Interventions

This group, co-led by Jennifer Stapel-Wax (Emory University) and Ashley Darcy- Mahoney (George Washington University), is investigating how pediatric and public health care setting interventions can be used to bridge the word gap.

Work group 4 – Population- and Community-level Interventions

This group, co-led by Drs. Scott McConnell (University of Minnesota) and Anne Larson (Utah State University), is investigating the state of knowledge of large-scale interventions (e.g., public awareness/messaging interventions) and effectiveness raising awareness of parents and non-parental caregivers about the importance of talking to their young children. The scope includes effectiveness of other health promotion campaigns in general and more specifically messaging known to be successful changing parents’ behavior (such as Back to Sleep, Providence Talks and the Thirty Million Words Initiative) and other health care contexts (e.g., well-baby checks), neighborhood organizations, and community groups. The group is reviewing emerging and existing initiatives in cities and counties, and research literature on factors that promote appropriate policy innovations and leverage the political and programmatic capital of these large jurisdictions, including ways programs or community agencies have been mobilized and educated to reduce the word gap.

Dr. Scott McConnell

Work Group 6 Co-lead, University of Minnesota

Dr. Anne Larson

Work Group 6 Co-lead, Utah State University

Dr. Carol Scheffner Hammer

Work Group 5 Co-lead, Columbia University


Work group 5 – Interventions for Promoting Language Outcomes in Children Who are Dual Language Learners

This group, is led by Dr. Carol Hammer (Temple University), is investigating how interventions can be tailored to meet the needs of Dual Language Learners. Of particular interest is how English-speaking non-parental caregivers promote the language development of their Dual Language Learning children.

Work group 6 – Contextual Factors Affecting Implementation of Language-promoting Interventions

This group, co-led by Drs. Judith Carta (University of Kansas) and Megan Bair-Merritt (Boston Medical Center- Pediatrics), is investigating issues related to contextual factors that may affect an intervention’s implementation fidelity and impact, such as families’ culture and native language. The group is focused on risk factors (e.g., depression, poverty, stress, violence) that can adversely affect caregivers’ engagement and best ways to promote the engagement of caregivers living in of multiple risk circumstances, including the digital divide, toxic stress exposure, parental executive functioning skills.

Dr. Judith Carta

PI and Work Group 4 Co-lead, University of Kansas

Dr. Megan Bair-Merritt

Work Group 4 Co-lead, Boston University

Dr. Charles Greenwood

Co-PI and Work Group 7 Co-lead, University of Kansas

Dr. Howard Goldstein

Work Group 7 Co-lead, University of South Florida


Work group 7 – Analytic Methods, Designs and Measurement Approaches

This group, co-led by Drs. Charles Greenwood (University of Kansas) and Howard Goldstein (University of South Florida), is reviewing the methodologies available for conducting research on language interventions carried out at the individual, community, and population levels. Because of the need to demonstrate measurable outcomes, this group’s focus is on measures that have been used effectively to examine how parents and other caregivers change their language interactions with their young children, how children’s vocabulary and language develops over time, and how these skills are predictive of children’s later academic performance. Because of the need to make dependable inferences from diverse sources of evidence, this group’s focus also is on the statistical and research design methods available for use in rigorous research studies. Because of the demands for research at large scale, this group is focusing on efficient, friendly, and reliable computer and information system tools (i.e., software, hardware, websites, and data warehouses) that can provide a common platform for supporting implementation and research at higher levels of scale.