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Who We Are

girl patient with doctor

Building Early Connections is a multi-disciplinary team of psychologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, social workers and researchers at Rush University Medical Center. Our shared goal is to increase access to early behavioral and developmental health care for our youngest community members, and create substantially greater impacts on the learning capacity, emotional health and social connectivity of young children on the West Side of Chicago.

What We Do

girl with headphones working on computer with adult

Building Early Connections (BEC) seeks to improve systems of care within Rush and the larger West Side community for the most common social-emotional, behavioral and developmental concerns in children 8 years old and younger. Through coordinated screening, intervention, consultation and promotion, BEC intends to shift practices from “wait and see” to engaged solutions for early childhood concerns. By deploying evidence-based interventions, community-based trainings, and early childhood promotional strategies, BEC plans to empower parents to be agents of change in their children’s developmental trajectories.

Why is it important to “Build Early Connections”?

parent with child talking to doctor

Roughly one quarter to one third of children in West Side communities show signs of social-emotional, developmental, or behavioral concerns. Parents on the West Side report that mental health services are a top priority for their children, yet the majority of West Side neighborhoods are considered to have very low access to early childhood screening. Our focus on young children capitalizes on data showing the profound and lasting effects of early interventions during this period of rapid neuroplasticity.