Virginia Rauh, ScD, Professor and Co-Director of the CHILD Initiative has been a member of Columbia's faculty since 1984 and is Deputy Director of the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health. Her postdoctoral work in psychiatric epidemiology was supported by NIMH and a career development award from NICHD. Her work focuses on the adverse impact of exposure to air pollutants, including second hand smoke and pesticides on pregnancy and child health, and the susceptibility of individuals and disadvantaged populations to environmental hazards. Dr. Rauh is a perinatal epidemiologist by training, whose expertise is in the area of low birth weight and preterm delivery, particularly with respect to socioeconomically disadvantaged and minority populations. She has been principal investigator on numerous major research projects, including studies of the impact of organophosphorus insecticides and secondhand smoke on child neurodevelopment and brain abnormalities (MRI, fMRI), a randomized intervention trial for low birth weight infants, a multi-site study of lifestyles in pregnancy, a study of developmental outcomes of children born to inner-city adolescent mothers, a multi-level analysis of the impact of Head Start on New York City school children, a study of the effects of ambient air pollutants on pregnant women and their children, and a study of links between race, stressors, and preterm birth. She has worked with other Columbia faculty to study the effects of the World Trade Center disaster on pregnant women and newborns. Dr. Rauh serves on numerous national committees, including advisory groups at NIEHS, NICHD, and the Scientific Advisory Board for the Environmental Protection Agency.


Helena Duch, PsyD, is a bilingual child and school psychologist with over 10 years of experience designing programs, providing services and conducting research in Head Start programs. Her research focuses on early childhood determinants of health and the evaluation of parent, and classroom-based interventions that address developmental and health disparities, primarily in Latino children. Dr. Duch holds a Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Teacher’s College - Columbia University and a doctorate in Child/School Psychology from New York University. She is Assistant Professor in Population and Family Health at CUMC, Mailman School of Public Health.


Cassie Landers  Cassie Landers, EdD, has worked with UNICEF and other international agencies to promote policies and programs in support of young children and their families since 1985. Over the past 20 years, she has provided technical assistance and support to child development programs in over 60 countries throughout Southern Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. She has extensive experience in the design, implementation, and training of practitioners at all levels, developing global interventions ranging from parenting education to developmental pediatrics. Dr. Landers has participated in rapid assessment missions in areas of conflict including Liberia, East Timor, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Romania and has designed interventions for children in conflict and post conflict situations. An early literacy initiative in collaboration with Head Start National Literacy Center brings her international expertise to young children and families throughout the US.

Lindsay StarkLindsay Stark, DrPH, is an Associate Professor in Columbia University's Program on Forced Migration and Health. She has over a decade of experience leading applied research on protection of women and children in humanitarian settings. Dr. Stark's particular area of expertise is measuring sensitive and difficult-to-measure social phenomenon. Dr. Stark has led assessment and evaluation projects in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. She has also helped pioneer the development of new methodologies such as the Neighborhood Method to assess incidence of human rights violations, a Participatory Ranking Method that has been included in a World Health Organization assessment toolkit, and the Child Protection Rapid Assessment in Emergencies Toolkit developed by the global Child Protection Working Group. Dr. Stark is the author of multiple publications on the rehabilitation and resiliency of former child soldiers and survivors of sexual violence, and previously served as the Director of Research and Curriculum at the Center on Child Protection, a teaching and research center jointly established by Columbia University, the University of Indonesia, UNICEF and the Government of Indonesia. Dr. Stark currently serves as Principal Investigator and Executive Director of the Child Protection in Crisis (CPC) Learning Network, a consortium of agencies and academic institutions that work together on global learning associated with children in disaster and war settings.

mark canaveraMark Canavera, MA, MPP, is the Associate Director of the CPC Learning Network, an entity housed at the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health which convenes academics, policymakers, and practitioners to promote innovative research, nurture communities of learning, and build the next generation of researchers and advocates for children and families worldwide.  In this role, he coordinates research and advocacy efforts on children’s protection, care, health, and development; he serves as the co-chair of the Building the Evidence Interest Group of the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance and the Task Force on Systems Strengthening and Disaster Risk Reduction for the global Child Protection Working Group.  His current research focuses on effective means to strengthen the global social service workforce in low- and middle-income countries as well as efforts to strengthen national child protection systems through emergency response efforts.  Mark came to the CPC Learning Network after many years working as a humanitarian aid and development worker in West Africa. He also launched and served as the founding coordinator of the Community Child Protection Exchange, an online initiative to improve the level of knowledge and understanding around community-based child protection mechanisms and national child protection systems.  He has worked in over 20 countries with a variety of agencies, including Save the Children, UNHCR, Oxfam, Terre des hommes, AVSI, and Child Frontiers.  His work has spanned former child soldier reintegration in northern Uganda, small arms control in Senegal, girls’ education promotion in Burkina Faso, and child welfare system reform in Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Benin, and Cameroon. He holds Master’s degrees in Peace Studies from Notre Dame and Public Policy from Harvard.