Information For:

Give back to HGSE and support the next generation of passionate educators and innovative leaders.

Faculty & Research

Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D.

Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development
Director, Center on the Developing Child
Professor of Pediatrics, HMS and Boston Children's Hospital

Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D.

Degree:  M.D., New York University, (1972)
Email:  [javascript protected email address]
Phone:  617.496.1224
Fax:  617.496.1229
Office:  50 Church Street 4th Floor
Office Hours Contact:  Email the Faculty Member


Jack Shonkoff, M.D., is the Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Graduate School of Education; professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital; and director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. He currently serves as chair of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, a group whose mission is to bring credible science to bear on public policy affecting young children, and chairs the JPB Research Network on Toxic Stress. In 2011, Shonkoff launched Frontiers of Innovation, a multi-sectoral collaboration among researchers, practitioners, policymakers, investors, and experts in systems change who are committed to developing more effective intervention strategies to catalyze breakthrough impacts on the development and health of young children and families experiencing significant adversity.

Under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, Shonkoff served as chair of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families and the committee that produced the landmark report, From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development. He also served as a member of the Panel on Child Care Policy, the Committee on the Assessment of Family Violence Interventions, and the Roundtable on Head Start Research.

Shonkoff's honors include being elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Pediatric Society; being designated National Associate of the National Academies; and receiving the C. Anderson Aldrich Award in Child Development from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Public Policy for Children from the Society for Research in Child Development.

Shonkoff has served on the core scientific group of the MacArthur Research Network on Early Experience and Brain Development, the Governing Council of the Society for Research in Child Development, and the Executive Committee of the Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has authored more than 150 publications, including nine books; co-edited two editions of the Handbook of Early Childhood Intervention; and served on the editorial board of several scholarly journals, including Child Development.

Shonkoff completed his undergraduate studies at Cornell, medical education at NYU School of Medicine, pediatric training at Bronx Municipal Hospital Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and fellowship in developmental pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital. He has been a visiting professor or delivered named lectureships at universities in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Turkey, and the U.K. He was the Samuel F. and Rose B. Gingold Professor of Human Development and Social Policy and dean of The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

Click here to see a full list of Jack Shonkoff’s courses.

Sponsored Projects


Communicating and Applying Science for Policy and Practice (2020-2021)
Alliance for Early Success

The Center’s top priority for FY 2021 is to shift mindsets about early childhood investment in a postpandemic world to an understanding that investing in early childhood is investing in lifelong health as well as early learning. Drawing on the rapidly growing science of adversity and resilience—including continuing advances in brain research—this conversation can inform more effective strategies forpreventing the physiological disruptions that lead to problems in early learning, social-emotional development, and both physical and mental health. To do this, we will create, disseminate, and promote new communication products and strategies, including presentations, media, and policy briefings, all fed by the content in our recently released Working Paper 15: Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body,as well as partner with a range of organizations with access to key target audiences. Discussions are scheduled with NGA, NCSL, and others.


Leveraging Advances in Science and New Metrics to Achieve Greater Impact at Scale for Children Facing Adversity (2020-2022)
Genentech, Inc.



Tikun Olam 2020 (2020-2021)
Tikun Olam Foundation

Central to the Center on the Developing Child’s impact in the early childhood ecosystem is our signature ability to synthesize, translate, and communicate the science of early childhood development and its underlying neurobiology to shift mindsets around early childhood policy, practice, and caregiving. Our long-standing, substantial investment in knowledge translation and public engagement represents a major characteristic that distinguishes the Center on the Developing Child from other university-based centers in our service as the backbone science resource for the early childhood field. Our objective is to leverage our unique “science engine”—comprised of expertise in knowledge translation, intervention development and testing, and new measurement—along with other Harvard-based assets, to promote greater impact at scale by changing the way the field understands and approaches program and policy design, implementation,and iteration in support of child and family outcomes in a complex “sector” that extends well beyond early education settings. With these goals in mind, the Center employs an integrated, two-part strategy that includes: (1) mobilizing its capacities to develop and propagate field-building tools and services to strengthen and expand the capacity of others to drive science-based innovation; and (2) applying those tools ourselves in a focused way to model what a transformed ecosystem could look like, with pediatric primary care and new measurement capacity at its core.


Continuing the Djokovic Science and Innovation Fellowship Program (2019-2021)
Novak Djokovic Foundation

The aim of the Djokovic Science and Innovation Fellowship is to develop this next generation of academic change agents who will both contribute to advances in science and leverage those advances to inform, inspire, and mobilize key actors in the field of early childhood towards new solutions that yield breakthrough outcomes for children facing adversity. As such, Djokovic Fellows will receive rigorous training in translational research, framing and communications, and science-based innovation. In addition, the Djokovic Fellows will be able to draw on the Center on the Developing Child's many resources to deepen their own scholarly interests and advance their scholarly pursuits. While the program experience will be tailored to each Fellow's research interests and professional development it will universally include:1. Learning about the Center's IDEAS Impact Framework (IDEAS)2. Learning about the Center's knowledge synthesis, translation, and communications work and strategies3. Learning about the Center's approach to science-based innovation in policy and practice systems

News Stories