Leadership | Yale Faculty

Director Formative Childhood and Peace Building Initiative at Yale University

James F. Leckman, MD, PhD is the Neison Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Psychiatry, Psychology and Pediatrics at Yale. Dr. Leckman is a well known child psychiatrist and patient-oriented clinical investigator. For more than 20 years he served as the Director of Research for the Yale Child Study Center.

A major focus of Dr. Leckman's has been on parenting and the role of the bio-behavioral systems that closely interconnect our affiliative and stress response bio-behavioral systems. Most recently, in partnership with colleagues at UNICEF and the Mother-Child Education Foundation (AÇEV) based in Turkey, Dr. Leckman has begun to explore the question whether strengthening families and enhancing child development is a path to peace and violence prevention. 

In October 2013, he chaired with Rima Salah and Catherine Panter-Brick the 15th Ernst Strüngmann Forum in Frankfurt, Germany. More than 40 international scholars across diverse fields—from child development to neuroscience and cultural anthropology explored the relevance of early child development to the pursuit of peace. Their deliberations highlighting directions for future research, and proposing novel approaches to translate knowledge into concrete action are summarized in pioneering volume entitled, Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families, published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press in 2014. 

Dr. Leckman is a founding member of the Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC) that was launched in September 2013 in New York at the United Nations Headquarters. He currently serves as member of newly formed ECPC Executive and Steering Committees.


Other Faculty Members at Yale Leading this Effort (in alphabetical order)

Pia Rebello Britto, PhD, is Assistant Professor Adjunct in the Child Study Center and Chief of the early childhood development (ECD) unit at UNICEF. She is known internationally for her work in the areas of early childhood policy and programs in over 50 low and middle income countries. Her main activities have involved: developing integrated systems and policies for early childhood; the role of governance and finance of national systems in achieving equity, access and quality; innovative approaches to school readiness; understanding issues of identity development of Muslim and Arab children; and the examination of the relationship between early childhood and peace building. She is co-editor of the pioneering Handbook of Early Child Development Research and its Impact on Global Policy at Oxford Press. 

Dr. Britto is a founding member of the Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC) that was launched in September 2013 in New York at the United Nations Headquarters. She currently serves as member of newly formed ECPC Executive and Steering Committees.


Kaveh Khoshnood, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Yale School of Public Health and core faculty member of the Yale Council on Middle East Studies. His course entitled: "Responding to Violent Conflict: Epidemiological Methods & Public Health interventions” focuses on how epidemiological methods are applied to understand specific health consequences of violent conflicts, including infectious diseases, mental health, maternal/child health, and chronic health problems. He is an investigator on our current project in Lebanon, a parenting intervention with Palestinian refugees

Dr. Khoshnood serves as advisor for Yale UNICEF, a member group of the United Nations International Children’s Fund Campus Initiative that aims to raise awareness about children’s issues, and the Global Health Studies Program at Yale College.


Catherine Panter-Brick, PhD, Professor of Anthropology, Health, and Global Affairs, is known for her research that consists of critical analyses of health and well-being across key stages of human development, giving special attention to the impact of poverty, disease, malnutrition, armed conflict, and social marginalization. She leads the MacMillan Center's program on Conflict, Resilience and Health and has directed large interdisciplinary projects having focus on children in global adversity, including biocultural research with street children, refugees, and war-affected adolescents. 

She has published widely on child and adolescent health, including articles on violence and mental health as well as edited books to bridge research into practice, including the pioneering volume at MIT Press, Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families.


Angelica Ponguta, PhD, MPH, is Associate Research Scientist in the Child Study Center, and recent recipient of the Jacobs Foundation Fellowship, a global program for research on child and youth development. She has over the course of the past three years become a leader in global early child development at Yale. Dr. Ponguta is currently leading two major Yale-based randomized clinical trials in Lebanon, a parenting intervention with Palestinian refugees, and in Pakistan that focuses on early childhood development (ECD) programming engaging youth. She serves as a research advisor for several early child development projects in Colombia, the country of her birth. 

Dr. Ponguta leads the design of a global communications and community-building strategy to create a community of learners around early childhood development and peace building, in partnership with the Fetzer Institute, UNICEF and the Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC).


Kyle D. Pruett, MD, Clinical Professor in the Child Study Center, is an international expert and forensic consultant on child, parental and family development, paternal involvement, children’s mental health, creativity and the effects of trauma, media and divorce on young and very young children. His expertise has been featured in major publications including The New York Times and Huffington Post and has appeared as a guest on Good Morning America, Oprah, CBS This Morning, and National Public Radio. He serves on the PBS National Advisory Board, the Board of Directors of Sesame Workshop, and of the Performing Arts Medicine Board of Directors.

He is former president of Zero to Three: The National Center for Infants, Toddlers and their Families, and is award-winning clinician, author and researcher. His writings include the classic Nurturing Father, Me, Myself and I: The Child’s Sense of Self, and Partnership Parenting: How Men and Women Parent Differently.

Dr. Pruett is a founding member of the Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC) that was launched in September 2013 in New York at the United Nations Headquarters. His contributions to the ECPC and this initiative include a focus on family strengthening by Supporting Father Involvement, an evidenced-based prevention study for California’s Department of Social Service, Office of Child Abuse Prevention, of which he is co-investigator.


Rima Salah, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor in the Child Study Center, is a member of the U.N. Secretary General’s High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations. She has had a distinguished career with UNICEF over a period of twenty-one years, having held senior positions in Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Vietnam, and Chad. She completed her career with UNICEF as Deputy Executive Director in New York. 

Dr. Salah is newly elected Chair of the Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC) of which she is a founding member. The ECPC, launched in September 2013, serves to bring together global leaders in effective practice, new and emerging knowledge, finance, media, philanthropy and international policy to create a legacy of sustained peace, drawing on the transformative power of early childhood development (ECD). She is co-editor of the volume at MIT Press, Pathways to Peace: The Transformative Power of Children and Families.

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Yale University (Photo Star Ruotolo)