Final Buffett Institute candidate to interview March 8-9

Harolyn Belcher
Harolyn Belcher

Harolyn Belcher, the fourth and final candidate for the position of founding executive director of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute, will visit the University of Nebraska March 8-9.

Belcher is associate professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and developmental pediatrician in the Department of Neurology and Developmental Medicine at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. She will attend open forums for faculty, staff, students and the public. The UNL session is 4 p.m., March 8 at the Van Brunt Visitors Center. A session at the University of Nebraska at Omaha is 3:30 p.m., March 9 in Roskens Hall, room 412.

The forums are followed by a reception.

Belcher is director of research at the Kennedy Krieger Institute's Family Center, a community-based mental health center that provides evidence-based mental health treatment focusing on children with a history of abuse, neglect and exposure to community and/or domestic violence. Belcher is currently leading several grant-funded research projects including a recently funded National Institutes of Health grant to conduct a cost comparison of evidence-based parent interventions for young children with emotional and behavior problems.

Belcher has collaborated on community-based initiatives to support recruitment and education of African American parents participating in church-based foster care for children with drug exposure and HIV infection in Tampa. While in Florida, Belcher was director of the Developmental Evaluation and Intervention program at the University of South Florida, which provided center- and home-based evaluation and treatment services for infants and young children who were treated in Neonatal Intensive Care Units and whose family incomes were at 250 percent of the poverty level or lower. The program expanded under her leadership and for her efforts, Belcher was given the “Friend of the Young Child” award of Hillsborough County.

Belcher also holds adjunct faculty appointments at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Howard University and Morgan State University.

The other finalists who have interviewed to be the Buffett Institute director are: Carla Peterson, Susan Landry and Ruby Takanishi.

The university invites feedback on any of the candidates at

The Buffett Institute will be a universitywide, multidisciplinary research, education, outreach and policy center that will seek to transform the approach to early childhood development and education in Nebraska and nationwide.

The primary focus of the institute will be on the learning and healthy development of children from birth to age 8, with special attention on children who are vulnerable because of poverty, abuse or development, learning or behavioral challenges.

— Melissa Lee, NU Central Administration