First 1,000 Days Symposium

The First 1,000 Days Symposium was held Sept 4-5, 2018 at the iHotel and Conference Center in Champaign, IL. The event was hosted by the Family Resiliency Center, in partnership with the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute, and then ACES Office for Research.

The symposium focused on the first 1,000 days of life - the time spanning roughly between conception and a child’s second birthday - is a unique period of opportunity when the foundations of optimum health, growth, and neurodevelopment across the lifespan are established. Environmental exposures, including nutrition, stress, and environmental toxins, can interact with the child’s genetics during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life to have lifelong implications on their physical, mental and emotional health. The event highlighted the basic and applied transdisciplinary research being conducted at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign that is addressing this critical window of development using a cells-to-society framework.

View presentations from the event below.

The Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute Health Ideas Inaugural Address

Rafael Pérez-Escamilla hD, Dr. Honoris Causa, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale School of Public Health



Welcome from Dr. Barbara Fiese, Director, Family Resiliency Center



Session 1:  Cellular and Biological Influences in the First 1000 Days  


Dr. Sue Schantz | “Through the Window of a Baby’s Eyes: Impact of prenatal factors on early cognitive development


Dr. Sharon Donovan | “STRONG Kids: A cell-to-community approach to health in the first 1,000 days


Dr. Naiman Khan |  “Health Behaviors, Adiposity, and Childhood Cognitive Function


Session 2:  Family, Childcare, and Community Level Influences​ 

Dr. Brent McBride | “Childcare as a Risk Factor for Early Childhood Obesity


Dr. Barbara Fiese | “First Relationships: Family factors associated with health in the first 1,000 days


Dr. Marian Fitzgibbon | “The Influences and Impact of Community-Level Interventions with Minority Preschool Children”


Session 3:  Dissemination to Policy and Practice

Craig Gundersen | “The Critical Importance of SNAP for the First 1,000 Days in the United States” 


Dr. Karen Tabb Dina | “Partnerships to Address Perinatal Mental Health Disparities”


Julianna Sellett, DNP, MBA, RN delivering “Reducing Disparity: Improving community health through cross-sector partnerships”


Closing Remarks from Dr. Sharon Donovan




First 1,000 Days Symposium Agenda - Downloadable PDF


Speaker and Panelist Information


Additional Information:


SEPT. 4, 2018 

I-Hotel Chancellor's Ballroom

3:30 p.m.                         Registration Opens

4:00 p.m.                         Welcome
                                         Neal Cohen, PhD
                                         Director, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute

4:15 p.m.                         The Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute Health Ideas Inaugural Address:

                                        “The First 1000 Days: The Foundation for Health and Brain Development”

                                        Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, PhD, Dr. Honoris Causa
                                        Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health
                                        Yale School of Public Health

5:15p.m.- 6:45p.m.         Poster Session and Reception

SEPT. 5, 2018

I-Hotel Chancellor's Ballroom

8:00 a.m.                      Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m.                      Welcome and Overview Barbara Fiese, PhD Professor and Director, Family Resiliency Center

8:45 a.m.                      Cellular and Biological Influences in the First 1000 Days

                                      Sue Schantz, PhD 

                                      Sharon Donovan, PhD, RD | Margarita Teran-Garcia, PhD, MD 

                                      Naiman Khan, PhD, RD

                                     Session Moderator/Panelist: 

                                     Yuan-Xiang Pan, PhD

10:15 a.m.                   Coffee Break

10:30 a.m.                   Family, Childcare, and Community Level Influences

                                     Brent McBride, PhD

                                     Barbara Fiese, PhD

                                     Marian Fitzgibbon, PhD

                                     Session Moderator/Panelists: 

                                     Monika Stodolska, PhD

                                     Kelly Bost, PhD

12:00-1:30 p.m.           Lunch

1:30 p.m.                     Dissemination to Policy and Practice

                                    Craig Gundersen, PhD

                                    Karen Tabb Dina, PhD

                                    Jonathan Woods, MSN, RN, NE-BC

                                    Julianna Sellett, DNP, MBA, RN, CPHQ, CENP

                                   Session Moderator/Panelists: 

                                   Sessy Nyman

                                   Brandon Meline

3:00 p.m.                    Summary and Wrap Up

                                  Sharon Donovan, PhD, RD

3:30-5:00 p.m.          Community Engagement Showcase


No CEU credits were offered at this Symposium.


Jennifer Themanson

Phone: 217-244-5119