Season 1: Episode 4

Emily Morehead, LPC, and Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD talk about how reframing early childhood experiences helps wire the child's brain so they become capable and successful. Connection is what matters. Parents are an important influence on their child and are capable of being a good quality influence on their child's development and outcome.

We are striving to make an impact in our world through creating conversations about topics that are important to you and yours.


Our Guest:

Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD is a pediatrician working in the public interest. He blends the roles of physician, occasional children's librarian, educator, public health professional and child health advocate. With graduate degrees in public health, children’s librarianship, physician assistant studies, and medicine, he brings a unique combination of interests and experience together.

An associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, he has practiced primary care pediatrics in a variety of settings with special interest in underserved populations. With a graduate degree in children’s librarianship, he has the right skill set to be the founding medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin and the founder and director of the Pediatric Early Literacy Projects at the University of Wisconsin. With respect to education, Dr Navsaria is heavily involved in advocacy training for and is frequently involved in medical student and physician assistant education from the clinical arena through myriad small group and lecture formats. He serves as the medical director of the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s physician assistant program, and is also the director of the MD–MPH program.

Reframing Early Childhood ExperiencesDr Navsaria works with the American Academy of Pediatrics on a state level, serving as the current vice-president of the Wisconsin Chapter. He also has served nationally on a number of committees, including being the founding co-chair of the Early Literacy Subcommittee of the Council on Early Childhood. He regularly writes op-eds on health-related topics, does radio and television interviews, and frequently speaks locally, regionally and nationally on early brain and child development, early literacy, and advocacy to a broad variety of audiences. He also has a modest professional presence on social media.

Born in London, England and raised in New York City, Dr Navsaria attended the Bronx High School of Science. His undergraduate education was at Boston University, majoring in Biology and English Literature. He completed a Master’s in Public Health at Boston University and Physician Assistant training at The George Washington University in the District of Columbia. He practiced as a pediatric physician assistant in East Central Illinois before attending medical school at the University of Illinois in Urbana. During his time there, he also completed a master’s degree in library and information science at the University of Illinois, focusing on children’s librarianship. He then completed his residency in pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics.

Dr Navsaria also does some work in the common-sense, intelligent application of technology to practical projects and situations. As a devoted user of Apple hardware for over twenty years, Dr Navsaria also cares deeply about visual presentation and typography — information should be clear and beautiful in how it is passed on.

Committed to understanding how basic science can translate into busy primary-care settings via population health concepts and policy initiatives, Dr Navsaria aims to educate the next generation of those who work with children and families in realizing how their professional roles include being involved in larger concepts of social policy and how they may affect the cognitive and socioemotional development of children for their future benefit.

He lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his family. He has a lovely, supportive wife and two children.They not only put up with his sense of humor, they encourage it! Well, at least his wife does — his teenage children now just roll their eyes.

Show Notes:

In this episode, we talked about:

  • The importance of reading to our children
    • Magic happens when a book is open between a child and parent.
    • The Reach Out and Read program incorporates books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.
  • Brain wiring
    • With basic needs of the child met, the child's brain is wiring to help them become capable and successful.
    • For adoptive parents of older children, we can take hope that brains are plastic and are continually growing.
    • Surround yourself with a support group and experts in their field in order to rewire the brain.
  • Prenatal exposure to alcohol
    • Not all substances are the same. 
    • There is not such a social stigma of alcohol use as there is drugs. Alcohol affects are so variable that there is more concern on whether the mother drinks during pregnancy than if she takes drugs. Neither, of course, is recommended.
    • As an adoptive parent, you can't undue prenatal exposure; however, you can deal with the issue that's before you now and start moving forward.
  • Everything in life is a balance
    • No parent is superhuman.
    • Connection is what matters.
  • Face-to-face play and reading
    • Eyes, touches, looking where point is affirming for your child.
    • Short moments of high quality interaction are better than long periods of low quality interaction.
  • Technology and parenting
    • There is zero evidence for any benefit of any kind of digital media for any child under the age 3.
    • E-reader devices offer distractions that detract from the purpose of an actual paper book which is connect parent and child.

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