Celebrating 20 Years with Friends, Supporters, and Champions

You may have heard our news this year: We’re turning 20! For the past two decades, we’ve provided policy-relevant research from the frontlines of pediatric care to improve the health of young children and their families by addressing and alleviating economic hardships. But we haven’t done this work alone. Every step of the way, our work has been supported by individuals and foundations generously funding our work, enhanced by policy and research partners working alongside us, and operationalized by passionate champions in Congress, state legislatures, city halls, and health systems. We are reminded of how much we value our partners and champions in tumultuous times like these when economic supports like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are at risk of cuts that would push millions of people into deeper poverty and immigrant families are continually targeted. We will continue to work in coalition, helping to provide a foundation of evidence to guide better policy decisions.

So when we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we not only plan to highlight our work over the years, but to also lift up the individuals and organizations without whom this work would not be possible. This year, we will present Congressman Jim McGovern from the 2nd District of Massachusetts with the inaugural Children’s HealthWatch Champion Award, presented to a champion who advocates for evidence-based policies that help children thrive. We selected Congressman McGovern to receive this award because of his tireless commitment to ending hunger and helping children thrive in the United States by promoting policies driven by data. In addition to making countless speeches on the House floor on the urgency of ending hunger, often citing Children’s HealthWatch research, Congressman McGovern has worked with his colleagues to advance policies that enhance the health and well-being of our nation’s children, families, and communities. For example, Congressman McGovern is the founder and co-chair of the bi-partisan Hunger Caucus which advocates for funding programs that help families with children, seniors, and people with disabilities put food on the table when times are tough.

In addition to honoring Congressman McGovern, we will also celebrate the visionary leadership of our founders and engage in a discussion that reflects on our history and envisions our future. We’ll kick off the evening with a panel on “Advancing policies for young children: Twenty years of connecting research to action.” On the panel, Children’s HealthWatch founders will discuss our history and work as they connect to current issues affecting the well-being of families with children in the context of today’s policy environment. They will also be joined by a member of our sister organization, Witnesses to Hunger, who add the critically important perspective of lived experience, and Congressman McGovern who can provide us with a deeper understanding of the current atmosphere in Washington, DC and what we can do. Later in the evening, we will honor some of the founding members of Children’s HealthWatch who dedicated their careers to not just treating children in their clinics, but also seeking upstream solutions that give children opportunities to thrive: Dr. Deborah A. Frank, our visionary founder, and Drs. Patrick Casey of Little Rock, AR and Alan Meyers of Boston, MA, two of the accomplished and committed pediatricians who helped to launch Children’s HealthWatch and have recently retired.

In celebrating our history, we hope that our gratitude for those who have supported, enhanced, and amplified our work over the years shines through. We look forward to a special evening with friends and supporters, both new and old, where we will enjoy a program emceed by former television anchor and now minister, Rev. Liz Walker, and a concert by the Boston Children’s Chorus, who will perform in an exact replica of the Senate chamber at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute.

As we reflect on our last 20 years and envision the next 20 years, we are eternally gratefully for the dedication of our supporters, champions, and partners. Thank you. We’re in this together – on September 29th we’ll be celebrating all of us working together to make our country a more equitable place to live.