Early Experiences Elevate Everything: Early Brain and Child Development and the Future of Society

March 7, 2018

Hi WN@TL Fans,

Geographers and cartographers divide the world into northern hemisphere and southern.  The dividing line is the unseen equator.Brains are among the few other objects with hemispheres, left and right.  The dividing line is a clear cleft right down the middle.

This coming week is Brain Awareness Week.  It is a stroke of self-awareness. Too bad Aristotle isn’t around to benefit:  he thought the brain was a cooling organ.  Yet how long have humans known that the seat of consciousness and personality is nearly all in our head?

The brain, and especially the human brain, is a world unto itself.  It is the world through which scientists know Earth and probe for other worlds beyond our sun and back of beyond our solar system.

Each newborn’s brain is also the organ through which the baby comes to encounter their world, and with which the child creates and tests ideas about their world.

Tonight (March 7) our speaker is Dipesh Navsaria, a pediatrician with the School of Medicine & Public Health.  Last month he was inducted as a Fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.

His talk is entitled, “Early Experiences Elevate Everything: Early Brain and Child Development and the Future of Society.”  Here’s how he describes it:

“In his talk, Dipesh Navsaria will discuss the critical importance of the first 1,000 days of life and the key role that human relationships and interactions play during that period. He will review the concepts of toxic stress and how early adversity leads to lifelong issues, offering examples and a discussion of research that highlights these areas. Navsaria will also examine broad policy and programmatic principles that may help to address these issues, providing a framework for those who work with children and families.”

About the Speaker

Navsaria is a pediatrician working in the public interest, deftly blending 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 rare combination of interest and experiences together.

In addition to serving as an associate professor of pediatrics in UW–Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health, Navsaria directs its MD–MPH program and is the medical director of its physician-assistant program. Clinically, he practices primary-care pediatrics, with a special interest in underserved populations. He is the founding medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin and is heavily involved in both the training and practice components of child-health advocacy. He also has extensive involvement with the American Academy of Pediatrics at the state and national levels.


Next week we go back to the future as Walt Schalick speaks on “Drugs, Books and Patients: Marketing Medieval Medicine.”I’m not expecting a De Lorean, but I think anyone who lives in a university town with a large hospital or two also lives in the afterglow of 13th Century.

Hope to see you soon at Wednesday Nite @ The Lab!

Thanks again,

Tom Zinnen
UW-Madison and UW-Extension