ERH Session 1

Session 1: Building Resilience and Equity through Early Relational Health: The Foundation of Early Relationships, Bio-behavioral Synchrony, and Dyadic Neurodevelopment

Presented by: Dr. David Willis, Senior Fellow at Center for the Study of Social Policy & Tasha Muhammad, Professional Development Coordinator at First3Years



Session 1 Q&A


About Dr. David Willis: Dr. Willis is a Senior Fellow with the Center for the Study of Social Policy, CSSP where he leads a national initiative to advance early relational health for child health and communities. A Boarded, Developmental-Behavioral pediatrician, Dr. Willis was a clinician in Oregon for more than 30 years with a practice focused on early childhood development and family therapy. Currently, he is the Co-Chair of the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Forum on Children’s Wellbeing and was the previous first Executive Director of the Perigee Fund, Seattle-based philanthropy. And from 2012-2018, he served as Director of the Division of Home Visiting and Early Childhood Services at the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Maternal Child Health Bureau, in Washington DC., and continues to be thought leader in home visiting and early childhood systems.


During his career, Dr. Willis also has been a Harris Mid-Career Fellow with childhood development nonprofit ZERO TO THREE; the past president of the Oregon Pediatric Society; an executive member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Early Education and Child Care; and chair of the AAP’s Board’s Early Brain & Child Development Strategic Initiative.   Dr. Willis has been a national lecturer, advisor to early childhood national policy, and visionary for the transformation of child health care in coordination with early childhood communities and focused on the advancement of early relational health and young children’s social-emotional and developmental wellbeing.


Yet, his greatest relational health achievement comes from the joy he and his wife share with his two married sons and their young families who have each blessed them with three grandchildren – LucyMae and Sam in Camas, WA, and Clara Sophia, in San Antonio, TX.




About Tasha Muhammad: Tasha joined First3Years in May 2018. She has worked with children and families for over 20 years through various capacities, including owning and operating a home-based daycare. In 2007, Tasha and her family relocated to Texas, where she attended the University of North Texas to receive her MEd in Community Counseling, with a specialization in Play Therapy. She completed her practicum and internship at Nexus Recovery Center’s Child Development Center, providing therapy for children and parenting education for the female residents.  Before joining our team, Tasha served as an Infant Mental Health Specialist with MHMR Tarrant County, where she provided developmental assessments, practical routine based strategies, and psychoeducation for parents with children with developmental delays.

As a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Play Therapist, Tasha’s expertise has been sought out to facilitate trainings that focus on subjects such as the impact of trauma on the brain, managing maladaptive behaviors, and building healthy relationships for organizations across the DFW area including Child Care Associates and previously by our very own First3Years. She is proficient in Child-Parent Relationship Therapy, Theraplay, and other restorative models used to enhance attachment, build strong families, and emotionally healthy children and adults. Tasha believes that “establishing a strong connection is one of the most important keys used to build happy and healthy relationships.”