Member Chat: The Value of Endorsement
An interview with First3Years member and endorsee, Lee Johnson III, M.A., CHES, IMH-E®. Lee is a Doctoral Student and Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Alabama.
How did you hear about First3Years?
I first learned of First3Years after being informed by the Director of Child Development Resources at the University of Alabama, Dr. April Kendrick, about increasing awareness around infant and early childhood mental health. After speaking with Dr. Kendrick about early childhood mental health, the conversation prompted me to do a website search and I stumbled across First3Years. I was eager about learning additional information since I was in the process of coming to Texas to work with children dealing with homelessness.
What is your profession/title?
I am a Early Childhood Educator and Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), often-coined Health Educator.
What made you decide to pursue your Endorsement?
Upon my arrival in Texas I was made known that Isabel Tanco, the project coordinator for First3Years, would be visiting the preschool where I worked. It was her presentation, passion, and knowledge about the Endorsement that prompted me to apply. I learned quickly from her presentation that the Endorsement further recognizes the work I have done in the infant-family field and presents to other professionals my commitment to culturally sensitive, relationship-focused practice promoting infant mental health.
Did you feel that the Endorsement process was affirming of your knowledge and skills in the infant-family field?
Yes, I certainly feel that the Endorsement process was affirming of my knowledge and skills in the infant-family field. I’ve done work previously with young children on the autism spectrum. The Endorsement process allowed me to highlight that experience furthering the affirmation of my infant-family knowledge and skills.
Now that you are endorsed, how do you plan on using the credential in both your personal and professional life?
I think with the increase of interest in infant mental health the stage is set to begin working alongside professionals in other states, specifically Alabama where I am from. I hope to support and establish a strong presence of infant-family advocates there, both personally and professionally. Perhaps, with great diligence we can begin an infant mental health association. I am certain, as it was invaluable for me to learn of the Endorsement process, many others would benefit from growing in awareness of infant mental health.
Would you recommend that others in the infant-family field pursue Endorsement?
Yes, I highly recommend professionals that are in the infant-family field pursue Endorsement. It is an invaluable process and will display to many others your steady commitment to culturally sensitive, relationship-focused practice promoting infant mental health.