Ascend Fellows: A Diversity of 2Gen Expertise

April 12, 2018 |

Ascend Fellows are visionary leaders who come from a variety of backgrounds and bring expertise from different sectors and disciplines to the Fellowship. Here is a selection of their publications and case studies.


  • Two Open Windows: Infant and Parent Neurobiologic Change: by Ascend Fellow Dr. Sarah Enos Watamura explores new research on parent brain development and the opportunities and risks of the paired sensitive periods of brain growth for new parents and their babies, including the implications for programs and policies. Its genesis came from discussions during a 2014 Ascend Forum on Early Childhood, Health, and Beyond. Dr. Watamura takes a 2Gen lens to the topic, highlighting the vulnerability and opportunity during this early sensitive period.
  • The Elephant in the Clinic: Early Literacy and Family Well-Being: Written by Ascend Fellow Dipesh Navsaria, in collaboration with Ascend and Ascend Network Partner Reach Out and Read, this paper explores the potential of well-child visits and books as diagnostic tools to support child and family health and well-being.
  • Scaling Up, Scaling Out: Written by Ascend Fellows Betsy Delgado and Roxane White in partnership with Ascend, this paper shares lessons learned from partnering for scale, practical approaches to scale, and a vision for two-generation solutions to poverty. The end goal is for families to have access to a wider array of evidence-based and evidence-informed supports to exit poverty. 
  • Home-Grown Social Capital: How Higher Education for Formerly Incarcerated Women Facilitates Family and Community Transformation: This publication is a partnership between Ascend, Ascend Fellow Vivian Nixon, and Ascend Network member Susan Sturm of the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia University. It focuses on the role of higher education and social capital, or trusted family and peer networks, to help those who have been justice-involved break the cycle of poverty.
  • Two Generations. One Future: An Anthology from the Ascend Fellowship: Edited by Dr. Christopher King, Dr. P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, and Dr. Mario Small, the Anthology offers insights into two-generation approaches. It is spearheaded by the Ascend Fellows, 20 leaders from across sectors, including the fields of human services, mental health, justice-involved families, and early childhood. It is divided into three sections: 1) Underpinnings of two-generation strategies; 2) Address and empowering families; 3) Innovative policies and programs; and 4) Evaluating and fostering two-generation strategies.

Case Studies:

  • State Human Services Model – Colorado as a Case Study for Policymakers: This case study offers readers an in-depth look at how Colorado has embraced a two-generation approach across state and county agencies and the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. It offers practical tools and resources in addition to lessons from Colorado’s work.
  • Community Leadership for 2Gen Approaches – A Case Study in Sarasota, Florida: In partnership with Ascend at the Aspen Institute, Sarasota County, with leadership from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, has explored, developed, and implemented 2Gen efforts since 2012. This brief details the process by which the Community Foundation embarked on its 2Gen efforts, key lessons and challenges that emerged from these efforts, results from 2Gen initiatives throughout the county, and examples of ongoing work.

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