The Tribal Early Childhood Research Center (TRC) is a national network of tribal early childhood researchers and program leaders who work in partnership with American Indian and Alaska Native communities and tribal Head Start, Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV), and Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) programs to grow the field of research on young children’s development.

Logo for Tribal Early Childhood Research Center

TRC university partners

The TRC draws upon faculty and staff from four university partners across the country, all of whom have substantial expertise partnering with American Indian and Alaska Native communities in early childhood research, evaluation, and practice.


Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health (CAIANH)

at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Colorado School of Public Health

The CAIANH team includes Drs. Michelle Sarche, Nancy Whitesell, Nancy Asdigian, Douglas Novins, and Robert Emde, and Mss. Caitlin Trucksess and Rene Begay. CAIANH supports the health and well-being of American Indian and Alaska Native peoples through research, training, continuing education, technical assistance, and information dissemination. The Centers include more than 40 faculty and staff in Denver and in tribal communities, and partnerships with over 150 tribes, 38 community-based health organizations, and 12 Alaska Native regional corporations, across 30 states.


Center for American Indian Health

at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

The Center for American Indian Health team includes Dr. Allison Barlow and Ms. Olivia Trujillo.  Founded in 1991, the Center for American Indian Health works in partnership with tribal communities to design public health programs that raise the health status, self-sufficiency, and health leadership of Native people to the highest possible level.  With offices in tribal communities across Arizona and New Mexico as well as a Great Lakes Hub serving tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and along the shared border with Canada, the Center supports public health interventions in more than 140 tribal communities in over 21 states. These partnerships have achieved landmark public health breakthroughs credited with saving millions of children’s lives worldwide.


The Brazelton Touchpoints Center

at Boston Children’s Hospital

The Brazelton Touchpoints Center team includes Drs. Catherine Ayoub and Josh Sparrow. The Center was founded in 1996 by T. Berry Brazelton, MD, and colleagues and is based in the Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital. Together with families, providers and communities, the Brazelton Touchpoints Center develops and applies knowledge of early childhood development to practice and policy through professional and organizational development, evaluation, advocacy and awareness and serving as a resource for proven practices. The Brazelton Touchpoints Center is also home to the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. 


The University Office of Outreach and Engagement

at Michigan State University

The University Office of Outreach and Engagement team includes Drs. Jessica Barnes-Najor, Hiram Fitzgerald, and KyungSook Lee whose team has partnered with American Indian communities in Michigan and nationally to carry-out research and evaluation of early childhood development and program practices. The University Office of Outreach and Engagement facilitates university-wide efforts to create an ecosystem of engagement by supporting the engaged activities of faculty, staff, and students; fostering public access to university expertise and resources; and by advocating for exemplary engaged scholarship, nationally and internationally. The UOE emphasizes university-community partnerships that are collaborative, participatory, empowering, systemic, transformative, and anchored in scholarship.

Steering Committee

The TRC is guided by a Steering Committee made up of over 30 tribal early childhood leaders including tribal Head Start, MIECHV, and CCDF program directors and staff, members of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) training and technical assistance network and national centers, tribal evaluation partners, organizational leaders, tribal college faculty, and academic researchers. 


The TRC is funded by a cooperative agreement from the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (90PH0027).