The Irving Harris Program in Child Development and Infant Mental Health provides clinical training, consultation, advocacy, and research in infant and early childhood mental health. Postdoctoral and community fellowships are offered to qualified professionals seeking advanced training in infant and early childhood mental health.
Over 30 years ago, the concept of infant mental health training in Colorado flourished from a friendship developed through a fortunate alphabetical seating arrangement. During a Zero to Three board members' meeting, Robert J. Harmon happened to sit next to Irving Harris, retired executive and founder of the Irving Harris Foundation. The more Bob learned about Irving, the more he was impressed with his passion for and awareness of young children and their developmental needs. Years later, Irving asked Bob about creating an infant mental health program in Colorado. This conversation led to the establishment of the Irving Harris Program in Child Development and Infant Mental Health at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Since its founding in 1996, the program has expanded tremendously. We created a several intensive training programs, as well as research, clinical service, and advocacy programs in infant and early childhood mental health that serve Colorado and beyond. Program faculty provide consultation, supervision, and training to academic programs and community agencies in Colorado as well as across the nation. Additionally, Harris Faculty have developed and/or disseminated numerous early childhood mental health clinical programs including Project CLIMB, Healthy Expectations, Warm Connections, and HealthySteps.
The Harris Program began in 1996 under the directorship of Robert J. Harmon, MD (in memoriam, 1946-2006), an infant and child psychiatrist and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, with the funding from The Irving Harris Foundation.( https://www.irvingharrisfdn.org/)
Dr. Harmon was a graduate of the University of Colorado School of Medicine (UCSOM) where he also received his post-graduate training in General and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. After spending three years at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, MD, Dr. Harmon returned to Colorado, joining the faculty of the School of Medicine in 1978 as an Assistant Professor and later becoming Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics in 1992.
Below are some of his many appointments/recognitions during his accomplished career:
Training Philosophy & Goals
Robert J. Harmon Fellowship in Advanced Clinical Infant Mental Health Training
The Irving Harris Program in Child Development and Infant Mental Health trains postdoctoral psychology fellows and advanced community professionals intending to work in infancy and early childhood systems. The year-long clinical fellowship focuses on training in clinical, research, and systems factors related to pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood. The training involves clinical work in early childhood, didactics, reflective supervision, and professional development. The didactics cover content on development, attachment theory, treatment approaches, diagnostic classifications, perinatal mental health, diversity-informed practice and cultural humility, and socio-cultural influences. The Harmon Fellowship accepts two types of fellows: University-based Fellows and Advanced Community-based Fellows.
University-based Fellows are employed by the University of Colorado School of Medicine at a postdoctoral level, with degrees in psychology (PhD, PsyD) or psychiatry (MD, DO). Fellows work in university-based clinical settings including traditional outpatient services, consultation in pediatric primary care and other medical clinics, early care and education centers, and home-based services (some being bilingual) within UC-AMC programs and community agencies.
Advanced Community-based Fellows are sponsored by the agency where they work and are released to attend the fellowship in-person one day per week for a year. The agency pays for the fellow’s training. Advanced Community-based Fellows hold a masters or doctoral degree in mental health, occupational therapy, speech therapy, early childhood education and allied fields and have a minimum of 3 years experience working with young children and their families. This fellowship is intended for professionals who have the potential to impact service delivery, policy, or education in their agency and community.
Harris Expansion Community (HEC) Fellowship
The Irving Harris Program in Child Development and Infant Mental Health Expansion Community Fellowship offers qualified professionals scholarship-supported access to advanced training in perinatal, infant and early childhood mental health, regardless of their location within Colorado. The HEC Fellowships are generously funded by Caring for Colorado, the Community First Foundation, the Piton Foundation, the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation and the Zoma Foundation. Using remote learning technology, fellows will participate one day per week in a yearlong training program, while continuing to serve young children and families in their community. HEC fellowship positions are available for masters or doctoral level psychology, social work, counseling, and marriage and family mental health providers who are licensed or license eligible with agency supervision. Community fellows are individuals seeking expert training in infant and early childhood mental health, while continuing their current jobs. HEC fellows working at community or private agencies are required to secure release time from their agency in order to participate in the program (for additional details, please see Application).
The seminars cover a variety of topics, including normal infant and early childhood development, temperament, normal pregnancy and pregnancy loss, high-risk infants and parents, developmental psychopathology (including attachment disorders, failure to thrive, and behavior problems), the impact of child abuse and neglect, developmentally appropriate assessment, diagnosis and treatment of infants and toddlers, the treatment of infant-parent psychopathology, and mental health consultation in early childhood settings.Survey of Infant and Early Childhood Assessment