TMW Center Newsletter December 2021

December 01, 2021

Parent Nation Updates

Parent Nation: Unlocking Every Child’s Potential, Fulfilling Society’s Promise, the forthcoming book by TMW Center Co-Director Dana Suskind, is receiving glowing early reviews. Angela Duckworth, founder and CEO of Character Lab, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, MacArthur Fellow, and author of NYT Bestseller Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, called the book “A manifesto, and a handbook, for what we as individuals and as a society are morally called to do for all kids to thrive. Required reading for anyone who has ever loved a child.”

You can read more reviews or pre-order the book (which will be released April 26, 2022) here.

Thanks to a very generous gift from Hearing First, an educational endeavor of the Oberkotter Foundation, we are able to provide free copies of “Parent Nation” to individuals and organizations that face financial constraints. If you would like to suggest a recipient, please contact Jon Wenger at

And if you’d like to be the first to hear about events and announcements related to the book and the accompanying public impact campaign, be sure to sign up for the Building a Parent Nation newsletter!

TMW Center: By the Numbers

At the TMW Center, our work is fueled by the belief that science is the basis for real social change, and it leads to thousands more parents and caregivers in this country having access to information and tools that help them optimize the foundational brain development of their children. See below for a quantitative look at our work and our impact over the years.

  • 3Ts at the heart of all TMW Center programs and interventions. These easy-to-apply, evidence-based strategies remind parents to “Tune In and respond to what your child is communicating; Talk More and build your child’s vocabulary with descriptive language; and Take Turns to engage your child in conversation and foster curiosity and knowledge”
  • 3 languages (English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole) in which TMW Center materials are available
  • 5 books written or edited by our Center Co-Directors Dr. Dana Suskind & John List
  • 8 evidence-based interventions developed for parents & caregivers, each designed to be embedded within existing systems and tailored to a specific setting and phase of life
  • 8 communities with sites that implement TMW Center programs (Akron, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Lexington, Palm Beach, Phoenix, St. Louis)
  • 11 years since Dr. Dana Suskind launched the precursor to our Center, the Thirty Million Words Initiative, in 2010
  • 12 randomized control, quasi-experimental and implementation trials of TMW Center interventions completed, with results indicating that these interventions lead to an increase in parent and caregiver knowledge of brain development and richer early language environments for children
  • 20+ funders have generously supported our work
  • 21 studies published in peer-reviewed journals
  • 28 full-time staff members
  • 42% – the average increase in conversational turn-taking by parents in our home-visiting program
  • 50 student workers, on average, per year
  • 72% – the average increase in complexity and diversity of language used by parents in our home-visiting program
  • 290 organizations registered on the 3Ts Partner Portal to access Any Time is 3Ts Time campaign resources
  • 325+ parents have participated in our facilitator-led group programs, Let’s Talk and Let’s Talk Dads
  • 356 early childhood education providers have completed our 3Ts-Early Childhood Educator professional development course
  • 600 items developed for inclusion in the computer-adaptive version of our SPEAK measurement tool
  • 700+ parents in Palm Beach County Florida completed TMW Center interventions in hospital and clinic settings as part of our first community-wide demonstration project
  • 971 parent-child interactions recorded and transcribed for analysis in our studies (representing approximately 10,681 hours of transcribers’ time)
  • 3,500+ parents & caregivers have used our digital education tool org
  • 11,500+ followers on social media
  • 15,000 parents & caregivers expected to be reached directly by TMW Center programming and resources by 2024
  • 61,445+ annual page views on the TMW Center website
  • Countless parents, educators, and caregivers inspire us daily

What We’re Reading

Can public policies that increase financial resources for families with low income reduce socioeconomic disparities in brain development and mental health? A fascinating new pre-print study by David G. Weissman and colleagues addresses this question. Doing so has not been previously possible, because neuroimaging studies are typically conducted in a single community. However, as the authors explain, they leveraged…

“A unique opportunity provided by the Adolescent Behavior and Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, which provided harmonized neuroimaging data from 11,534 youth across 21 sites (in 17 states) that differed in cost of living and anti-poverty policy climates. Lower SES was associated with smaller hippocampal volume, higher internalizing psychopathology, and greater exposure to stressful life events, but the magnitude of these associations varied significantly across states. The association of SES with hippocampal volume was about 37% smaller in states where cost of living was high but that provided more generous cash benefits for lower SES families as compared to states with less generous benefits. In high cost of living states where antipoverty programs were more generous, the association between SES and hippocampal volume resembled that of low cost of living states. Similar patterns were observed for internalizing psychopathology and stressful life events. These findings demonstrate that macroeconomic conditions moderate the degree to which family income influences children’s neurodevelopment and mental health and that anti-poverty policies exert a buffering effect against the negative impacts of low SES.