National Scientific Advisory Board

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The National Scientific Advisory Board is comprised of experts in the fields of neuroscience, communication, child psychiatry, child psychology, pediatrics, education, information science, and public health who are passionate about advancing objective, high-level, evidence-based, multi-disciplinary research on the impact of digital media on children and adolescents. Our advisors serve 2 year terms and work with Institute staff to advance the organization’s goals, provide advice on and evaluation of the Institute’s work, strategy, structure and membership, peer review grant proposals to fund, help plan national conferences, and oversee working groups of experts and researchers on specific areas of interest.

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Dr. Samuel Aronson has been Director of Brookhaven National Laboratory and President of Brookhaven Science Associates since 2006. He has worked at BNL since 1978 and is a Senior Physicist. He received his AB degree in physics from Columbia College in 1964. He did his graduate work under an NSF Graduate Fellowship at Princeton University, receiving his M.S. degree in 1966 and his Ph.D. degree in 1968. His research has focused on experimental particle and nuclear physics, with some forays into novel methods of particle acceleration and the search for new fundamental forces. From 1968 to 1977 Aronson held postdoctoral research and faculty positions at the University of Chicago’s Enrico Fermi Institute and the University of Wisconsin Physics Department. He is a fellow of the APS and of the AAAS. He was a member of the group of particle physicists that produced the “Quantum Universe” report in 2004. He has been a member of the Executive Committee of the National Laboratory Directors’ Council (NLDC) and chaired the NLDC in 2009-2010. Aronson currently serves on a number of state and regional councils and boards devoted to innovation, the commercialization of new technologies and economic development.

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Dr. Carmen Gill Bailey iis a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who recently served as the Medical Director and Executive Director for Children’s School Services, Children’s National, where she and her team were awarded grants and funding to focus on equitable distribution of healthcare services for Washington D.C. children. Dr. Gill Bailey currently serves as the Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer for the City of Frederick, Maryland, where she continues to focus on health care disparities in marginalized communities. She is a lifelong advocate for the health and wellness of children and families and has dedicated her career to addressing social injustice in health care.

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Dr. Naomi S. Baron is Professor Emerita of Linguistics at American University in Washington, DC. She is a former Guggenheim Fellow, Fulbright Fellow, and Visiting Scholar at the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. For the past thirty years, she has been studying the effects of technology on language, including the ways we speak, read, write, and think. Her previous books include Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World (2008), Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World (2015), and How We Read Now: Strategic Choices for Print, Screen, and Audio (2021).

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Kelly Brownell is Robert L. Flowers Professor of Public Policy, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, and Director Emeritus of the World Food Policy Center at Duke University. From 2013-2018 he served as Dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke. In 2006 Time magazine listed Kelly Brownell among “The World’s 100 Most Influential People” in its special Time 100 issue featuring those “.. whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world.” Brownell was elected to membership in the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) in 2006 and has received numerous awards and honors for his work, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association, Graduate Mentoring Award from Yale, the James McKeen Cattell Award from the New York Academy of Sciences, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Purdue University, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Rutgers University, and the Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology from the American Psychological Association. Prior to joining the faculty at Duke, Brownell was at Yale University where he was the James Rowland Angell Professor of Psychology, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, and Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. While at Yale he served as Chair of the Department of Psychology and as Head of Silliman College. Dr. Brownell has published 15 books and more than 350 scientific articles and chapters. He has served as President of several national organizations, including the Society of Behavioral Medicine, Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, and the Division of Health Psychology of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Brownell has advised the White House, members of congress, governors, state attorneys general. world health and nutrition organizations, and media leaders on issues of nutrition, obesity, and public policy. He was cited as a “moral entrepreneur” with special influence on public discourse in a history of the obesity field and was cited by Time magazine as a leading “warrior” in the area of nutrition and public policy.

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Charles A. Czeisler, PhD, MD, FRCP is the Baldino Professor of Sleep Medicine, Director of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chief of the Division of Sleep Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Czeisler has more than 30 years’ experience in the field of basic and applied research on the physiology of the human circadian timing system and its relationship to the sleep-wake cycle. For more than a decade he served as Team Leader of the Human Performance Factors, Sleep and Chronobiology Team of NASA’s National Space Biomedical Research Institute, which is responsible for developing sleep-wake schedule guidelines and related countermeasures for use by NASA astronauts and mission control personnel during space exploration. Dr. Czeisler has served on and consulted to a number of national and international advisory committees, including the National Institutes of Health, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, the Sleep Research Society, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Air Transport Association and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of the US Department of Transportation.

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Tracy Day co-founded the World Science Festival in 2008 with world-renowned physicist and best-selling author, Brian Greene. She serves as CEO, and oversees the creative and programmatic offerings of the Festival. A four-time National News Emmy award-winning journalist, she has produced live and documentary programming for the nation’s preeminent television news divisions for over two decades. At ABC News she was producer for This Week with David Brinkley, editorial and field producer for Nightline and story editor for the news magazine, Day One. She produced on-location coverage of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in South Africa, the refugee crisis in Haiti, drug cartels in Colombia, the aftermath of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in Baghdad and the exodus of Iraqi Kurds into Iran in the wake of the Gulf War, and many other major international stories. Domestically, she covered the San Francisco earthquake, Oklahoma City bombing, the OJ Simpson criminal trial, the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster and numerous presidential elections. Ms. Day has produced documentaries, specials and live town meeting broadcasts for PBS, The Discovery Channel, CNN, Lifetime and CNBC. In addition to Emmy Awards, she won a Hugo Award, a 2004 Clarion Award and the CINE Golden Eagle for investigative journalism. Ms. Day is a graduate of Duke University and has been an adjunct professor in the Leadership and the Arts program at the Sanford Institute for Public Policy.

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Dr. Dill-Shackleford is a social psychologist who studies the role of pop culture media in identity and social life. She has expertise in narrative psychology, researching the role of film, television and other storytelling media in social learning, identity and relationships. Her work includes what of fans of pop culture media gain from their imaginative experiences. Ultimately, she is interested in understanding how we use our experiences with characters and stories to change how we see the world and our place in it. She has focused particular attention on our understanding of how popular culture depictions of social categories such as race, gender and sexual orientation influence our understanding of the social world including identity, social standing, prejudice and well-being. She also does research on social media, including how we construct social realities via social media messaging. She is the author of How Fantasy Becomes Reality (Oxford, 2009, 2016), co-author of Finding Truth in Fiction (Shackleford & Vinney, Oxford, 2020) the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Media Psychology (2013, 2nd edition forthcoming) and the Editor of Psychology of Popular Media, a research journal published by the American Psychological Association. Dr. Shackleford received the Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award from the APA Division on Media Psychology and Technology in 2021; Her TEDx talk is called Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter are Real. She received the Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award from APA’s Div. 46 – Media Psychology and Technology.

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Dr. Elizabeth Kandel Englander is a professor of Psychology and the founder and Director of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center at Bridgewater State University, a Center which delivers programs, resources, and research for the state of Massachusetts and nationwide. She is a nationally recognized researcher and expert in the area of bullying and cyberbullying, childhood causes of aggression and abuse, and children’s use of technology.

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Lauren Hale, PhD (Professor of Family, Population, and Preventive Medicine; Core Faculty, Program in Public Health; Renaissance School of Medicine, Stony Brook University) studies the social patterning of sleep health and how it contributes to inequalities in health and well-being with current or previous funding from NICHD, NIDDK, NHLBI, and NIA. Dr. Hale has over 140 publications in peer-reviewed journal articles. Dr. Hale serves on the Board of Directors (Chair) of the National Sleep Foundation and is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal Sleep Health. She also serves on the Scientific Advisory Panel of the Pajama Program.

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Dr. Carrie James is a Principal Investigator at Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A sociologist by training for over a decade, she has led research and educational initiatives focused on young people’s experiences in digital life, with particular attention to ethical dilemmas, civic participation, and strategies to support well-being. With Emily Weinstein, Carrie is co-author of the book, Behind Their Screens: What Teens are Facing (and Adults are Missing) (forthcoming, MIT Press). She has an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Sociology from NYU and is a parent to two technology-loving children, ages 12 and 16.

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Heather Kirkorian, PhD is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her Ph.D. (2007) in Developmental Psychology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where she also completed three years of postdoctoral training. Her research interests include the development of attention and learning, young children's attention to and comprehension of video, and the impact of screen media on cognitive development. Her current projects address whether and how toddlers learn from interactive and non-interactive video as well as the impact of background television on the quantity and quality of infants' solitary toy play and social interactions. Dr. Kirkorian's research incorporates experimental research design, observational methods, and physiological measures sure as eye tracking and heart rate.

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Colleen A. Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP is Professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine/University of Southern California and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She is the 2018 Past President of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Her work includes integration of behavioral health and team-based care into primary care practice. Dr. Kraft received her undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech and her M.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University, and her MBA from the University of Cincinnati. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at Virginia Commonwealth University. As President of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2018, Dr. Kraft is known for her advocacy to optimize the health of all children through technology and innovation. Her interests include the study of technology and its role in addressing health disparities and unconscious bias with children. She continues to speak for basic child rights for children throughout the world.

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Dr. Barnaby Marsh has created or has advised the structuring and creation of hundreds of philanthropic projects. An expert in risk-taking, new ventures, and communications, he has helped philanthropists realize their philanthropic goals under a wide range of demanding conditions, worldwide. Dr. Marsh's expertise centers on creating new and original philanthropic initiatives, expanding frontiers in the sciences, and promoting new visions of human wellness and possibility. The results of his ideas and work have been featured in national print and broadcast media, and projects he has created have informed the policies and practices of the US, UK, and Chinese governments, among others. He is a proponent of integrating market forces in philanthropy, and of using prizes to encourage and celebrate breakthrough solutions. Dr. Marsh is a Summa cum laude graduate of Cornell University and has a doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He currently holds affiliations at Harvard University and at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

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Dr. Desmond Upton Patton is the Brian and Randi Schwartz University Professor and the thirty-first Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professor. He has joint appointments in the School of Social Policy & Practice and the Annenberg School for Communication along with a secondary appointment in the department of psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine. Professor Patton’s groundbreaking research into the relationship between social media and gang violence – specifically how communities constructed online can influence often harmful behavior offline – has led to his becoming the most cited and recognized scholar in this increasingly important area of social science. His early work attempting to detect trauma and preempt violence on social media led to his current roles as an expert on language analysis and bias in AI and a member of Twitter’s Academic Research advisory board and Spotify’s Safety Advisory Council. He created the Contextual Analysis of Social Media (CASM) approach to center and privilege culture, context and inclusion in machine learning and computer vision analysis. Patton is currently a member of the Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility at AAAS.

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Dr. Potenza is a board-certified psychiatrist with subspecialty training in addiction psychiatry. Currently, he is a Professor of Psychiatry, Child Study and Neuroscience at the Yale University School of Medicine, where he is the Director of the Yale Division of Addictions Research, the Center of Excellence in Gambling Research, the Women and Addictive Disorders Core of Women’s Health Research at Yale and the Yale Research Program on Impulsivity and Impulse Control Disorders. He is on the editorial boards of over fifteen journals (including editor-in-chief of Current Addiction Reports) and has received multiple national and international awards for excellence in research and clinical care. He has consulted to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Registry of Effective Programs, National Institutes of Health, American Psychiatric Association and World Health Organization (WHO) on matters of addiction. He has participated in two DSM-5 research work groups and six annual WHO meetings relating to Internet use and addictive behaviors in the ICD-11, addressing topics relating to gambling, gaming, impulse control, and addiction.

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Moriah Thomason, PhD is the Barakett Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at New York University Grossman School of Medicine. She is also faculty in the Department of Population Health and in the Neuroscience Institute. She formerly served as Director of the Perinatal Neural Connectivity Unit within the intramural Perinatology Research Branch of NICHD/NIH. Her published research addresses principals of neural development beginning in utero. Her current NIH grants examine environmental factors with potential to influence functional neurocircuitry of the developing brain. She received her undergraduate training at UC Berkeley, and her graduate and postdoctoral training at Stanford and MIT in Neuroscience. Her work has been featured on NPR All Things Considered, BBC World Service, Huffington Post, MIT Technology Review, New Scientist, and most recently, in Science, Nature Medicine and National Geographic. Many of her studies address disparities experienced by minoritized individuals and she has written multiple commentaries about the importance of population representative and culturally sensitive science. She is a standing member of the Child Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities (CPDD) study section within the Center for Scientific Review, serves as an Associate Editor for the journal of Developmental Cognitive Science, and in 2019 received the honor of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from the Office of the President of the United States.

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Dr. Wartella is Al-Thani Professor of Communication, Professor of Psychology and Professor of Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern University. She is a leading scholar of the role of media in children’s development and serves on a variety of national and international boards and committees on children’s issues. She is co-principal investigator of the Children’s Digital Media Center project funded by the National Science Foundation (2001-2011) and was co-principal investigator on the National TV Violence Study (1995-1998). She has published widely in communication and psychology journals on children’s media issues. Dr. Wartella earned her PhD in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota in 1977 and completed her postdoctoral research in developmental psychology in 1981 at the University of Kansas. She was dean of the College of Communication at the University of Texas from 1993-2004 and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost at the University of California-Riverside from 2004-2009. Before joining the faculty at Northwestern in March 2010 she was Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California-Riverside.

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Paul Weigle, M.D. is a Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist at Natchaug Hospital of Hartford Healthcare and teaches on the clinical staff at UConn School of Medicine and Quinnipiac Medical School. Dr. Weigle is a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and serves as co-chair of the Academy’s Media Committee as well as the National Scientific Advisory Board for the Institute of Digital Media and Child Development. He is a nationally recognized expert on the effects of screen media on mental health.

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