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About the Alliance

Our Mission

The Alliance is a partnership of researchers, educators, practitioners, parents, and community members in and around the San Joaquin Valley. Our mission is to promote the healthy development of children and their families through research and public outreach. 

Our specific goals are:

  • To inform the public about typical and atypical development and disorders.
  • To serve as a consulting resource for community members on child and family health and development.
  • To enhance knowledge of typical and atypical development and child and family health through research and outreach.
  • To facilitate and coordinate research on the development of children and the various health and medical factors important to how children and families function.

Our Initiatives

Help for My Child 

With funding and support from First 5 of Merced County, the Alliance has developed a virtual information center called Help for My Child (H4MC). The goal of this virtual center is to help local community members, parents, and professionals find resources for children who struggle with learning and development. H4MC is a one-stop shop that provides:

  • Information on typical developmental milestones.
  • Advice for parents who are concerned about their child's progress.
  • Information on the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of developmental disorders.
  • A searchable database of nearby resources for information, assessment, and treatment.
  • Opportunities for community conversations and outreach activities on education and child development. 

Precision Learning Center 

The Precision Learning Center is a new, innovative and cross-disciplinary ‘Precision Ed-Health’ center with partners across the University of California campuses throughout the state of CA. It will tackle issues associated with education and health disparity with a particular emphasis on underrepresented populations, with an ultimate goal of providing all children with the best educational and health outcomes. An initial focus will be on services, advocacy, training and research that will lead to early identification and intervention of children at risk for learning challenges in English learners.

This center is made possible through a grant awarded from the University of California Office of the President to the UCSF Dyslexia Center’s leadership team members and in collaboration with experts in education, policy, cognitive psychology, neuroscience and medicine. The center is led by Fumiko Hoeft at UC San Francisco, with Jeffrey Gilger at UC Merced, Carol Connor at UC Irvine, and Jamal Abedi at UC Davis as partners.

Annual Symposium on the Child and Family

The Alliance is proud to sponsor the Annual Symposium on the Child and Family hosted at UC Merced. Since 2014, the symposium has provided an opportunity for local professionals who work with young children to learn about cutting-edge research in child development from distinguished researchers in the field. The symposium is held at the beginning of each year and is co-organized by UC Merced Psychological Sciences faculty and the Early Childhood Education Center. The symposium has been the recipient of support from First 5 Merced County, Lakeshore Learning, and the Carlston Cunningham Endowment. 

Facilitating research on child and family health and development

The Alliance seeks to facilitate research on the healthy development of children and families in the San Joaquin Valley by connecting researchers with community organizations and potential participants in the region. Interested individuals can visit our Get Involved page to learn more about current research projects. The Alliance also provides a physical space in downtown Merced for teaching, research, and community outreach. In the future, we hope to develop similar physical centers in satellite locations throughout the region.