As the Executive Director of BBF and Vermont’s Early Childhood Data and Policy Center, Dr. Crossman is responsible for leading the vision and strategic plan of Vermont’s early childhood system and serving as the primary advisor to the Governor and Legislature on the well-being of children from prenatal to age 8 and their families, using evidence and data to inform policy and service provision.
A native Vermonter from Rutland, Dr. Morgan Crossman is the Executive Director of Building Bright Futures (BBF) and Vermont’s Early Childhood Resource, Data, and Policy Center. Morgan holds a PhD in Social Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, specializing in Child, Youth, and Family Policy as well as Disability Policy, and a master’s degree in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology from the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College. Prior to joining BBF, she was appointed to the Harvard-wide Pediatric Health Services Research Fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital for Children. There she led many research studies focused on service integration and improving care transitions for children with special health care needs and their families as they navigate multiple complex service systems over the life course. During this time, she also taught two graduate classes as Boston University’s School of Public Health as an adjunct faculty member: “Children with Special Health Care Needs” and “Preventing Mental Health Disorders: A Life Course Approach.”
She served previously as the Clinical Research Program Manager for the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children’s Hospital within the Division of Developmental Medicine. In this role, she submitted multimillion-dollar federally funded grants and coordinated the implementation of multi-site national research projects focused on families of children, youth, and adults with autism spectrum disorders and other neurodevelopmental and related disabilities, such as Rett syndrome, Down syndrome, and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC). She was also trained to conduct clinical assessments of children using the Mullen Scales of Early Learning and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule.
To this work she brings a strong background in the quantitative and qualitative research methods necessary to critically examine issues for Vermont’s youngest and most vulnerable children and families. Morgan has specific expertise in child development, maternal and child health and well-being, early intervention, and early childhood education for children with disabilities and special health care needs. Her work emphasizes the importance of early childhood development through the life course theory, which is a layered conceptual framework that can be used to understand factors that contribute to optimal health and well-being. This approach examines how patterns or trajectories develop over a lifetime, across generations and within many contexts, suggesting that exposures and contexts during early childhood influence later health and well-being. Stemming from this lens, Morgan views families as the most critical context for child development. Morgan’s career has always been informed by a social justice framework with a focus on the promotion of equitable outcomes for families and children.
As Executive Director of Building Bright Futures, Morgan partners with stakeholders in early care, education, health, and mental health sectors to advance the goals and strategies of Vermont’s Early Childhood Action Plan to impact conditions for Vermont’s children birth to age 8. She is also responsible for advising the Governor and Legislature on matters of early childhood in Vermont using a data-driven approach.
Morgan also manages the comprehensive infrastructure of BBF’s Early Childhood State Advisory Council and 12 Regional Councils and works with individuals, organizations, and agencies to develop best approaches for an integrated system that advances data-driven progress for all Vermont’s young children and their families. In addition to her work at the systems level, Morgan directs Vermont’s Center for Research, Data and Policy, a powerful tool for BBF and its stakeholder network as they seek to understand the challenges and successes of children and families in the state and craft strategies that turn the curve on some of the biggest hurdles facing Vermont families. Through collaborations with partners across the state of Vermont, Morgan seeks to build the capacity of BBF to serve as the state’s neutral convener of key stakeholders, resources, and the most up-to-date, high-quality, accurate data to inform key policy recommendations that will ultimately improve the system of services for children and families.
Morgan resides in Hinesburg, Vermont, with her husband Chris and daughter Amelie.