Sulzberger Distinguished Lecture featuring Seth Pollak

The Neurobiology of Poverty: New insights linking child poverty to gaps in achievement and health

October 26, 2016
3:00 PM-4:30 PM

Although the associations between family poverty and children’s development have been well documented, we do not yet understand much about the mechanisms through which poverty affects the health and well-being of children. In this presentation, Seth Pollak will introduce a growing and consistent body of evidence indicating that effects of poverty on brain development are likely central to poverty-related gaps in academic achievement and the well-documented lifelong effects of poverty on physical and mental health. Although examinations of direct relations between income and brain structure and function are relatively recent, the findings related to early learning appear promising. These studies motivate new and exciting directions for prevention and intervention that are rapidly emerging at the intersection of developmental science, pediatrics, child psychology and psychiatry, and public policy.

Seth Pollak is the Letters and Science Distinguished Professor of psychology and professor of pediatrics, anthropology, neuroscience, and public affairs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He earned dual Ph.D.s from the University of Rochester in brain & cognitive sciences and in child clinical psychology before completing an internship in pediatric neuropsychology at the University of Toronto.

Pollak’s research focuses on the influences of social risk factors on children’s brain and behavioral development, with particular focus on children’s emotions, early learning, and health.

Previously, Pollak was a visiting professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the Montreal Neurological Institute, a visiting fellow at the American Academy in Rome, and a visiting scientist in pediatric neuroscience at the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital in Rome. He received a National Institute of Mental Health fellowship in developmental psychopathology, the Boyd-McCandless Award for Distinguished Contributions to Child Development, the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Early Career Award, and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Wisconsin. Pollak is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for Psychological Science. He currently serves on the governing council of the Society for Research in Child Development. His research is supported by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Please join us for a reception following the talk.