For our second community spotlight interview, I spoke with Dr. Richard Honigman, a pediatrician at Central Nassau Pediatrics in Levittown and infant mental health advocate. We discussed the importance of addressing childhood adversity and the relevant work he is doing both inside and outside his practice. Please note that responses have been adjusted for length and clarity.
Dr. Honigman is also the first recipient of the 2019 Ed Tronick Award for Distinguished Contribution to Infant-Parent Mental Health of the alumni from the UMASS Boston Infant-Parent Mental Health post-graduate Fellowship Program (Pictured here with Alexandra Harrison, MD; Marilyn Davillier, LCSW; Ed Tronick, PhD; Dorothy Richardson, PhD). He has completed Bruce Perry’s Child Trauma Academy’s Phase 1 Neurosequential Certification. Additionally, he is an active participant in Docs for Tots ACEs Learning Collaborative that has brought ACEs screening to pediatric offices across Long Island.
How did you get started working with families affected by ACEs/Trauma on Long Island?
I have been involved with ACEs work for around a decade. Initially, I was doing work on the island of Grenada with a foundation (Reach Within) that was interested in developing resiliency programs for youth who have experienced abuse and maltreatment living in residential facilities. This led me to do more research into early life adversity. I started to do more and more readings by and attending conferences with experts in the field, such as Dr. Felitti, Bruce Perry, and Bessel Van der Kolk. In 2012, I enrolled in Ed Tronick’s interdisciplinary 2 year Infant-Parent Mental Health Post-Graduate Fellowship Program at UMass Boston. This course covers normal and abnormal early development from a multi-interdisciplinary perspective and how to intervene to assist the infant-parent unit to correct dysfunctional trajectories. Also in 2012, I entered into a pilot program with South Oaks Hospital to co-locate a behavioral-mental health therapist in my office two days a week for my families that need intervention. I am happy to say that this program has been a resounding success and is still going strong.
For the rest of the interview, click here.