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Human Development Strategic Initiative

Learn more about the Human Development Strategic Initiative at the Austen Riggs Center.

Our Human Development Strategic Initiative applies Riggs’ relational view of early development to a community-based preventive model of care, building on learning from our Therapeutic Community Program in which an individual is recognized, understood, and supported in the broader contexts of family, community, and society. This initiative provides an opportunity to extend the impact of our work beyond the small number of patients who have access to our intensive residential treatment through meaningful engagement in our local community. Staff and patients at Austen Riggs will, in turn, benefit from this effort as we deepen our knowledge about the impact of early adversity on the unfolding developmental process and about the importance of recognizing children’s early efforts at communicating. The initiative’s first project – the Discovering Your Baby Project – has evolved as a partnership with Fairview Hospital, Community Health Programs, and MACONY Pediatrics.


Donna M. Elmendorf, PhD, Director of Therapeutic Community Program and Initiative Leader