Start Early. Start well.

Endowed Community Chairs

The Buffett Institute is establishing endowed, tenured professorships on each of the four University of Nebraska campuses. Called "Community Chairs," each focuses on different aspects of early childhood development and reflects the interdisciplinary commitment of the Buffett Institute. The Community Chair represents a new role for faculty that goes well beyond teaching, research, and service to include campus leadership and responsiveness to the local community through translational and applied research.
Kathleen Gallagher

Kathleen Gallagher
Cille and Ron Williams Community Chair for Early Childhood Education, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Dr. Kathleen (Kate) Gallagher is an educational psychologist and early childhood professional, with more than 30 years' experience teaching, home visiting, and leading early childhood programs, including early intervention and inclusive preschool programs. She has been affiliated with higher education child development and early education programs for more than 20 years. Her research and professional development focus on identifying, implementing, and evaluating practices, programs, and policies that support the development and well-being of young children, their families, and early childhood professionals—particularly in the contexts of poverty, disability, and cultural diversity. Gallagher spent 13 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she taught in the School of Education and served as a research scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.

Her recent work includes: (1) a randomized intervention to support toddlers with autism and their families; (2) an evaluation of a program to enhance implementation science and systems change capacities among early childhood systems in rural North Carolina; and (3) a project designed to examine and develop resources related to the well-being of the early childhood workforce in Pennsylvania. Gallagher graduated magna cum laude from Cardinal Stritch University in early childhood education/special education and received a master's degree from Marquette University and a doctorate in human development and educational psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has published numerous journal articles, book chapters, and educational products concerning children's early language and literacy, social-emotional development, and early intervention.

David Dzewaltowski

David Dzewaltowski
Community Chair in Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention, University of Nebraska Medical Center

David Dzewaltowski is a public health social and behavioral scientist who has contributed to the development of health behavior theory and evidence-based community interventions promoting physical activity and healthful eating in child care settings, schools, after-school programs, and diverse community organizations. His work has demonstrated that interventions can build the capacity of adults and children to influence the conditions of environments in which they live, learn, and play to promote healthful behavior. These projects have been funded by more than $13 million from several health foundations, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and resulted in over 100 scholarly papers and book chapters.

Dzewaltowski also was a founding member of the RE-AIM workgroup, whose goal has been to encourage program planners, evaluators, readers of journal articles, funders, and policymakers to pay more attention to essential program elements that can improve the sustainable adoption and implementation of effective, evidence-based health promotion programs. He has been on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, such as Health Psychology; Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology; and Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews. He also contributed to numerous community advisory and scientific review panels in Kansas and nationally with the NIH, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, USDA, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Concurrent with his research career, Dzewaltowski has more than 20 years' experience as a Kansas State University department head and as center director, which provided him with applied experience on how to lead organization change and partner with community agencies. He received his bachelor's degree from Western Washington University, his master's from West Virginia University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

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