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Active Initiative:

Coalition for Health Equity & Early Development

Optimizing Early Childhood Development
The Coalition for Health Equity and Early Development (HEED) is dedicated to engaging and empowering all stakeholders from diverse sectors and families as a collaborative community dedicated to developing every child’s human potential. HEED seeks to transform systems, policies, and practices to ensure equitable health, learning, and achievement for all by establishing early childhood development access founded on brain-based research and evidence-based initiatives. The HEED focus on early childhood development is both an investment in each and every child’s life and in capacity building for the successful future of our communities.

Flagship Initiative
The Basics Southcoast
The Basics Southcoast is HEED’s vehicle for addressing social determinants of health from the moment a child is born. The Basics Southcoast is a community-wide strategy to optimize early childhood development using The Five Basics Principles. In partnership with Southcoast Health, our region’s leading birthing hospital, we aim to reach every expectant parent and new baby with The Five Basics Principles.

Our accomplishments to date include the following:

  • Over 100 families in The Basics Insights text messaging program.
  • Over 250 frontline providers trained on The Basics Strategy and Five Basics Principles.
  • Convened partners to create The Basics Southcoast Learning Trail in New Bedford by leveraging an Art is Everywhere grant through the City of New Bedford. The project became an official The Basics Playbook, and momentum is growing to replicate the project in Fall River.


Implementing The Basics Southcoast through The Triad
The triad of education, the arts, and health equity represents a holistic and comprehensive approach to nurturing the development and well-being of our children. By weaving these three essential components together, we create a synergistic environment that fosters creativity, resilience, and a sense of belonging.



Overview and History
The Coalition for Health Equity & Early Development was established in 2019 to promote regional alignment to bolster early childhood developmental outcomes. By 2021, the coalition expanded to over 50 stakeholders, representing communities across the South Coast region of Massachusetts, including Taunton, Fall River, New Bedford, and Wareham.

With a solid foundation of engaged stakeholders, a grounding framework in The Basics, and four years of program incubation within Northstar Learning Centers, the coalition officially launched in April 2023 as a Greenhouse Initiative of The Marion Institute.

Our vision is to create a future where every child, regardless of their background or circumstances, has an equal opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential.


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