The Nurture Science Program at Columbia University Medical Center is a unique research program rooted in a new, evidence-based understanding of the critical role emotional connection plays in healthy child development.

Our multidisciplinary team is committed to rigorous research, and continues to develop and test nurture-based therapies that support emotional connection to help children and families address, and even avoid, emotional, behavioral, and developmental challenges.


Emotional connection and autonomic
co-regulation drive behavior and development.


The power of nurture is evident from molecular biology to clinical research.


Translating research findings to evidence-based care can help children and families everywhere.

What We Hope to Achieve

Millions of children suffer from emotional, behavioral, and developmental disorders that can be addressed or prevented. Current treatment strategies often are not effective. The Nurture Science Program’s work can help children and their families.

Over the past 10 years, the Nurture Science Program has amassed considerable evidence to support interventions that advance the child-family emotional connection that is critical to healthy child development. Imagine the possibilities when all children and families have this kind of support.

2020 Vision: A Milestone Year

In 2020, the Nurture Science Program will reach milestones in research on Family Nurture Intervention in the NICU, Family Nurture Intervention for preschool families, and studies on the use of WECS and WECS+.


Family Nurture Intervention for Preschool-Aged Children

The Columbia Nurture Science Program has been studying Family Nurture Intervention with preschool families to understand how supporting emotional connection can help address emotional and behavioral problems. Follow up assessments and data analysis are ongoing, but there has already been positive feedback from parents and Head Start staff.


How Emotional Connection Affects Our Hearts

Intuitively, we recognize that emotional connection touches the heart. New research findings bring together Polyvagal Theory and the Calming Cycle Theory to better explain how our bodies are affected by our experiences and our relationships.


Emotional Connection Weaves Us Together

It’s no secret that Dr. Martha Welch is passionate about the power of emotional connection to improve our lifelong health and development – socially, emotionally, mentally, and physically. She was pleased to meet with a group of individuals from across the country who live out connection every day when they came together in Washington, DC for #WeaveThePeople.