Infant Mental Health in Ireland: Advancing Practice, Policy and Research


Infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH) is a growing and international field of research, practice and policy directed at promoting, preventing, and intervening with children and their caregivers to support optimal developmental and mental-health outcomes for all children.  This course will provide advanced students with professional development and educational opportunities through attendance at the 18th World Congress of the World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIHM) in Dublin, Ireland.  Though attendance at a high-tier international scientific conference with support and guidance from faculty coaches, students will identify, plan and embark on self-guided learning through professional conference attendance.  Faculty will lead preparatory sessions to assist students in developing their “conference plans,” lead daily reflective meetings and exercises to assist students in solidifying their learning, and provide opportunities for professional development through networking with leaders in the IECMH field.  Students will have the opportunity to learn from international experts about the latest scientific research, clinical experiences, and scientific knowledge and cultural perspectives on a global scale.

You can see the full program of the conference here.

This program is open to students who have done the Children's Experience of War and Trauma program in the past, or graduate students.


What You'll Accomplish: 
  • Students will be expected to attend the conference each day including a minimum of three (3) presentations of activities per day
  • Students will be expected to attend specific conference presentations or activities to be specified by faculty as mandatory (eg keynote talks etc)
  • Students will be expected to dress and act professionally while in attendance at the WAIMH congress
  • Students will be expected to create a personal educational plan for the conference each day
  • Students will be expected to take notes and share reactions to their activities in group reflective meetings and journal format
  • Students will be expected to meet and talk to at least one new person (not from the University of Pittsburgh) each day of the conference in order to develop professional social skills
  • Students will be expected to create a final reflective project within which they share personal, educational, cultural and professional development learning outcomes


Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is a city rich in vibrant culture and history.  Originally founded as a Viking settlement, it has become Ireland's principal city.  The city resides on the banks of the river Liffey and is home to one of the youngest populations in Europe.  It is full of rich cultural and artistic heritage.  

Dublin is home to many historic monument, castles and churches.  Opportunities to visit popular cultural sites such as Dublin Castle, O'Connell Street, Grafton Street, and Trinity college are among the out of the classroom experiences you can enjoy.  Dublin also has more green spaces per kilometer than any other European city.  Dublin is well connected by rail to other cities in Ireland. 

Temperatures and precipitation vary based on the season. In June, the temperatures are pretty mild can average 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. It is important though to be prepared with a variety of clothes that you can layer with during your program.

What You'll Study: 

Students will take a 1 credit course on Infant Mental Health. 
The course number and syllabus will be posted shortly.

Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts: 

Oksana Stalczynski

Privet! I'm Oksana Stalczynski and I'm an Assistant Director of Study Abroad at the Global Experiences Office. I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, was an exchange student and Russian Language Scholar at Reed College in Portland, OR and did a summer language program in Dresden, Germany. Global experiences broaden your horizon, grow your circle of friends and improve your career opportunities. That’s why I think everyone should do one!

Feel free to contact me to find out more about global experiences programs at Pitt, and/or to learn/practice some Russian.


Schedule an appointment

  • Click here to schedule an appointment with me through Pathways.
  • Log into Pathways with your Pitt username and password.
  • Select Find Available Time.
  • Select the time that works for you.
  • Click the schedule button
  • You will see a confirms message on the screen. You will also receive a confirmation in your Pitt email.

Don't see a time that works for you? Just send me an email.

Your In-Country Contacts: 

Dr. Robert Gallen

Dr. Gallen is a Licensed Psychologist and Associate Professor of Psychology.  Hereceived his BA from Bucknell University and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Kentucky.  He completed his pre-doctoral internship at the University of Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas and his post-doctoral fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  He has been Endorsed at the Infant Mental Health-Mentor level by the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health.  He has been a professor of psychology for over 20-years at Georgetown College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Chatham University, and now serves as the Coordinator for MS programs in Applied Developmental Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh.  Prior to accepting this new role, he collaborated with various institutions in Western Pennsylvania to develop a certificate and two graduate programs in Infant Mental Health.  His recent research has focused on the professional development needs of Part C Early Intervention providers and assessing the relationship between attachment, stress and cortisol levels in infants living in high-risk circumstances. He has served on several advisory boards for regional agencies and the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare. He is the founding president of the Pennsylvania Association for Infant Mental Health (PA-AIMH) and a ZERO TO THREE Fellow. He currently teaches graduate and undergraduate level courses including Developmental Psychopathology, Infant Mental Health, War and Children, and Family Dynamics. 

Dr. Jennifer Willford

Jennifer Willford, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Slippery Rock University.  At SRU, she is the program director for Neuroscience and Pre-professional Studies in Psychology and serves as the assistant director of the University’s Honors program. She teaches courses such as statistics, research methods, neuroscience, health psychology and positive psychology.

She earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in Experimental Psychology at the University of Kentucky and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Psychiatric Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Dr. Willford has extensive experience teaching in an international context and traveling with students and has earned certification in global engagement as a high impact teaching practice. She served as a visiting professor through the SUNY Buffalo Research Foundation program in Psychology at the Singapore Institute of Management, and has led STEM themed study abroad trips to Prague, London, and Amsterdam.

Dr. Willford is passionate about working with students to develop life-long learning and research skills. Her teaching promotes active learning through innovative pedagogy and technology, global learning perspectives, and research. She believes that learning is a collaborative process and values the relationships she builds with students in and out of the classroom setting.

Items Billed by Pitt




Program Cost



Study Abroad Fee



Total Billed by Pitt



Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs



Meals and Personal Expenses


Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad. Visit our Budgeting page for more information.

What's Included: 

As a part of your program fee, the following are included:

  • Tuition for 1 credit course
  • Shared accommodations in Dublin
  • Registration fee for the conference
  • City tour of Dublin
  • International Health Insurance