Children’s Institute announced that Ann Marie White was named executive director of the nonprofit whose focus is on improving the social and emotional health of young children.
White is serving and will continue as associate professor, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. After assuming the Children’s Institute’s executive director role, she will have a pending secondary appointment as an associate professor (research) in the Department of Clinical and Social Psychology within the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering. She is succeeding Dirk Hightower, who has held this post for 27 years and will be transitioning to a role as senior researcher within Children’s Institute. The agency has evolved into a highly valued organization that uses a strategic, systematic approach to advancing social and emotional learning under Hightower’s leadership.
“After a very thorough search, the board and staff are excited to welcome Dr. White to lead Children’s Institute as we start a new chapter,” said James Lewis III, president of Children’s Institute’s board. “Ann Marie brings a wealth of knowledge on mental health to our agency and is the right person to guide Children’s Institute as we work with partners and funders to help expand our programs to reach more children in need.”
White is joining Children’s Institute as the board continues to implement a plan of strategic growth in several key programs, including Primary Project and GROW Rochester as well as an expansion of development and outreach. Children’s Institute will also be introducing their “Impact Initiative” to create capacity to increase the scale of current social and emotional programs and work proactively on future needs through targeted funding. She expects to transition to the Executive Director role in early August.
White received her doctorate in human development and psychology from Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Master of Arts in developmental psychology from Columbia University’s Teachers College and a Bachelor of Science with honors in human development and family studies from Cornell University, College of Human Ecology. She is the director of the Office of Mental Health Promotion, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center in addition to various research and teaching roles since 2004. She has secondary appointments in Public Health Sciences and in the Center for Community Health and Prevention.
White’s bio is available at
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