What if children had access to data that explains how their brains are "built" and they used this to develop understanding of themselves?

Photo of Amy Edgar
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Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.

This project started at the intersection of science and life and a desire to help others. My daughter Mary, has Autism. I've been a Nurse Practitioner in mental health & primary care for 30 years combined. I have worked hard to follow developing science & to use it to help Mary understand herself. I was frustrated with a fragmented healthcare system that didn't see the full picture of Mary - pediatrician, school, family, behavioral health, genetics - to get a complete view of who she is, and together, figure out how to create the best life for her. The culmination of our experiences sparked the insight that I could do the same with others, but I would have to build it myself. So, I started our clinic Children's Integrated Center for Success with hopes to expand. Every day I see kids who are struggling in school, social life, or within their family. These kids & their families come in totally defeated, feeling no self-worth, with family tension, at a complete loss. I wanted to understand a child from a 360 degree view, so we created a very comprehensive screening process, including genetic testing (from a cheek swab) which tells us the child's gene variants for 18 genes tied to mental health issues. I am seeing gene variant clusters that I can map to behavior and some of these have never been described before in literature. Reviewing the data & its impact on behavior often "flips a switch" with families, bring them tears of relief, understanding and compassion.

Which categories describe you? (the answer will not be public)

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French, Caucasian)


www.everychildeverytime.com Link to TV news interview below (Video url field would not accept. Need to cut and paste) http://goo.gl/GBcYeX

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • Pennsylvania

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]


Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]

  • Pennsylvania

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]

Currently in Lehigh Valley, Berks County, Lehigh County, Allentown, Bethlehem, Northampton County, but we have an interest in scaling our model out more broadly, even on a national and global basis.

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The fragmented, complex healthcare system makes it difficult for families to navigate & find solutions. There’s a gap in translating research into practice ( 2010 Institute of Medicine report). The rigid, dysfunctional healthcare system promotes the status quo. I started CICS independently as a Nurse Practitioner, to provide cutting edge pediatric diagnostic and treatment services to address these issues. The problems we address are 1) Pediatrics Does Not Typically Include Behavioral Health – pediatricians, in general, do not include behavioral health in their diagnostics, and treatment of children so they often miss depression, anxiety, eating disorders, learning disabilities, substance abuse... 2) There’s A One Size Fits All Treatment Approach –often practitioners jump to prescribe psychotropic medication as “the fix” 3) Siloed Information = Poor Diagnostics & Poor Outcomes.

I started a behavioral health & pediatric clinic where I use research-based interventions and treatments related to behavioral health that are informed by my unique combination of data (genetic, biological, cognitive, behavioral, physical, social, academic, interviews w/ family & child).

I have more than 1,000 stories from the last year of practice that teaching a child about themselves & "how they are built" can reframe the negative to a positive, which can be life changing for the child, their family and their community.  These insights have a profound impact on every aspects of daily living – a child’s self -awareness, social circle, school and family. We are packaging our model - diagnostic & analysis tools, and treatment pathways so that they can be used by other practitioners nationally.

Is your model focused on any of the following traditionally underserved communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Children who are differently abled
  • LGBTQ or non-binary individuals
  • Religious minorities (non-Christian)
  • Low-income communities
  • Other

Does your model work within any of the following sectors?

  • Childcare
  • Child and Family Services
  • Community Development and Empowerment
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Mental Health
  • Other

If you chose "other," please share the sector you work within here:

Primary care & pediatrics. We are an integrated practice with both mental and physical medicine.

Year Founded


Project Stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages, and has demonstrated success)

Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.

At least one time every day, a child, their parent, or teacher says a version of the following: -Child: "Now that I understand how I'm built, I know I'm not weird or stupid or lazy. I can be comfortable being me" -Parent: "I always thought it was behavior. That my child was a bad kid. Now I understand how she's built. I understand the difference between something she can control and something she can't control. I also understand now how I can help." -Teacher: "It's so helpful to have input about what's avoidant behavior and what's the root cause. If we address the root cause, the behavior takes care of itself!" We call this reversing the "downward spiral." We offer testing, interpretation, success planning, treatment.

Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We successfully treated over two thousand children in the first eighteen months of practice. We are currently doubling space & resources for families. We are hiring twelve additional staff including psychotherapists, behavior specialists & family therapists as well as an additional pediatric Nurse Practitioner to expand existing primary care services we. Additionally, through our partnership with Behavioral Health Innovatiors, we're able to document, visualize & package our diagnostic & treatment model in a concise & meaningful way. Our model most aligns with the RDoc model proposed by Thomas Insel, former director of the National Institute of Mental Health. We met with Dr. Rosalind Picard at the MIT Media Lab in May 2016 & have agreed to pursue research opportunities together. We intend to quantify & qualify outcomes from specific elements of the model to then be able to scale.

Organization Type

  • for-profit

Annual Budget

  • $1mil - $5mil

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We are already financially sustainable. Funding awarded would be used to achieve the next level of research and documentation of outcomes related to the model.

Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?

Our 360 SUCCESS model maps a child’s genetics, physical health, cognitive function, social skills, emotional resilience, family dynamics & school performance to get a complete picture of “the way a child is built.” We interpret the data & apply the results, co-creating a success/treatment plan. Insights from a 360 map often “flips a switch” in a child & family's view, providing for a strong sense of self, purpose & belonging. I work with kids every day in my clinic & see them transformed from traumatized, anxious beings into blossoming super heroes. Every child deserves to be a superhero.

Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?

I am most excited about the ability to use data sets to provide both diagnostic and predictive analytics to teach children, families and communities about "how they are built" and what this means both now and in their future. I see children everyday with genetic variations that when coupled with specific neuropsychiatric testing yields information about performance strengths and weaknesses. Teaching the child, family and teachers what a child is built for, and what they aren't, provides for a kinder understanding and confidence & ultimately can prevent a variety of mental health problems.

Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)

  • Changemakers.com

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka, who was it? (the answer will not be public)

We have tracked Ashoka's activities for a long while and have admired the work of their organization.

Program Design Clarity

-Integrated care, leading w/ behavioral -Informed by genetic testing -We've mapped screening process & treatment protocols -Tier 1 screening for all, Tier 2 specialty tests based on Tier 1results -Interview & goal setting w/ child & family -“Treatment” goes beyond medical: 360 of life -Clinicians- counseling, executive function skills building, art therapy, speech, OT... -Plug & play, broad range of supports -Based on how each child is uniquely “built” -Co-learning community/lab w/ families -Technology enabled tracking/analysis -Developmental model, over time, prevention based

Community Leadership

We are responsive to community voiced need & create collaborative programming on demand. CABI program utilizes maker space & start up accelerator models to create business & employment opportunities for people with autism. Our advocacy center provides translation of psychological testing, meeting support, & resources for family’s IEP planning. We provided crisis support to a family & their community following the suicide of an 11 yr. old girl.

Age of Children Impacted

  • Pregnancy - 0
  • 0-1.5
  • 1.5 -3
  • 3 - 5
  • 6 - 12
  • 12+

Spread Strategies

Project goal: bring a radical new model of behavioral & physical health diagnostics, treatment and predictive analytics to market for children & teens w/ behavioral health conditions and/or learning disabilities. Our model is currently being packaged into technology solutions with the goal of scaling out on a national basis. New digitized tools, a rich dataset & mapped treatment pathway can be used by practitioners, insurance cos, and schools.

Reflect on how your work helps children to thrive. How are you cultivating children’s sense of self, belonging, and purpose through your model?

"This is how you are built & now we know your super power & you are going to be amazed & you are going to find your people & do what you love & it’s going to be great." I say that 100 times a day- no exaggeration. The effects are so profound that we have many parents asking for the same workup & diagnostics to better understand themselves & improve their role in the family dynamics. Our motto is the child within the family, within the community.

Leadership Story

Amy Edgar, founder of Children’s Integrated Center for Success, is a Nurse Practitioner credentialed in primary & mental healthcare with 30 years clinical & administrative experience - hospital & outpatient clinical supervision, patient care, academic nursing education, creator of 3 new practice models. Mary Beth is co-founder of Behavioral Health Innovators-creating and scaling solutions. She spent 15 yrs. as a Strategic Alliance Executive at IBM/Lotus, launching 12 products. She has consulted to providers, pharma, med device, health associations-designing & scaling digital health solutions

What awards or honors has the project received? (Optional)

-Lehigh Valley Finalist Emerging Business of the Year -Invited to be Opening Speaker, Quantified Self Gathering 2016 -First invited team to participate in Flip the Clinic Summit 2015

Organization's Twitter Handle

@CICSuccess @ProfAmyE @MBSchoening

Organization’s Facebook Page (URL)


Leader's LinkedIn Profile (URL)

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Team (4)

Amy's profile
Mary Beth's profile
Mary Beth Schoening

Role added on team:

"I have been working closely with Amy relative to the strategy for scaling her model out. This includes packaging, documenting and visualizing the business and clinical model, designing digital tools, design research and vetting partners for data exploration & machine learning to find clinical insights in her rich dataset (the collection of which has never been combined at the individual -deidentified - patient level before, at least to our knowledge.)"

Nathan M's profile
Leanne's profile


Join the conversation:

Photo of Carissa Purnell

<3 As adults often times I feel we assume we know what's best and often times don't recognize how brilliant and critical young folks can be... I love that this allows children and young adults to be in a lead position, in a place of power that allows them to view not only who they are, but find ways to engage with the sciences and data to build connections with their own identities. A big piece of our work is qualitative and finding these quantitative pieces is so important to "justify" something we all know to be true, but you blend it in a way rooted in empathy and care that is transformative. Beautiful work. 

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