Staff Bios

Photograph of Abbey Alkon

Abbey Alkon, RN, Ph.D. is the Director of the California Childcare Health Program (CCHP) and Professor at UCSF School of Nursing Department of Family Health Care Nursing. Dr. Alkon earned her Pediatric Nurse Practitioner/MSN and MPH degrees at the Columbia University and her doctorate in Epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Alkon’s clinical and academic career has been dedicated to conducting impactful research, education, and clinical services to address important issues in the field of community-based pediatric health care. She has authored research publications covering a wide range of topics, including early care and education programs/child care, environmental exposure, autonomic nervous system, and healthy habits including physical activity and nutrition. Her work has explored the pesticide exposures in child care centers, the effects of child care health consultation on health and safety standards in child care programs, the effects of prenatal mindfulness intervention on infant autonomic and behavioral reactivity, and the developmental consequences of early life stress on children's physiological regulation and behavior. Dr. Alkon’s work has contributed to our understanding of how to improve the health and well-being of young children attending early care and education programs.

Selected Child Care Publications

  1. Alkon A, Sokal-Gutierrez K, Wolff, M. Child Care Health Consultation Improves Health Knowledge and Compliance. Pediatric Nursing, 28(1), 61-65, 2002.
  2. Alkon A, Ramler M., MacLennan K. Evaluation of mental health consultation in child care centers. Early Childhood Education Journal, 31(2), 91-99, 2003.
  3. Farrer J, Alkon, A, To, K. Child care health consultation programs: Barriers and opportunities. Maternal Child Health Journal. 11(2):111-8, 2007.
  4. Alkon A, Bernzweig J, To K, Mackie J, Wolf, M, Elman J. Child Care Health Consultation Programs in California: Models, Services and Facilitators. Public Health Nursing. 25(2):126-139, 2008.
  5. Bernzweig J, Ramler M, Alkon A. Mental health consultation in early childhood classrooms. Zero to Three. 30(1): 47-51, 2009.
  6. Alkon A, Bernzweig J, To K, Wolff M, Mackie, JF. Child care health consultation improves health and safety policies and practices. Academic Pediatrics. 9(5): 366-370, 2009.
  7. Kalmar, E, Ivey, S, Bradman, A, Leonard, V, Alkon A. Implementing an integrated pest management (IPM) program in child care centers: A qualitative study. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. 29, 2014: 245-254.
  8. Alkon A, Crowley AA, Benjamin Neelon SE, Hil, S, Pan Y, Nguyen V, Rose R, Savage E, Shipman L, Kotch JB. Nutrition and physical activity intervention in child care improves knowledge, policies, and children's body mass index. BMC Public Health. 14: 215, 2014. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-215
  9. Alkon A, Rose R, Wolff M, Kotch JB, Aronson SS. Health and safety checklist for early care and education programs to assess National Health and Safety Standards. Maternal and Child Health Journal. Jan;20(1):114-27, 2016. doi: 10.1007/s10995-015-1809-8
  10. Alkon A, Nouredini S, Swartz A, Sutherland AS, Stephens M, Davidson N, Rose R. Integrated pest management intervention in child care centers improves knowledge, pest control, and practices. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. Nov-Dec.; 30(6): e27-e41, 2016. doi: 10.1016/j.pedhc.2016.07.004.
  11. Stephens M, Hazard K, Moser D, Cox D, Rose R, Alkon A. An integrated pest management intervention improves knowledge, pest control, and practices in family child care homes. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 14: 1299, 2017. doi: 10.3390/ijerph141112999.
  12. Alkon A, Rose R, Hazard K, Moser D. National health and safety standards: Family child care homes compared to child care centers. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. 35(1): 5-15. 
  13. Hashikawa AN, Sells JM, DeJonge PM, Alkon A, Martin ET, Shope TR. Child care in the time of Coronavirus disease-19: A period of challenge and opportunity. J of Pediatrics, 225:239-245. DOI:10.1016/j.jpeds.2020.07.042
  14. Hazard K, Lee D, Ritchie L, Rose R, Diaz Rios LK, Plank K, Alkon A. Development of an online curriculum for California early care and education providers on healthy beverages. BMC Public Health. 21:1387, 2021. doi:10.1186/s12889-021-11428-x.
  15. Ritchie LD, Keeton V, Lee DL, Gurzo K, Vitale EH, Au LE, Alkon A. Nutrition standards for infants and young children can be implemented by family child care home providers. Global Pediatric Health, 8:1-8, 2021. DOI:
  16. Alkon A, Gunier R, Hazard, K, Castorina R, Hoffman R, Scott R, Anderson K, Bradman A. Preschool-age children’s pesticide exposures in child care centers and at home in northern California. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. 36(1): 34-45, 2022. DOI:
  17. Mackie JF, Gray H, Himmelgreen D, Marshall J, Alkon A, & Kirby R. Mixed-method assessment of caregiver feeding practices in early care and education centres during COVID-19. Public Health Nutrition. 26(1):12-22, 2023. Doi:10.1017/S1368980022002452
  18. Hazard K, Alkon A, Gunier RB, Castorina R, Camann D, Quarderer S, Bradman A. Predictors of pesticide levels in carpet dust collected from child care centers in Northern California, USA. Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology. Online Jan 4., 2023.

Evelyn Grace Bigini, RN, MSc (she/her/hers) is a Child Care Health Consultant at the UCSF California Childcare Health Program (CCHP). Evelyn works with child care providers in the Central Valley for the Healthy Children and Environments Study (HCES), and she develops Health and Safety Materials for CCHP. Evelyn is a Registered Nurse with two Master of Science degrees in Global Health (Delivery) from Maastricht University in the Netherlands and the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda. She is also a First-Year PhD student at the UCSF School of Nursing, Evelyn's research has focused on food sovereignty, climate-informed curriculum development, and chronic illnesses. She hopes to continue her work surrounding migration, human rights, climate change, and children's health, including trauma and resilience. You can likely find Evelyn standing in the sun next to a new friend, whether in Modesto for HCES, volunteering at a free clinic in SF, or in Egypt for the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27).


Photograph of Kim Hazard Kim Hazard, MS, is a Graduate Student Researcher for the UCSF School of Nursing, California Childcare Health Program (CCHP). She has 7 years of experience working with child care providers and environmental health scientists to promote environmentally healthy practices in child care and conduct research on exposures in children’s environments. She develops health and safety materials, trainings, and presentations on environmental health and coordinates the Healthy Children and Environments Study (HCES).


Photograph of Judith Kunitz Judith Kunitz, MA, is a Child Care Health Consultant at the UCSF California Childcare Health Program and has been part of the program for six years. She holds a Masters in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College. Ms. Kunitz has over 40 years of experience in the field of Early Care and Education including fifteen years as a Head Start Health Services Manager in various San Francisco Bay Area Head Start agencies. Presently, she is a Senior Researcher on the Healthy Children and Environments Study (HCES). Ms. Kunitz is highly skilled in providing quality health and safety training and technical assistance for Early Care and Education providers and families.


Photo of Mira Liao Mira Liao, MHS, is a Research Data Analyst at the UCSF California Childcare Program.  She holds a Master of Health Science degree in Maternal and Child Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she worked on program evaluation projects, including the national evaluation of Fetal and Infant Mortality Review programs.  She then provided program evaluation technical assistance to community organizations in Hawaii seeking to promote healthy behavior.  She joined the team in 2017 after working for seven years as an administrator in a parent co-operative child care program.  She works on CCHP's two training grants: the California Preventive Health and Safety Training and Technical Assistance Program and Integrated Pest Management Training of Trainers for Early Care and Education Programs.  She also contributes to the Office of Head Start National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety project.

Photograph of Jenifer Lipman and her dog  Jenifer Lipman, CPNP, MSN, EdD, works with the California Childcare Health Program at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Nursing, to provide health and safety subject area expertise for the Office of Head Start National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety. As a Registered Nurse, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and Child Care Health Consultant, Dr. Lipman has over 20 years’ experience working with and supporting Head Start health services, with involvement at the local, state, and national level. She has worked with a number of Head Start and early education programs, providing training and technical assistance to support their compliance with all applicable regulatory agencies, including the Head Start Program Performance Standards and state licensing, and the integration of quality health and safety standards, such as Caring for Our Children. Specific training areas include planning for children with health special needs, medication administration, managing infectious diseases, standard precautions, injury prevention, staff wellness, orientation for new health services managers, and the essential relationships between Head Start health services, other interdisciplinary services, and the management systems.  Jenifer’s doctoral research focused on leadership, a preschool through third grade (P-3) continuum, transition, and family engagement. Her dissertation, Ready Leadership in a Preschool through Third Grade Continuum, expanded on the school readiness model of ready children, ready families, and ready schools, adding the importance of “Ready Leadership.”

Photo of Bari NemethBari Nemeth, RN, CNP-PC, works with the University of California, San Francisco, (UCSF), School of Nursing California Childcare Health Program (CCHP) to provide support and training to the National Center for Health, Behavioral Health and Safety (NCHBHS). She earned her RN/BSN from SUNY Binghamton (Binghamton University) and her Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care, MSN Degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She has many years of experience in private practice, public health, research and Head Start where she was the Program Manager of Health for a large Head Start/Early Head Start program for the last 8 years. Bari also contributes her expertise to the Heising-Simons Foundation project and the California Preventive Health and Safety Training and Technical Assistance Program.