Our Team

Paul Dworkin, MD

Founding Director | contact

Paul Dworkin is Executive Vice President for Community Child Health at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. For 15 years, he previously served as physician-in-chief at Connecticut Children’s and chair of pediatrics at UCONN. 

Dr. Dworkin’s interests are at the interface among child development, child health services, and child health policy. Dr. Dworkin’s honors include teaching awards from both universities he has served, visiting professorships, and named lectureships. He was the editor of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics from 1997-2002 and was a member of the first entering class of the Academy of Distinguished Educators at the UCONN School of Medicine. In 2003, Dr. Dworkin received the prestigious C. Anderson Aldrich Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics in recognition of achievement in the field of child development. His vision led to the creation of Help Me Grow, a Connecticut statewide initiative to promote the early detection of children at risk for developmental and behavioral problems and their linkage to programs and services that is currently being replicated in more than 30 states. He currently serves as the project director for the North Hartford Ascend Pipeline, a US Department of Education Promise Neighborhoods grantee.

Dr. Dworkin received his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed his pediatric residency and fellowship training at Boston Children’s Hospital. He earned a certificate in policy analysis from the University of North Dakota. Dr. Dworkin has served on the boards of numerous community-based organizations, recently completed his tenure as chair of the board of the Urban League of Greater Hartford, and currently serves on the board of the Institute for Child Success in Greenville, South Carolina.

Kimberly Martini-Carvell, MA

Executive director | contact

Kimberly Martini-Carvell has served in the role of Executive Director of the Help Me Grow National Center, for the past 8 years. During her tenure she has partnered with the National Affiliate Network and the National Center team to accelerate and elevate the impact of Help Me Grow. The National Center is embedded within the Office for Community Child Health at Connecticut Children’s, where Kimberly also serves as an organizational senior leader focused on the advancement of novel approaches to systems of early childhood and family support, health, and well-being.

Prior to joining the National Center, Kimberly worked as the Associate Vice President for programs at The Village for Families and Children in Hartford where she created and managed prevention and early intervention programs. She also worked as a child and family development consultant for the United Way of Central & Northeastern Connecticut, as director of the CT Family Development Institute of the Children’s Trust Fund, and as an adjunct professor for the University of Connecticut’s School of Family Studies.

During her career, Kimberly has served on the national Zero to Three Policy Committee, the National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network’s Birth-6 Workgroup, and the leadership team of the Connecticut Parent Educators Network and the Connecticut Association for Infant Mental Health. Currently, Kimberly is part of numerous national and international advisory committees that are focused on universal promotion and prevention systems of care. Kimberly has presented the Help Me Grow Model at national and international convenings, including the bi-annual World Association of Infant Mental Health Congress.

Melissa Passarelli, MA

associate director of implementation & system-building | contact

Melissa Passarelli serves as the Associate Director of Implementation and System-Building at the Help Me Grow National Center. Prior to this role, Melissa served as the Director of Programs at Docs for Tots where she directed HMG Long Island, acted as the local Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Grant (ECCS) team lead, provided technical assistance to physicians and other providers on implementing screening initiatives, and coordinated HMG efforts across New York State. Melissa was the CDC’s Act Early Ambassador for New York State from 2019-2022, and a Board Trustee for T1International since 2020.

Melissa has an M.A. in International Disaster Psychology from the University of Denver and a B.A. in Psychology and Public Policy from The George Washington University. During her education she trained as a trauma therapist and helped establish Denver’s Trauma & Disaster Recovery Clinic, as well as worked for non-profits such as First Book that focused on promoting equitable opportunities and outcomes for all. 

Sarah Zucker, BA

associate director of strategic partnerships & Network Relations | contact

Sarah ZuckerSarah Zucker serves as the Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships & Network Relations at the Help Me Grow National Center. In this capacity she leads efforts to promote impactful collaboration among Help Me Grow affiliates, the National Center, and national organizational partners. Sarah works to promote engagement, increase brand awareness, strengthen existing relationships, and cultivate new strategic partners.

Sarah has also led technical assistance efforts for the National Center, supporting new states and communities in efforts to explore the Help Me Grow Model and devise site-specific installation strategy. In this role she designed and implemented services to support affiliates in effective system-building efforts, including tools to assess the existing early childhood landscape, partnerships, leadership, and readiness to engage in systemic change, as well as tools to support affiliate implementation of the Core Components that support fidelity to the HMG Model. 

Before her work at Connecticut Children’s, Sarah led research efforts at the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, a statewide, membership-based advocacy agency advancing a mission to end homelessness through leadership, community organizing, policy change, research, and education. She received a degree in Social Research from the University of Hartford.

Melissa Miller, MPH, PMP

associate director of impact & Network Performance | contact

Melissa Miller serves as the Associate Director of Impact and Network Performance at the Help Me Grow National Center. In this role, Melissa oversees the strategic development and implementation of a measurement framework to further validate the HMG Model and measure Network performance.

A trained health services researcher, Melissa brings to this role broad expertise in quality improvement initiatives, measure development, data analytics, and evaluation. Prior to joining the National Center, Melissa worked at Yale University/Yale New Haven Health’s Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE), which develops inpatient and outpatient quality outcomes measures used across the nation for Medicare payments. Melissa has worked at the Greater New York Hospital Association, leading quality improvement initiatives with front-line hospital, nursing home, and home health agency staff to improve care coordination. Melissa also served as a researcher at the Center for Health Informatics and Policy at Weill Cornell Medical College, conducting evaluation projects to better understand New York State’s return on investment related to health information technology.

Melissa received her M.P.H in Behavioral Sciences & Health Education from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, and a B.A. in Journalism and Sociology from Emory University.

Sara Sibley, MBA

Associate Director of business development & Operations | contact

Sara Sibley is the Associate Director of Business Development & Operations at the Help Me Grow National Center. In this role, Sara manages financial activities and operations of the National Center, and is responsible for overseeing technical assistance endeavors for new and current affiliates of the HMG National Network.

Before joining the National Center in 2010, Sara was the state coordinator for the Connecticut Easy Breathing asthma program. Her role involved overseeing a team of program coordinators for statewide implementation and dissemination of Easy Breathing.

Sara holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physiology and neurobiology from the University of Connecticut and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut School of Business.

Morgan Reiss, LMSW

PROGRAM specialist of Communications & Policy  | CONTACT

Morgan Reiss serves as the Policy and Communications Program Specialist at the Help Me Grow National Center. Prior to joining the HMG National Center she was a Research Assistant for the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, where she worked to evaluate federally funded mental health, behavioral health, and substance use focused programs across the state of Connecticut.

She holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Social Work with a concentration in Policy Practice from the University of Connecticut. During her MSW program she completed field placements with the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work, Office of Senator Blumenthal, and the Connecticut Office of the Secretary of the State. 

Nadia King, MHA


Nadia King serves as the Implementation and System Building Program Specialist at the Help Me Grow National Center. Prior to this role, Nadia worked as an Implementation Specialist at MEDITECH in Canton, Massachusetts, aiding hospital teams in the development and execution of EHR software applications. She also served 12 years in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve as an Electronic Technician and Yeoman, respectively.

Nadia received a master’s in Healthcare Administration from University of New Haven and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University.

Outside of work, Nadia loves to care for her several houseplants and is an avid traveler, working towards her goal of visiting all seven continents.

Skyley Parizek, MPH

PROGRAM specialist of Business & administration | CONTACT

Skyley Parizek serves as the Business and Administration Program Specialist at the Help Me Grow National Center. Before joining the Help Me Grow National Center, Skyley worked in the fields of behavioral health, special education, and early childhood education.

Skyley holds a Bachelor’s in Psychological Sciences and a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) from the University of Connecticut. She also completed an interdisciplinary fellowship with the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program at UConn Health’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service.

Nicole Foster

Master of Social work intern | CONTACT

Nicole Foster serves as an intern at the Help Me Grow National Center during the 2023-2024 academic year. Nicole Foster is a second year Master of Social Work (MSW) student at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. In addition to her placement with Help Me Grow National, she is a graduate assistant at UConn Health in the Interdisciplinary Preparation for Personnel Serving Children with Disabilities who have High-Intensity Needs (Interdisciplinary Preparation) for the academic year of 2023-2024. This program is run through the University of Connecticut A.J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service and the U.S. Department of Education.

Before joining the Help Me Grow National Center, she served as an intern at Windsor Public Schools as a Social Emotional Learning Specialist. Before entering the MSW program, Nicole worked for 12 years as a pediatric nurse. Nicole holds a Bachelor’s in Psychological Science from Central Connecticut State University with a focus on health psychology. She is passionate about advocacy and policy change.  

Outside of work and school, Nicole and her husband Matthieu are busy raising three daughters and enjoy spending time in nature.