Our Team

Paul Dworkin, MD, Founding Director

Paul Dworkin

Paul Dworkin is Executive Vice President for Community Child Health at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Founding Director of the Help Me Grow National Center, and professor 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 the Department of Pediatrics of the UCONN School of Medicine.

Dr. Dworkin’s interests are at the interface among child development, child health services, and child health policy. He has authored more than 175 publications in the fields of developmental-behavioral pediatrics and general pediatrics.

Dr. Dworkin’s honors include teaching awards, visiting professorships, and named lectureships. In 1988, he was Visiting Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Pediatrics, University of Oxford and also Visiting Scholar of Green College in Oxford. 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 over 20 states. He was the editor of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics from 1997-2002. He serves on the board of directors for several organizations, including the Urban League of Greater Hartford, and was a member of the first entering class of the Academy of Distinguished Educators at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

Dr. Dworkin received his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed a pediatric residency and fellowship in ambulatory pediatrics with a special emphasis on developmental and behavioral issues at Boston Children’s Hospital. He recently completed study for a certificate in policy analysis from the University of North Dakota.

Kimberly Martini-Carvell, MA, Executive Director

Kimberly Martini-Carvell is the Executive Director of the Help Me Grow National Center. Prior to her current role, she served as Associate Vice President of Programs for The Village for Families and Children in Hartford, CT, where she was responsible for creating and managing prevention, early intervention and treatment programs for families and children. Before joining The Village, Kimberly served as a child and family development consultant for the United Way of Central & Northeastern Connecticut, and director of the CT Family Development Institute of the Children’s Trust Fund. For the University of Connecticut (UConn), she served as an adjunct professor in the School of Family Studies and manager of the CT School Readiness Implementation Evaluation. Kimberly also 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. She was a fellow at the National Council on Family Relations and a Master facilitator for the Family Development Credential. In the past decade, Kimberly has been selected to present at the bi-annual World Association of Infant Mental Health Congress (WAIMH) on the implications of deploying systemic, integrated solutions to the contemporary challenges young children and their families face.

Sara Sibley, BS, Program Manager

Sara Sibley is the Program Manager for the Help Me Grow National Center. In this role, Sara manages administrative and financial activities 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. Ms. Sibley holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physiology and neurobiology from the University of Connecticut and is pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut School of Business.

Erin Cornell, MPH, Program Manager for Research, Innovation & Evaluation

Erin CornellErin Cornell serves as Program Manager for Research, Innovation and Evaluation for the Help Me Grow National Center. In this role, she oversees efforts to evaluate the implementation and impact of HMG and new innovations throughout the affiliate network. She has experience in health services research and her area of interest is in improving health and developmental outcomes for children through systems innovation. While a graduate student, Erin completed a year-long assistantship as a LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) Fellow through the University of Connecticut University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD). Prior to joining HMG, she contributed to the implementation and evaluation of clinical care innovations, including Co-Management, a program of the Office for Community Child Health at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Erin holds a BA from Boston University, an MPH from the University of Connecticut, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in public health from the University of Connecticut.

Von Jessee, M.A., Program Specialist for Network Assessment

Von Jessee is the Program Specialist for Network Assessment at the Help Me Grow National Center. In this role, he supports the National Center and the affiliate network in their efforts to measure implementation and impact. Before joining HMG National in 2015, he graduated from the University of Connecticut where he earned a Master’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies. During this time, Von served as a research assistant for the Scaffolding Early Learning Project (ScEL) and conducted fatherhood specific research of his own. He concluded his degree with a thesis examining the associations between food insecurity and father/child diet quality. Previously, Von earned a degree in child and family studies/early childhood education (preK-3 licensure) and he worked with children who express challenging behaviors.

Sarah Zucker, BA, Program Specialist for Network Development

Sarah ZuckerSarah Zucker serves as Program Specialist for Network Development at the Help Me Grow National Center. In this capacity, she supports new states and communities in efforts to explore the HMG model and devise site-specific installation strategy. Sarah helps design and implement projects to support affiliates in effective system building efforts, including tools to assess the early childhood landscape, partnerships, leadership, and readiness to engage in systemic change, as well as tools to support affiliate implementation of the key activities that support fidelity to the model. Before her work at Connecticut Children’s, she lead research and evaluation initiatives at the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, a statewide think tank and advocacy agency to advance policy and programming around homelessness. She received a degree in Social Research from the University of Hartford.


Tamisha Phillip, BS, Administrative Assistant

Tamisha PhillipTamisha Phillip serves as the Administrative Assistant for the Help Me Grow National Center. In this role, she provides administrative support to National Center staff and affiliates of the National Network. Tamisha holds a BS degree in Health Care Management, and Minor in Public Policy from the University of Connecticut.