Our Team – Help Me Grow National Center

The Help Me Grow National Center staff is committed to helping all Help Me Grow affiliates achieve and maintain a system that promotes the full potential of all young children. 

Paul Dworkin, MD

Founding Director | contact

Paul Dworkin is Executive Vice President for Community Child Health at Connecticut Children’s Medical 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 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.  

 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 received a certificate in policy analysis from the University of North Dakota.  Dr. Dworkin has served on the boards of numerous community-based organizations and recently completed his tenure as chair of the board of the Urban League of Greater Hartford.

Kimberly Martini-Carvell, MA

Executive director | contact

Kimberly Martini-Carvell is the Executive Director of the Help Me Grow National Center. She also serves as an Associate Director at the Office for Community Child Health and a Senior Director at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

Prior to joining the National Center, Kimberly worked as Associate Vice President for programs at The Village for Families and Children in Hartford where she created and managed prevention and early intervention programs for families and children. 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. She served as a fellow at the National Council on Family Relations and a master facilitator for the Child and Family Partners certificate program. Kimberly has presented the Help Me Grow model at national and international convenings, including the bi-annual World Association of Infant Mental Health Congress.

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.

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 her new 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 has been the CDC’s Act Early Ambassador for New York State since 2019, 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

Manager of Communications & Network Relations | contact

Sarah ZuckerSarah Zucker serves as Manager of Communications & Network Relations at the Help Me Grow National Center. In this capacity she is responsible for designing and leading efforts to increase brand awareness among key audiences, stakeholders, and constituents, in order to reinforce existing partnership and cultivate new strategic partners. In addition, her efforts will serve to advance the strategic priorities of the National Center by elevating visibility, understanding, and support for the HMG National Center’s advocacy and policy change agenda in order to promote transformational change in early childhood system building efforts across the country.

Sarah has also led technical assistance efforts for the National Center, supporting new states and communities in efforts to explore the HMG Model and devise site-specific installation strategy. She has designed and implemented services 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 HMG Model. 

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

Morgan Reiss, MSW

Communications & Policy PROGRAM specialist | 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 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 Office of the Secretary of the State. 

Noshin Ahmed, MPH


Noshin Ahmed is a Program Coordinator at the Help Me Grow National Center. Before joining the Help Me Grow National Center, Noshin was a Community Engagement Specialist for New York City Health and Hospitals. During her time with NYC H+H, she conducted community outreach to New Yorkers and linked them to community resources they needed to overcome COVID-19. 

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Drexel University. During graduate school, she completed two master’s practicums at HealthSpark Foundation and Magee Rehabilitation Hospital-Jefferson Health. At HealthSpark her role mainly involved working with senior management to engage marginalized populations to safety-net services. At Magee Rehabilitation Hospital she served as a Quality Improvement Intern to identify gaps in outpatient care and create strategies to improve patient care.