Mays to be honored for contributions to the practice of infant and early childhood mental health

By Nicholas Roznovsky

Clinical social worker Markita Mays, LCSW, has been selected as the 2020 recipient of ZERO TO THREE's Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) Emerging Leadership Award for Practice. She will receive her award on October 6, during the group's virtual annual conference. She will also be invited to share her work during a national webinar next year and through an article in an upcoming issue of the ZERO TO THREE Journal.

ZERO TO THREE's IECMH Emerging Leadership Awards honor early- to mid-career professionals who have made significant contributions to the field of infant and early childhood mental health, particularly those who have demonstrated significant visionary and cutting-edge work to transform practices and policies. The award for practice specifically recognizes those who have made improvements to the way IECMH supports and services are delivered to better support health and relationships for infants, young children and their families.

Mays is the clinical supervisor for the UCSF Child Trauma Research Program at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, where she provides clinical services to children and families, supervision to clinicians in training, and is a national trainer for the dissemination of child-parent psychotherapy. She holds a bachelor's degree in human biology with an emphasis on African studies from Brown University, and earned her master’s degree in social work focusing on children, youth, and families from California State University, East Bay.

In 2018, Mays co-developed EMBRACE, an integrated behavior group perinatal care model for Black families at UCSF in partnership with reproductive medical providers from the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health. She is committed to understanding the intersection and intergenerational patterns of race and trauma for African American families and communities, and has a special interest in healing interventions rooted in spiritual and indigenous practices and traditions.

In addition to providing direct service and clinical training, Mays has pursued advocacy on behalf of children of incarcerated parents. She is the co-founder of the Alameda County Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (ACCIPP), a regional coalition focused on those who work with or are concerned about children of incarcerated parents. In her work with ACCIPP, she served as a consultant with Sesame Street on the development and implementation of their Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration toolkit.

Mays was recognized by UCSF for her leadership in social justice with the Chancellor's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Diversity. and served as a Dean's Diversity Leader for the UCSF School of Medicine's Differences Matter Initiative from 2016 to 2018.


ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all babies and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools, and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals, and policymakers. For more information, please visit, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

About UCSF Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

The UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute are among the nation's foremost resources in the fields of child, adolescent, adult, and geriatric mental health. Together they constitute one of the largest departments in the UCSF School of Medicine and the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, with a mission focused on research (basic, translational, clinical), teaching, patient care, and public service.

UCSF Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences conducts its clinical, educational, and research efforts at a variety of locations in Northern California, including Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital; UCSF Medical Centers at Parnassus Heights, Mission Bay, and Mount Zion; UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland; Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center; the San Francisco VA Health Care System; UCSF Fresno; and numerous community-based sites around the San Francisco Bay Area.

About the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences

The UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, established by the extraordinary generosity of Joan and Sanford I. "Sandy" Weill, brings together world-class researchers with top-ranked physicians to solve some of the most complex challenges in the human brain.

The UCSF Weill Institute leverages UCSF’s unrivaled bench-to-bedside excellence in the neurosciences. It unites three UCSF departments—Neurology, Psychiatry, and Neurological Surgery—that are highly esteemed for both patient care and research, as well as the Neuroscience Graduate Program, a cross-disciplinary alliance of nearly 100 UCSF faculty members from 15 basic-science departments, as well as the UCSF Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, a multidisciplinary research center focused on finding effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders.

About UCSF

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is exclusively focused on the health sciences and is dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. UCSF Health, which serves as UCSF’s primary academic medical center, includes top-ranked specialty hospitals and other clinical programs, and has affiliations throughout the Bay Area.