Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute

Elizabeth Burke Bryant Hero Award

Brown University’s Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute seeks nominations for the 2024 Elizabeth Burke Bryant Hero Award.

The Elizabeth Burke Bryant Hero Award was announced by Brown University’s Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute in the winter of 2022 to honor Elizabeth Burke Bryant’s 28-year tenure as the Executive Director of Rhode Island Kids Count, and her lifelong role as a champion of child welfare in Rhode Island and across the United States.

The Hero Award will be given to an individual, or team of individuals, who exemplify Elizabeth’s values and her commitment to improving the lives of Rhode Island’s children and families. In your nomination, please include specific examples that speak to how the nominee and their work exemplify the following values:

  • focused on child health and wellbeing, while mindful of the wellness of entire families and communities;
  • collaborative and effective;
  • driven by a commitment to social justice;
  • committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion; 
  • respectful of diverse cultures; and 
  • prideful in developing mentoring relationships with other colleagues 


While anyone working in Rhode Island, on behalf of Rhode Island’s children, is eligible, the Selection Committee is particularly interested in recognizing efforts by ‘front line’ individuals working in the community, who are likely to be overlooked by conventional award mechanisms. Individuals and teams whose primary affiliations are to Brown University are ineligible; individuals with faculty appointments at Brown are also ineligible.

The individual (or team) will be:

  • Provided with a $5000 dollar stipend (given to their organization) to further their work;
  • Recognized for their work at dinner with the Hassenfeld Institute Presidential Advisory Council on May 9, 2024;
  • Have their name put on plaques displayed at the Brown University School of Public  Health and Warren Alpert School of Medicine;
  • Recognized for their work publicly on the Hassenfeld Institute website; and  
  • In a deliberate effort to further magnify impact and broader awareness, where feasible and mutually agreed upon, award recipients and their organization will be supported through in-kind Hassenfeld Institute resources, such as evaluation expertise, survey design, data analysis, grant writing, and graduate student support.


Nominations should be sent electronically to hassenfeldinstitute@brown.edu, and must be received by March 15, 2024. In approximately one page, please include your  nominee’s: 

  • Name
  • Current position
  • History of service
  • Significant accomplishments

The qualifications of nominees will be reviewed by a Selection Committee, which will determine the award recipient. Since the Selection Committee may require further information, please include your name, organizational affiliation, how you know the nominee, email address, and telephone number. Your status as a nominator will be kept confidential.

The recipient will be recognized at the Hassenfeld Institute’s Presidential Advisory Council Dinner on May 9, 2024.

  • Burke Bryant

    Elizabeth Burke Bryant

    Elizabeth Burke Bryant served as Executive Director of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT from its inception in 1994 until November 2022. KIDS COUNT is a children’s policy and research organization that provides information on child well-being, stimulates dialogue on children’s issues, and promotes accountability and action. Rhode Island KIDS COUNT provides policy makers, community leaders, and the news media with the best available data and information on children’s health, education, safety, and economic security. The organization produces a quarterly Issue Brief Series and publishes the annual Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Factbook.

    Referred to as ‘a hero for children and for justice,’ Elizabeth is widely considered to be Rhode Island’s most effective advocate for children. Under her leadership, KIDS COUNT helped achieve a nationally recognized Pre-K program in Rhode Island, full-day kindergarten, near universal children’s health insurance coverage, a significant reduction in childhood lead poisoning, and reversal of a law that allowed 17-year-olds to be tried as adults and sent to adult prison.

    A native of Providence, Elizabeth received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Vermont and a law degree from George Washington University. Her previous positions include Policy Director for the City of Providence, Housing Court prosecutor, and consultant to Rhode Island Housing, The Rhode Island Foundation, and the Women's Prison Mentoring Project. Elizabeth previously served as Co-Chair of the Rhode Island Early Learning Council and was named USA TODAY's 2023 Woman of the Year for Rhode Island. She is currently a Professor of the Practice of Health Services, Policy and Practice at the Brown University School of Public Health.