Meet the Faculty

Decades of Combined Early Childhood Expertise


The Harris Institute faculty is recognized for its expertise in infant and early childhood mental health, bringing a wealth of academic, training and direct practice experience to the Institute.

Alison Steier, Ph.D., is director of the Harris Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Training Institute at Southwest Human Development in Phoenix. She also directs the in-house mental health consultation service, the Birth to Five Helpline and the Fussy Baby Program. Dr. Steier has provided infant mental health training to the Department of Child Safety and Arizona’s Juvenile Judges and Commissioners. She served as a consultant on the Governor’s Subcommittee on Child Welfare Reform and is a frequent presenter on topics related to infant mental health. She also served as a member of the board of the Infant Toddler Mental Health Coalition of Arizona and chaired the Coalition’s annual infant mental health conference from 2003-2006. Dr. Steier received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Tulane University and her masters’ and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from George Mason University. Prior to relocating to Phoenix from New Orleans, she was a member of Dr. Charles Zeanah’s “Infant Team,” which evaluates and provides intensive intervention to maltreated infants and toddlers in foster care. She also served as a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry/Neurology at Tulane University Medical Center, and as the senior psychology training clinician to advanced mental health professionals seeking to develop expertise in infant mental health. She was the child/adult clinical fellow in psychology at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital from 1994-1996, and a visiting fellow in psychology on T. Berry Brazelton’s Child Development Unit at Boston’s Children’s Hospital from 1995-1996. Dr. Steier holds a fellowship in infant mental health from Louisiana State University Medical Center and a postdoctorate in infant mental health from Tulane University Medical Center. She has published in the areas of mental health consultation and young children’s attachments to special inanimate objects (“transitional objects”).

Lorenzo Azzi, Ph.D.
, is a clinical psychologist providing infant mental health services and consultation in the Good Fit Counseling Center and to other programs within Southwest Human Development. Prior to joining Southwest Human Development, he was a clinical faculty member at Tulane University School of Medicine and served as the psychologist for the East Baton Rouge Parish and Terrebonne Parish Early Childhood Supports and Services Infant Mental Health teams in Louisiana. Dr. Azzi completed a post-doctoral fellowship on Dr. Charles Zeanah’s Tulane University/JPHSA “Infant Team,” a multidisciplinary team that evaluates and provides intensive intervention to maltreated infants and toddlers in foster care. He has trained professionals, interns, residents and undergraduate students in both child development and psychology at Tulane University, Illinois Institute of Technology and Minnesota State University. His expertise is in infant and early childhood social/emotional development, infant-parent attachment, various infant-parent psychotherapies and play therapy.

Angela Capone, Ph.D
., is a senior program manager in the Services for Children with Disabilities Department at Southwest Human Development. Her areas of expertise include: early language and literacy development, preschool curriculum and supporting early development within the context of responsive care-giving environments. Dr. Capone is currently the curriculum coordinator for Southwest Head Start at Southwest Human Development, and faculty for the Harris Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Training Institute. Prior to moving to Arizona, Dr. Capone was an associate professor at the University of Vermont, where she coordinated graduate level training for early childhood special educators and early interventionists. Dr. Capone participated in the activities of the CUPS (Children Up Stream) project, which was designed to establish a statewide system of infant/toddler mental health services. Her work with this group focused on developing competencies required of early childhood professionals relative to supporting healthy social emotional development. Dr. Capone has also worked with pediatric health care professionals to enhance the capacity of pediatric health care settings to support parents of infants and toddlers. Dr. Capone co-authored two books on working with young children and young children with disabilities.

Eva Marie Shivers, J.D., Ph.D.
, is Faculty and coordinator for the first-year Harris program. She is also the director and founder of the Institute for Child Development Research & Social Change, a non-profit action research firm at the Indigo Cultural Center. Dr. Shivers, a ZERO TO THREE Fellow (Class 2005), focuses on the developmental niche of child care to explore the evolution of frameworks for understanding families’ culturally adaptive responses to poverty. She has served as Principal Investigator on many child care studies that involve collaborating with community agencies. Prior to coming to Arizona, Dr. Shivers was a faculty member in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA’s Department of Education, Psychological Studies in Education, where she studied with Dr. Carollee Howes. Dr. Shivers also holds a law degree from Howard University School of Law, and a BA in English Literature from Arizona State University. Dr. Shivers has numerous publications and frequently presents her work throughout the country. She is currently co-editing a book on Infant Mental Health and Culture designed for practitioners, researchers and policy makers. Additional research interests include: child care policy; social and emotional development of low-income children of color; effective early education in low-income communities of color; cultural continuity between home and school; child care work force issues; provider-child attachment relationships in child care settings; and other issues surrounding culture and development. For the past five years, Dr. Shivers has also provided child care policy consultation to national, state and local government agencies and administrators. Some of her highlighted Arizona policy work includes serving on Arizona’s First Things First South Phoenix Regional Council; serving on the Governor’s Early Childhood Education P-20 Committee; and serving as Chief Research & Evaluation Specialist to the Arizona Early Education Funds.

Ana Arbel, M.A.
, is a manager for the Early Intervention Program in the Services for Children with Disabilities Department at Southwest Human Development. Her experience includes training teachers, social workers and therapists in the complexities of family-based services using a reflective practice approach. She has provided trainings and presentations on parent-child relationships and the effects of disabilities in the family context. Ana was a member of the board of directors of the Infant Toddler Mental Health Coalition of Arizona, serving as co-chair of the Training Committee. Ana has provided infant mental health consultation, helping staff reflect on their practice from a mental health perspective and providing training on the power of observation and reflection. Before joining Southwest Human Development, Ana coordinated a parenting program with the Salvation Army in Bushwick, New York, where she led parent support groups and play groups for parents and c hildren birth to five and provided parent counseling. Before moving to the United States, Ana worked with children with disabilities and their families in Haifa, Israel, and was a preschool teacher working with two- and three-year-old groups in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Anita Kochanoff, Ph.D. received her doctorate in Applied Developmental Psychology from George Mason University in 2001. She specialized in the social-emotional development of infants and preschoolers, and program evaluation research methods. During her career, she has worked on large national research projects through the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Dr. Kochanoff directed an applied research center at Temple University that focused on child and family policy. In this role she convened forums of top researchers to inform policymakers on key issues concerning young children and families. She served as an Early Childhood Consultant to Pennsylvania’s Departments of Education and Public Welfare. Her involvement in public policy has included outlining Pennsylvania’s early learning standards, defining school readiness at the local and state levels, and coordinating the planning of a state-wide evaluation of early childhood services. In addition, she has conducted several program evaluations of public and private early childhood programs at the local, state and federal levels. From 2005 to 2007, Dr. Kochanoff held an Assistant Professor position at Arizona State University, after which she provided training and technical assistance to non-profit and social service agencies serving young children and families, until joining SWHD in June of 2011. She serves as faculty for the first-year Harris program and is on the evaluation team for Smart Support - Arizona’s Early Childcare Mental Health Consultation System. She has published many articles on topics such as social competence in preschool, parent-child interactions, and the effect of child care experiences on a variety of long-term child outcomes.