Sharon E. Loza, PhD
Dr. Sharon E. Loza currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Division of Child and Family Well-Being and Part C Director of the Early Intervention Section with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, she has primary oversight of the North Carolina Infant-Toddler Program (NC ITP) that provides early intervention support and services for families and their infants and toddlers with varying abilities and special needs.
Dr. Loza is also a fellow with the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations and an Act Early Ambassador for the Learn the Signs Act Early Program (Act Early) for North Carolina. Act Early is a collaborative program with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), which serves to improve early identification of developmental delays and disabilities.
In addition to her work at the state and national levels, Dr. Loza is also a research consultant with the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, and supports early childhood systems development work, collaborating with international researchers and ministries across the globe.
Dr. Loza has served in the maternal and child health and the early childhood care and education fields for over 20 years. She participated in multiple cross-sector collaborations which addressed issues of equity and access, and focused on practice and policies meant to enhance early childhood mental health, systems improvement, workforce development, research and evaluation, child outcomes, evidence-based practices, and family engagement and leadership. She brings a passion of bridging research to practice and helping facilitate policy, practice and systems changes to improve child and family well-being.
Prior to her current roles, Dr. Loza worked in various settings, including institutions of higher education, non-profit organizations, training and technical assistance centers, and clinics dedicated to improving outcomes for children and families. She worked at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, the Carolina Population Center, Marbles Kids Museum, RTI International and the Kennedy Krieger Institute; she also worked as research investigator, implementation specialist, technical assistance provider and project manager on various initiatives supporting children’s development, health, education and well-being. Dr. Loza holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and French, as well as a master’s degree in early childhood intervention and family support from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy in leadership, policy, and human development, with an emphasis on research and policy evaluation, from North Carolina State University