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Roanoke appoints VTC child development researchers as chief science officers

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Sharon and Craig Ramey

Sharon Landesman Ramey and Craig Ramey, both professors and researchers at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, have been named Roanoke's chief science officers for human development.

Roanoke has named two child development researchers as the city's chief science officers for human development.

City manager Chris Morrill appointed Sharon Landesman Ramey and Craig Ramey, both professors and researchers at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, to the volunteer posts.

Morrill said in a news release that the Rameys have shared their experiences, talents and time to improve the community and “have agreed to take on this more formal role with the city as they continue to play a critical role in our community-building efforts.”

In their roles as chief science officers for human development, the Rameys will provide time and expertise in the areas of child and family development, data analysis and community-based participatory partnerships, the release said. The goal is help make rapid progress in improving Roanoke children’s health and educational achievement.

Morrill cited the Rameys’ contribution to Star City Reads, a program that aims to have all children reading at third-grade level by that grade. The program earned Roanoke an unprecedented sixth All-America City award and brought recognition as a national model.

Roanoke’s city council passed a resolution allowing the city manager to appoint the Rameys on May 2. A Roanoke City Council resolution commending the Rameys called them “a collaborative force in forming successful partnerships between the Roanoke City Public Schools, the Roanoke City Public Libraries, Total Action for Progress Head Start, Child Health Investment Partnerships, and the United Way of Roanoke to find school-specific academic and support programs for children in the City of Roanoke.”

The Rameys both study human development and look at how experiences in early life impact health and intellectual development.

“This is an exciting and unprecedented opportunity to share our scientific knowledge and to work collaboratively with the community to put this knowledge into practical programs to benefit children and families,” Craig Ramey said.

“We are deeply honored to serve in this new role. Roanoke is a dynamic city that is receptive to innovation and improvement – particularly to create greater equity in education, health, and employment outcomes across all neighborhoods,” said Landesman Ramey. “Together, I think we can take science from the lab into our communities, and apply powerful data analytics to help drive informed decisions and wise investments in human capital.”

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