April 2017

A Heart for "Children from Hard Places" in Coeur d'Alene

Another stop on my 3-week fellowship trip, visiting trauma-informed communities in the Pacific Northwest and Canada, was in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Here's a summary of some of the work they're doing to implement trauma-informed care in their agencies that serve children, youth and families: Coeur d'Alene's journey to implement trauma-informed practices in their schools and youth-serving agencies got kicked off in a big way with a keynote presentation in October, 2014 to the Idaho School...

How Childhood Stress Can Knock 20 Years Off Your Life (www.theguardian.com)

Note: A friend sent this article to my boyfriend about that "ACE stuff" this weekend. I sense tipping point. Every time I read an article like this, it sobers me. The fact always sober me. But I also feel hope because there's so much to learn as parents and as a community about how healthful it is to be without all this toxic stress. That's that part, that as a parent, is so motivating. As parents and people in direct contact with kids, we have a lot of power to use for good and to make...

ACEs-Related Depression -- Genes, Environment, Both?

It's timely that I post this now, given the recent news release supposedly saying that some people may have a genetic vulnerability to suffering from PTSD. Whoever posted this made no mention before posting of the steps necessary to be taken before accepting the post at face value -- That'll be the focus of a further blog post I'll be submitting in a couple of days. Today, I just wish to post some more news, about a LACK of a once proposed genetic vulnerability (as reflected in a single...

Leveraging collaboration and brain science to end cycles of poverty and trauma at CUPS-Calgary

Here's another post from my 3-week fellowship trip, visiting trauma-informed communities in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. This one is about the Calgary Urban Project Society, or CUPS, and how they're leveraging brain science and collaboration to end cycles of poverty and trauma: The Calgary Urban Project Society, or CUPS, was founded in 1989 with a vision to help people overcome the challenges of poverty and attain brighter futures. Over the past couple of years, with their involvement...

Parent Partners and a Bridge to the Business World: Wisconsin MARC Update

Joann Stephens will never forget the meeting at which a man pounded the table. Stephens, who has a high school education, a history of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and children with mental health issues, became an accidental advocate. “The systems were not working for my kid, so [I thought], What do we do to fix it?” But at meetings with policy-makers and professionals, Stephens often felt discounted. “One time, a man pounded his fist on the table and said, ‘I can’t stand it when...

Making SEL the DNA of a School [GreaterGoodBerkeley.edu]

Districts and schools all over the country are working hard to make social-emotional learning ( SEL ) a part of the “DNA” of the educational process, meaning they’re going beyond just the adoption of an SEL curricula and are incorporating SEL into school climate, discipline policies, teacher professional development, and the like. But for educational leaders who are new to SEL or who are trying to figure out where to start, this process can seem overwhelming. [For more of this story, written...

America’s Other Drug Problem [ProPublica.org]

Every week in Des Moines, Iowa, the employees of a small nonprofit collect bins of unexpired prescription drugs tossed out by nursing homes after residents died, moved out or no longer needed them. The drugs are given to patients who couldn’t otherwise afford them. But travel 1,000 miles east to Long Island, New York, and you’ll find nursing homes flushing similar leftover drugs down the toilet, alarming state environmental regulators worried they’ll further contaminate the water supply. In...

Where Are All the Preschoolers? [TheAtlantic.com]

The city of Springfield, Massachusetts, has had a serendipitous sequence of events supercharge its preschool-expansion efforts. Federal money came in just as local support for early-childhood education crested, and the closure of an early-childhood center created an opening for the school district to buy an existing facility. The federal money, offered to Springfield and four other Massachusetts communities through the Preschool Expansion Grant program, enabled 195 new seats to go to...

Improving Health Care Outcomes: It’s About Relationships! [Hogg.UTexax.edu]

This April 24th article published by the Commonwealth Fund is timely and a must-read. It highlights the challenges of engaging, treating, and supporting persons with multiple, complex, chronic health conditions (defined as three or more health conditions, often including mental health). It supports what the Hogg Foundation believes in: integrated health care, team-based care, care coordination and relationships . In short, treating people with respect, dignity and worth. [For more of this...

Study finds first molecular genetic evidence of PTSD heritability [HSPH.Harvard.edu]

A large new study from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium provides the first molecular genetic evidence that genetic influences play a role in the risk of getting Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after trauma. The report extends previous findings that showed that there is some shared genetic overlap between PTSD and other mental disorders such as schizophrenia. It also finds that genetic risk for PTSD is strongest among women . The study was published online April 25, 2017 in Molecular...

The world needs more humanity if it’s going to solve the refugee crisis, activists urge at TED conference [WashingtonPost.com]

In separate, rousing talks Wednesday night, two refugee activists told an audience filled with influential scientists and big thinkers that all the strides in technology have done little to enhance our humanity and that the onus was now on them to help solve the refugee crisis. “I believe the biggest question in the 21st century concerns our duty to strangers,” said David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee. “The world is more connected than ever before, yet the great...

What Was Lost in the Fires of the L.A. Riots [CityLab.com]

The public life of Rodney King begins on March 3, 1991, when the African-American man was clubbed and kicked relentlessly by a gang of LAPD officers during a traffic stop. It ends on June 17, 2012, when he was found dead in his swimming pool at age 47. The autopsy showed that an “ alcohol and drug-induced delirium ” led to his drowning. Before that point, he had been revolving in and out of rehab for substance abuse, a problem he attributed to trauma from the beating he took from cops. His...

Trauma-informed mentoring at BBBS-Calgary

Our local community foundation has awarded me a year-long fellowship to delve into the topics of trauma, trauma-informed communities and resilience. Part of the fellowship includes a 3-week trip I'm currently on to visit agencies and communities that have done some in-depth work to implement trauma-informed care, to learn all I can from them to take back to our own community in Lancaster County, PA. I am blogging about each of the places I visit and thought the ACES Connection community...

CA pediatrician develops, tests, gets state OK for whole-child assessment tool that includes ACEs

Over the last dozen years or so, many pediatricians, astounded by the ramifications of the science of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on the children they care for, began integrating this science into their practices. The most common approach has been to ask parents about ACEs using a questionnaire, and to use this information to counsel parents and identify resources for the family. Different practices have been using different questionnaires: Some ask parents for their ACE scores...

The Privilege of School Choice [CityLab.com]

On November 23, the morning after his home was drawn into a different school zone, Mark Gonsalves slipped out of his office in Midtown Manhattan and rode the subway to the Upper West Side. He met his wife outside a tan-brick building on West 61st Street. It was P.S. 191. Together, they entered the school’s library, a sparse room with butterfly stickers pasted to the wall and wooden shelves full of donated books. A promotional video was playing. It showed children of different races smiling...

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