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Changes and Good Things to Come in Johnson City, Tennessee


(l to r - Becky Haas; Topper Academy Principal Melanie Riden-Bacon, Dr. Andi Clements)

Today it's with much reflection that I'm leaving behind a wonderful, six year journey working at the Johnson City Police Department as Crime Prevention Program Coordinator.  With great excitement, I've accepted a newly created position at Ballad Health as the Trauma Informed Administrator. 

In my new role I'll be responsible for oversight and implementation of trauma informed strategies not only for Ballad Health, and Niswonger Children's Hospital but within communities throughout the region. 

Building upon the work we've done in creating the Johnson City System of Care, training and support will now have opportunities to "ramp up" for professionals within schools, law enforcement, medical, mental health, business and more. 

As I reflect back on my time working in the police department, my life has been impacted immeasurably. In 2014, when I first heard about trauma-informed care, I felt as if I'd heard something as compelling as "the cure for cancer" and with great urgency, I needed to educate my town. Now four years later, in partnership with Dr. Andi Clements from the East Tennessee State University's Psychology Department, we've created a community-wide system of care that's gaining national attention. 

Agency and organizational partners affiliated with our System of Care continue to inspire us by their levels of commitment to bringing hope and resiliency to those they serve as they integrate compassion and kindness into their programming. To my amazement, next April, I'll be privileged to be working with the First Lady of Delaware who visited Johnson City this past September to learn more about our System of Care. In the summer of 2019, the Oklahoma City Police Department has scheduled me to come and provide Trauma Informed Policing Training to command staff as they put a plan in place to train all 2,500 officers in their department. 

Ironically I've spent my last day working for the police department by preparing and serving a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal, with volunteers from my church, for all 150 students and staff at Topper Academy. For those who have followed my blog posts of Johnson City becoming trauma-responsive, Topper Academy is our local "Paper Tigers" miracle. 

As I was serving teenagers, who all so politely thanked me for the food, I couldn't help but sense that in Northeast Tennessee, the focus is shifting from "What's happened to you?" to "What is great about you?" as the tide of resilience is rising.

You can be sure as I move to Ballad Health that our story will continue!  Happy heart is full.

To learn more about the Johnson City System of Care contact 


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Gail Kennedy (ACEs Connection Staff) posted:

Congratulations Becky and to all of Johnson City!  Becky, i would LOVE to see your job description of your new position if you would be willing to share it?!

Thanks Gail.  Not sure I can share it because it's in a HR Portal but basically since Ballad leadership is growing in their understanding of trauma informed care/ACEs science they basically brought me here as a "subject matter expert".  My job description includes - maintaining a voice in the national conversation (as I have already been), training for all professional sectors (schools, police, judicial, healthcare, mental health, etc.)  and continuing to grow the system of care, partnering with ETSU to conduct research on outcomes (first developing what measurements we want to follow), being part of public policy as it's developed (I already have been on this through CTIPP), development of on-line trainings for their 18k team members, marketing and raising public awareness.   I get to develop what this program will look like with goals of improving community health OUTSIDE of needing a hospital, doctor or clinic.

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