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Next "A Better Normal" community discussion series: April 3, 2020/ Maternal health and pediatrics in the time of COVID-19


Steve Sack • Star Tribune

The "Better Normal" community discussion for Friday, April 3, 2020, features two wonderful staff members from ACEs Connection: Karen Clemmer, community facilitator for the Northwest, Far Northern California, Alaska and Hawaii; and reporter Laurie Udesky, who is also community manager for the ACEs in Pediatrics community on 

Karen Clemmer
Join them at noon PT/ 1 pm MT/ 2 pm CT/ 3 pm ET and share your thoughts, ideas, questions, concerns, and solutions around the following: 

  • What we are we all doing in our ACEs in Maternal Health and  ACEs in Pediatrics communities.
  • What kinds of resources and information do health care providers need? 
  • What are examples of workarounds for ensuring that patients receive care during the COVID-19 pandemic, and which of those might become permanent?
    Laurie Udesky
  • How does a warm handoff work between health care providers and community-based organizations during COVID-19?

Parents, professionals, and interested people are encouraged to participate.

We'll exchange lessons learned so far over these last three weeks, and build our capacity to reach across silos and to support one another.

Join Zoom Meeting (more info at bottom of post, with call-in numbers)
Meeting ID: 299 661 658

On Thursday, April 2, Vic Compher, who co-produced CAREGIVERS (Portraits of Professional CAREgivers: Their Passion, Their Pain) with Rodney Whittenberg, joined the Better Normal community discussion. 

He brought an entire team of people from the secondary traumatic stress committees from the Philadelphia ACE Task Force (PATF). They addressed secondary traumatic stress (STS) issues what they're doing to address the future, after COVID-19, which includes the Philadelphia Council's Resolution to OSHA, the Policy “Toolkit” Committee’s goal to promote staff resiliency programming in Philly through collaboration and provision of online resources, how they're engaging unions, and how they created their policy committees. And they addressed the now — how they're supporting professional caregivers through Zoom support sessions that will start next week. (Those will be posted on

The STS policy team members included:

Laura Vega — co-chair (with Vic) of the Policy Toolkit committee — Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)
Carolyn-Smith Brown — Project Manager of the policy committees (staff of The Health Federation of Philadelphia)
Meghan Johnson — Philadelphia Child Advocacy Center
Meghan Gannon — Jefferson University Hospital and Medical School
Caroline Menapace and Kirsten Kohser — both also of CHOP
Nicole Fuller — Executive Director — PhilaPOSH
Betty Lee Davis — psychotherapist (primary author of the City Council Resolution)

They discussed the history and plans to have secondary stress recognized as an occupational hazard by OSHA, and their work during the COVID-19 pandemic to nurture professional caregivers who are serving families.

March 26, 2020

We've got a name for our community discussion/brainstorming series!

We're calling it: A Better Normal.

Here's the reasoning. We really didn't like that "normal" didn't provide healthcare for everyone, required many parents to work two or three jobs to support their families and hardly ever spend time with their children, didn't provide enough family leave for parents to spend time with newborns or with ill children, left millions of people hungry, hundreds of thousands of people homeless, didn't provide equity in education, saddled a generation with an extreme burden of college debt, didn't provide enough economic support if you lost your job, and left millions looking at a future without hope of getting ahead, while the richest in our society kept getting richer. 

So, we're going for a better normal that a lot of countries already have. The influenza epidemic of 1918-1919 killed 675,000 people in the U.S. and 50 million worldwide. Out of that catastrophe came a strong and remarkable public health and pandemic preparedness system that has decayed over the last couple of decades (although there was enough of the pandemic preparedness system to get us through this, if it had been used) , and left us scrambling. Just as our great-grandparents and grandparents survived and created a better normal for the public health system in 1920, we can take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and create a better normal in healthcare, family services, public health, businesses, education, housing, etc. in 2020.

This ACEs Connection community is positioned to provide education about why integrating ACEs science can lead to a much better normal, as well as policies and practices based on ACEs science. Over the next two or three months, we'll explore many examples of a better normal so that we're ready to implement the best practices and policies on the other side of this pandemic.     

So, ACEs Connection's A Better Normal convo for March 27 has a guest: Nada Yorke, Yorke Consulting, who's put together a great batterer's intervention course that integrates ACEs science. Here's a link to an article from 2017 about several people, including Yorke, who were integrating ACEs science into batterer interventions courses and providing an opening to drastically reducing domestic violence. 

She'll give us details about how she developed the course, and the remarkable results she's seen. She'll also provide tips for helping families that are very stressed and may have been dealing with violence, emotional abuse, neglect and other issues before the COVID-19 outbreak, and now are struggling to survive indoors together.  

Join Zoom Meeting (more info at bottom of post, with call-in numbers)
Meeting ID: 299 661 658


Thursday, March 26, 2020: ACEs Connection's Cissy White will explain:

  • How figuring out what support is right now is a challenge.
  • How to grapple with anxiety, even though we know, with our knowledge about ACEs science, what’s happening, and how difficult it is to regulate.  

Join Zoom Meeting (more info at bottom of post, with call-in numbers)
Meeting ID: 299 661 658

On Friday, Nada Yorke, who integrated ACEs science into her batterer's intervention course, will be here to talk with us. 


Wednesday, March 25, 2020 

Taking Care of Our Patients, Our Teams, and Ourselves: Trauma-Informed Practices to Address Stress Related to COVID-19

Register for the webinar, sponsored by the ACEs Aware Initiative.

Speakers include Edward Machtinger, MD, Alicia Lieberman, PhD, and Brigid McCaw, MD, MPH, MS, FACP


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Today, about 20 people participated in a great discussion about what several of us are doing, particularly in communities and families. We'll provide a link to the video and attach the chat in this post, when they're available, and figure out how to keep a running list of all the good ideas. 

Last Friday, about 75 people gathered on a Zoom call — here's the video — to brainstorm about whether ACEs Connection should host a brainstorming/chat/hangout/informal webinar/community discussion a few days a week over the next few weeks.

The consensus was: Let's Do It!  So we are.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at 12:00 PM Pacific/ 3:00 PM Eastern we'll convene again on a Zoom call (info below), to talk about what we've come up with so far, our plans for this week, and to get more feedback and ideas from you who attend. 

Attached is the text chat, in case you want to read through it. There seemed to be great interest in how people are integrating ACEs science in domestic violence during these difficult times, as well as in child abuse, substance abuse and secondary trauma in first responders. I'm contacting some folks who can speak to those topics with an ACEs science lens.

Given the news, it looks as if we'll have plenty of chances to talk about topics, how this pandemic is adding a new approach to our work, and how we can take advantage of what we learn to create a more self-healing world.  

btw, To remind us to take it be nice to realize that we're in for a long slog, but we'll get to the other side if we're patient and help each other, here's the tweet by Prof. Aisha Ahmad that I read on the call. It's her fabulous advice about productivity. 


Topic: ACEs Connection Community Discussion - COVID-19 Series
Time: Mar 26, 2020 12:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
        Mar 27, 2020 12:00 PM - Friday
        Mar 31, 2020 12:00 PM - Tuesday
        Apr 2, 2020 12:00 PM - Thursday
        Apr 3, 2020 12:00 PM - Friday

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We're still sorting that out. Right now, I'm updating this blog post by adding to the top of it and updating the posting date. My plan is to provide a schedule for the week and put it in  Monday's Daily Digest. And our goal is to have three "Better Normal" convos a week on Zoom. All subject to change, of course. We're building the ship as we're sailing it!

Angie Roth posted:

I attempted to join the call yesterday and was unable to do so. Do we have to register first, or just use the access link to be able to join? I am watching the call from yesterday now! Thank you for recording it. 

Hi Angie:

I'm sorry you had trouble joining yesterday. Here's the link for joining today: Click here to join at 12pm PDT

You do not need to pre-register.

I attempted to join the call yesterday and was unable to do so. Do we have to register first, or just use the access link to be able to join? I am watching the call from yesterday now! Thank you for recording it. 

I am a doctoral candidate at University of Georgia. It is absolutely essential that those in the ACE community critically consider the ACE model and its concerning eugenic parallels--especially in relation to Covid19. If there is interest, I would be happy to host a free webinar to share my work, concerns, and research from scholars abroad who have been analyzing these connections over the last three years. Please comment below if you have an interest in discussing potential misuses and dangerous trajectories relating to the ACE model.


Last edited by Alex Winninghoff
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