As mentioned in the weekly newsletter, we'll be doing mini-profiles of ACEsConnection members. We of the ACEsConnection team will go first, and we're taking different approaches to telling our stories. Mine's a Q-and-A.
Q. What personal or professional moment or event in your life inspired you to work on ACEs?
A. With an ACE score of 7, I was obviously primed for this, although I went through most of my life not knowing that. As a health/science/technology journalist, I'd done reporting about violence epidemiology in the 1980s, when the CDC first included violence as a public health issue. But the risk factors identified at the time, mostly environmental, seemed incomplete. When I first heard about the ACE Study in 2004, and about the neurobiology of toxic stress shortly thereafter, everything clicked into place, and I knew I wanted to write and report about this groundbreaking research.
Q. How would you like to see trauma-informed practices shape your field?
A. I'd like to see journalists learn about the research and practices around adverse childhood experiences, because it affects so much of what we report on: crime, violence, health, housing, education, war, even politics. I think trauma-informed journalists would ask better questions and provide more useful information to communities that are grappling with some very serious problems. I also think that being a trauma-informed journalist means being a solution-oriented journalist. That doesn't mean advocating for a particular solution to a problem; it means not stopping at describing a problem, but exploring what people are doing -- or not doing -- to solve the problem.
Q. If you encounter or deal with trauma often in your work, what coping skills do you rely on to stay happy and healthy?
A. Biking, running, swimming (living in California makes those activities easy to do year-round), meditation, spending time with friends, playing with my cats, reading mysteries, and, lately, gardening. My most tenacious unhealthy coping skill is work. I don't do enough of the healthy coping skills...i.e, I don't take enough time to recharge my batteries. I lived in Bali, Indonesia, for a while. The mantra there was "Live your life in balance." It's was easier to do that there than here, where the culture encourages workaholism.