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ACEs Science Champions

ACEs Champion: Rafael A. Maravilla merges his past with his love for science

Rafael Maravilla has what seems the ideal academic background for his job as ACEsConnection network manager and community facilitator for central California. Not only does he have a B.S. in neurobiology from University of California, Berkeley, but he also has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UC Merced, thus combining an understanding of human biology with insights into human behavior. He also has an ACE score of 9. The eldest child of a Mexican farmworker who was an alcoholic and not...

Vanessa Lohf integrates ACEs science throughout Kansas communities, organizations and systems

A Kansas-licensed social worker, Vanessa Lohf was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, where she still lives and works in public health by facilitating the Trauma-Informed Systems of Care Initiatives (TISC) team at the Wichita State University Community Engagement Institute. She also manages the Kansas ACEsConnection network , where she regularly posts about news and resources for communities and organizations throughout the state. Lohf says that Wichita is known as the “Aircraft Capital of...

Ann Penn-Charles casts a wide net to reduce generational trauma in Washington State coastal tribes

You could say that Ann Penn-Charles, a native of La Push, Washington, was a natural resilience builder even before there was an ACE Study. La Push is a Native American reservation on the western edge of Olympic National Park, where the Quileute Nation ancestors of “Miss Ann”, as she is known, have lived for generations. Although she faced hardships growing up on the reservation, including having her first child when she was a junior in high school, she was able to graduate with the support...

ACEs Champion Dana Kwitnicki — An ACEs Tale of Two Counties

Growing up in suburban New Jersey, Dana Kwitnicki, a physician assistant, says she always wanted to be in health care. Her dad is a dentist, her mother a teacher, and she grew up with several other family members also in medicine. Kwitnicki learned about becoming a PA while attending Northeastern University in Boston, MA, where she earned a degree in health sciences. After undergraduate school, she earned a Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies at Philadelphia University through a vigorous...

Linda Grabbe: Helping her communities develop resilience through the Community Resilience Model

Grabbe searched for models that would help her homeless and addicted patients. “There are good body-based models for psychotherapy, which may be the most effective approach for trauma,” she says, “but hardly any of my patients were receiving any kind of therapy. There are thousands of people in our communities who have high ACE scores who will never get the years of psychotherapy they deserve. CRM is a self-mental wellness care tool and is exquisitely trauma-sensitive—so it can help enormously.”

ACEs Champion Danette Glass says COVID-19 increases the need for trauma-informed communities

Glass’s mission has always been to protect and foster the practice of nurturing children. That’s because she herself experienced at least five types of adverse childhood experiences, as measured in the original CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study). If the scale could account for childhood adversity such as structural racism and community violence that’s more likely to occur in communities of color, her burden of ACEs is higher.

ACEs Champion Julie Kurtz Gives Every Child (and Adult) a Voice

Julie Kurtz hasn’t stopped creating ways to build and promote resilience in herself and others who have experienced trauma since she left her family home for college at age 18. Although she experienced four types of adversity during her childhood, the CEO of the Center for Optimal Brain Integration has traveled a complex journey to mitigate those adversities by recognizing her own internal resilience, building skills to buffer her toxic and traumatic stress, uncovering her voice through...

Heyman Oo integrates ACEs science as foundation of pediatric care

Dr. Heyman Oo, a 34-year-old primary care pediatrician, first learned about the science of adverse childhood experiences in medical school at a grand rounds held around 2012 at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, which she attended from 2009 to 2014. The presenter was none other than Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a pediatrician who went on to become California’s first Surgeon General. The founder and former director of the Center for Youth Wellness drew millions of views for her TED talk on...

ACEs Science Champion Series: Dr. Angela Bymaster: This Faith-Based Physician Integrates ACEs Science with Healing Arts

Dr. Angela Bymaster, a family physician at Washington Elementary School in San Jose, CA, operates her clinic in a portable unit on the school property. Because the unit faces students as they are dropped off by their families, she gets to “pick up the kids” before they are sent to the clinic, practicing “upstream medicine.”

ACEs Science Champions Series: Because of Andres Perez, 10,000+ Latinx parents in Northern California embrace trauma-informed parenting

Andres Perez immigrated to San Jose, Calif., from Mexico in 1990. He was 24 years old, undocumented, knew little English, lacked job skills, and had a pregnant wife to support. He hit the ground running by completing an ESL program in San Jose City College, and, while working days at any job he could find, at night he earned an associate of science degree with specialization in electronics and computers in 2002. Fortunately for thousands of Latinx parents and their children, he never worked...

ACEs Science Champions Series: Meet Florida's Johnny Appleseed. She plants seeds of ACEs science!

Dr. Mimi Graham is Florida’s Johnny Appleseed, but instead of planting apple trees, she’s been seeding hundreds of ACEs-science-informed schools, courts, juvenile detention centers, hospitals, childcare centers, home visiting programs, mental health agencies, law enforcement agencies, and drug treatment centers. Graham, who has served as director of the Florida State University Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy in Tallahassee since 1993, focuses on early childhood,...

ACEs Science Champions Series: Byron Hall: A mentor rich with experience counsels teen parents in NC

Byron Hall mentors adolescent parents for the Community Enrichment Organization , a nonprofit in Tarboro, NC, which partners with a program that supports to keep adolescent parents in school. One of the parents he mentors is 13 years old. At the age of 17, Hall was an adolescent parent himself, growing up with a single parent in the Bronx, NY, then an African American community where drug-dealing and prostitution were common. For the counselor, helping these young men and women, who are...

ACEs Science Champions Series: Eulanda Thorne Applies ACEs Science Awareness at School and at Home

Eulanda Thorne and her children (L to R) Sarah, Joshua, Leah, Emmanuel When school counselor Eulanda Thorne discovered the science of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in 2018, she felt as if she were on fire. “I felt that I had missed a vital part of my education. Anyone who is in college for social work or teaching, a class on ACEs and trauma should be a required course.” Without an understanding of ACEs, she says, “I would think the students who are sent to me are being defiant or...

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