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Knutson & Manaugh: Raising Resilient Oklahomans

 

Three years ago, the Potts Family Foundation began a journey like nothing we had pursued before. We purchased a license to show the documentary "Resilience - The Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope." The film defines adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress, and explains the impact on the human brain, especially in early childhood. Since October 2017, we have shown the film 204 times to more than 13,000 Oklahomans.

PFF is a dual-missioned, private family foundation focused on nonprofit capacity building, accomplished through the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits and sustainable early childhood initiatives, pursued through the OK25by25 Early Childhood Coalition. This latter focus area led us to a significant immersion into all things resilience. Since our early childhood focus areas include preventive body and brain health and two-generation family support programs, better understanding the impact of ACEs, as well as how to prevent and/or mitigate their negative impacts, was a logical path for us to take.

We have learned a great deal. First, Oklahoma has some of the highest ACE scores in the nation. Second, the major findings from the original ACE Study (www.cdc.gov) help explain why our adult health outcomes also rank so poorly. The study's major conclusion drew a clear correlation between childhood abuse and neglect and poor adult health outcomes. Thirdly, the study made it clear that time does not heal the wounds, but there are proven protective factors than can help change the outcomes. Finally, Oklahoma is blessed to have a number of professionals working on cutting-edge research in the area of mitigating and preventing trauma and improving brain and body health.

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