Resilience Milestone

Shortly after purchasing the documentary film Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope, the Potts Family Foundation (PFF) strategized how best to share the potential impact this film could have on policy makers and within individual communities across the state of Oklahoma. Discussions related to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their impact on children’s social, emotional and cognitive development, as well as the resultant poor health outcomes in adults, could be a difficult subject to address in public.
While the ACEs Study is over 20 years old, very few Oklahomans were aware of the study and its findings. We have lamented as a state for decades about our low educational and health outcomes without fully understanding the underlying causes of those outcomes. Viewing the film multiple times with a diverse audience of professionals helped us to better understand the correlations and causations.

What we learned was that many of those poor outcomes could be linked back to the level of trauma our children (“all adults were once children”) had been exposed to early in their lives, community dialogs might be the most effective way share both the historical problems AND proven treatment remedies are now available.

On October 12, 2017, PFF coordinated with Rose State College to do the first two public showings of the film. The combined audiences from those two showings exceeded 600 people . . . and it was then that we realized we just might be onto something very special. Looking back 16 months later tells us we know we are.

On January 30, 2018, PFF celebrated its 100th showing of the Resilience film at the Oklahoma Children’s Hospital to an audience of 17 for Leadership OKC Class 37. That showing raised our attendance estimate for those 100 showings to nearly 6,500 Oklahomans! To say we are proud of this accomplishment would be an understatement. To say that we are done would be short-sighted and incorrect.

One of the most powerful excerpts from the film is a statement from Dr. Rob Anda, suggesting a paradigm shift from saying “what’s wrong with you” to asking “what happened to you?” Going forward, we at PFF will continue to educate Oklahomans about the impact of ACEs, but we must also move our emphasis from “the problem” to “solutions”. Those solutions must include short-term remediation to help offset the existing behavioral issues (Protective and Compensatory Experiences or PACEs) and long-term public policy and programmatic actions that are more preventive in nature.

We have and will continue to collaborate with educators, health and behavioral health practitioners, law enforcement, state and local politicians, and the faith-based community to develop evidence-informed therapies and smart policies that address both short- and long-term solutions for the state. We need your help to become better informed and engaged in addressing what the film states is “the public health crisis of our lifetime”!

Craig Knutson, cknutson@pottsfamilyfoundation.org; President/CEO, Potts Family Foundation

Linda Manaugh, lmanaugh@pottsfamilyfoundation.org; Director, Communications & Program Support, Potts Family Foundation

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Jane, we did 14 in 2017 (2 1/2 months), 75 in 2018 and 17 as of this Saturday. We know that several others purchased their own copy of the film as a result of our work and therefore we have no idea how many showings have occurred as a result. The energy and interest continue to keep us busy!

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