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Meet the team--our new Associate Director, Rebecca Cooley


Rebecca joined the team at CRI in September, 2019

What was your "aha" moment that took you into the world of ACEs and Trauma informed care?

Before I answer, I would like to say how honored and lucky I feel to have been chosen to work with Teri, Rick and others who are addressing health and wellbeing inequities. I love my job and what we do.

It was a build up. Upon moving to Walla Walla, a friend encouraged me to see Paper Tigers at a public screening at Whitman College. Then within a few months I was working as a 21st CCLC Site Director and met Teri. We were grant partners to measure resilience in my program and students. She said the word “epigenetics” and what it meant. Then she had me. I saw firsthand the difference in my approach when I had the knowledge and insight to shift my strategies. Had I known then what I know now... QTIP--”quit taking it personally”

 How does your background influence your perspective for CRI?

I was an inner city teacher fresh out of grad school wanting to change the world but overwhelmed by the needs of students who experienced trauma. I lacked the knowledge and skills to help them. I eventually burned out and moved on to healthcare, which gave me another perspective and then project management in global health research. Looking back now, I know what the root causes are of the high incidence and prevalence levels of diseases and disabilities that we were trying to measure. It's trauma and/or lack of accessibility to quality social determinants of health due to inequitable practices or systems. Society needs to address the barriers and root causes.

What are you looking forward to in 2020 for CRI?

In 2020 we have big plans for CRI. First we have already started diversifying our board to reflect the community we live in and serve. We are updating our website and social media platforms. Applying for sponsorships and grants to help us expand the reach of our work and help other communities, including a phone app, online training module and expansion of our training cadre. Plus we are undertaking research. Lots of exciting things happening this year! 

What are you currently reading?

Your Survival Instinct is Killing You and am finishing Self-Reg, while I balance it out with some fiction, The Golden Compass. I just finished reading Colson Whitehead's The Nickel Boys and I am about to start reading White Fragility. So much I want to read, never enough time.

Favorite hobbies outside of CRI.

I love to hike and spend time with my dogs to recharge. I also enjoy cooking, reading and traveling. Most important though is spending quality time with my loved ones (friends and family).

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Welcome, Rebecca! I look forward to our future collaborations .... and I love your choices of books. White Fragility is really powerful and timely given the current climate.  Congratulations on your new position, we are so lucky to have your expertise! Karen

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