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ACEs is gathering crowds

GreenroomWSThis was posted by Jane Stevens last night. Read about Yolo Co efforts which are featured prominently in her story!


Last Thursday, on opposite sides of the country, two groundbreaking projects launched. In Philadelphia, 14 communities were awarded $100,000 to $300,000 for two years to expand their “innovative work in addressing childhood adversity” through the MARC (Mobilizing action for resilient communities) learning collaborative. The project is managed by the Health Federation of Philadelphia and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment.


In San Francisco, about 300 people from seven Bay Area counties gathered in the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center — where the United Nations charter was signed 50 years ago — to mark the launch of Trauma Transformed. Known as T2, the regional effort – representing the San Francisco Department of Public Health and seven Bay Area counties – is funded by a four-year, $4-million grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 


San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Center for Youth Wellness founder Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, UCSF Child Trauma Research Program director Dr. Alicia Lieberman, youth leader Sinead Anderson (“I am ACEs"), and several county directors of health spoke briefly to the crowd. The mood was celebratory, because of the commitment and passion in the room, yet humbling because of the understanding at the remarkable challenge this greater community has taken on. 


And this week, the Maine Resilience Building Network is hosting that state’s first ACEs conference. About 300 people plan to discuss ACEs history/screening initiatives in healthcare and social services, trauma-informed schools, and ACEs prevention at the community level; and to hear Dr. Robert Anda, co-principle investigator of the CDC-Kaiser Permanente ACE Study, and Dr. Ken Ginsburg, professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. I’ve been invited to relate how people and communities are using and ACEsTooHigh. What will I say? 


First, that on ACEsConnection, nearly 6,200 people from across the sectors of healthcare, social services, education, criminal and juvenile justice, and the faith-based, business and civic communities are now talking with each other, sending each other ideas and resources, meeting with each other, writing about what they’re doing, and making plans to implement and/or are implementing trauma-informed, resilience-building practices in families, organizations, systems, and communities. 


Over the last year, page views on have increased from 300,000/month to 400,000/month, and will likely hit 500,000/month by the end of 2015. Stories on receive from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of page views each. 


By watching what the communities on the network do, listening to your suggestions, and facilitating connections, we have developed a system that collects, amplifies and catalyzes the best tools, practices and methods developed by this community and we have made them available for anyone to use. 


For example, we created an ACEs 101 in the form of an FAQ on and, as well as an Adverse Childhood Experiences Study page on Wikipedia. We created a Roadmap to Resilience toolkit v. 1.0 for cities, counties and states to guide them on their journey to becoming trauma-informed. It includes an assets-mapping tool, a logic model, handouts, mission statements, steering committee agenda, tag lines, presentations – all of which have been created and freely shared by our communities. We continually update the toolkit with tools and information developed by communities. Parent handouts about ACEs developed by public health nurses in Spokane, WA, that we posted to the network were downloaded by thousands of people within a matter of a few weeks and are being used in hundreds of communities across the U.S; 


Here’s an example of how ACEsConnection and ACEsTooHigh work in concert to fuel this movement: 


In 2012, we published a story on about Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA, the first trauma-informed high school in the U.S. It went viral, with more than 750,000 page views to date. The story caught the attention of filmmaker James Redford, who decided to do a documentary about the school. 


In Summer 2014, six people founded the Yolo Resilience Network in Yolo County, CA, and started the Yolo County ACEs Connection group on They began doing presentations about ACEs; the most receptive sector was education. Because school districts had already started training on restorative justice, they were interested in why we said that restorative justice is a great tool, but would take the districts only part-way to their goals. Within six months, the leaders of three major school districts decided to transform their schools to become trauma-informed. But the healthcare community wasn’t interested. 


Our rationale for creating interest-based and geographic-based groups on ACEsConnection is that if there are people in a sector in a local community that are resistant to implementing trauma-informed/resilience-building practices, we can connect them with early adopters in the same sector in other communities, through interest-based groups. If law enforcement in Denver doesn’t think that ACEs is useful, we can put them in touch with police chiefs who do. If physicians in Walla Walla, WA, aren’t interested in integrating ACEs into their practice, we can connect them with pediatricians in Portland, OR, who are. 


Redford released Paper Tigers in 2015, and we facilitated screenings in dozens of communities across the U.S. More than 500 people attended two screenings in Yolo County. As intended, the documentary provided the final inspiration to rally local educators behind their leaders to make local schools trauma-informed. 


And it had one other result. Two physicians also attended the screenings. One, an oncologist, approached us for information so that he could set up seminars for physicians in his healthcare system, as well as for those in the across the Northern Sacramento Valley region, where he directs continuing medical education. The other, a pediatrician, wanted information about other pediatric practices. We provided her with two stories we published on about pediatricians who had integrated ACEs into their practices, and connected her with a pediatrician who can do a workshop for her clinic. 


This is just one example of how all of us who are building and participating in this community help accelerate the ACEs movement….by significantly reducing the time it normally takes for good ideas developed by early innovators to reach newcomers to the movement who can use those ideas in their own sectors and communities. This is the way that a movement catches the wave, and magnifies it: Those newcomers enhance the ideas and give them back, to further energize and grow the community. 


Posted by Jane Stevens, ACEs Connection, November 2, 2015


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