About This Site

ACEs Connection: Supporting Communities to Accelerate ACEs Science

ACEs Connection is a social network that supports communities to accelerate the global ACEs science movement, recognizes the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in shaping adult behavior and health, and promotes trauma-informed and resilience-building practices and policies in all communities and institutions -- from schools to prisons to hospitals and churches -- to help heal and develop resilience instead of traumatizing already traumatized people.

ACEs Connection receives generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The California Endowment, the Lisa & John Pritzker Family Fund, the George Sarlo Foundation, and Genentech. The network creates a safe place and a trusted source where members share information, explore resources and access tools that help them work together to create resilient families, systems and communities. A companion site, ACEsTooHigh.com, provides news for the general public

People who join ACEsConnection:

  • Automatically receive a Daily Digest and a Weekly Roundup. These are sent via MailChimp, so if you don’t want to receive a Daily Digest or a Weekly Roundup, just scroll to the bottom and unsubscribe.
  • Can find and connect with other ACEsConnection members.
  • Can join existing neighborhood, city, county, state, national communities that are implementing ACEs-, trauma- informed and resilience-building practices; or can start an ACEs initiative in their community.
  • Post blogs and comments, post questions to the community, and join discussions.
  • Access a resource center that includes information about ACE surveys and training.
  • Access Growing Resilient Communities 2.0, which provides guidelines and tools for communities to start and grow their ACEs initiatives. The tools include a Community Tracker, which allows ACEs initiatives to track their ACEs presentations by sector. It also includes a milestones tracker to see where organizations in a community are on their journey to integrating trauma-informed and resilience-building practices based on ACEs sciences.

If you have any questions about ACEsConnection.com, feel free to contact any one of the team members listed below.

To start a community site in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic states, please contact:

Cissy White, cwhite@acesconnection.com

To start a community site in the South, contact:

Carey Sipp, csipp@acesconnection.com

To start a community site in the West or Northwest, except California, contact:

Karen Clemmer, kclemmer@acesconnection.com

To start an interest-based community site, please contact:

Gail Kennedy, gkennedy@acesconnection.com

To start a community in California, please contact:

Southern California: Lara Kain, lkain@acesconnection.com

Northern California: Karen Clemmer, kclemmer@acesconnection.com

San Francisco Bay Area: Donielle Prince, dprince@acesconnection.com

Capitol Region and Central Valley: Gail Kennedy, gkennedy@acesconnection.com

International communities: contact Gail Kennedy

The ACEs Connection Network Team

Dana Brown

DANA BROWN [dbrown@acesconnection.com] is the Organizational Liaison for ACEs Connection and ACEs Science Statewide Facilitator with Learn4Life. A social entrepreneur, Dana has founded a character development program at Tierrasanta Elementary in San Diego, CA; co-founded Youth Voice and OurSOLES (Our Students of Leadership ~ Empowerment ~ Service), founded Youth Leadership with TICS (Trauma Informed Community Schools) and Youth Leadership with McGill School of Success, a commissioner on the City of San Diego Commission on Gang Prevention & Intervention and Chair of the Youth Committee, and has been vested with several boards and advisory councils, including co-chair of the San Diego Trauma Informed Guide Team, HHSA (Health, Human Services Agency) Trauma Informed Systems Integration Champion Work Group, and University of San Diego's Character Development Center. Receiving the Joy McAllister Advocacy Award from Mental Health America in 2014, President Obama's USA Volunteer Presidential Award in 2013, and the City of San Diego's Human Relations Commission Award in 2009, Dana is living her soul's purpose of co-creating with like-minded individuals our systems change in a socio-ecological model through advocacy, prevention and resiliency building. An Iowa farm girl, has two wonderful young adult daughters and is devoted to bringing healing to our humanity through collective impact through ACEs Science.

Karne Clemmer

KAREN CLEMMER [kclemmer@acesconnection.com] is the Northern California Community Facilitator. Before joining ACEs Connection, Karen Clemmer was a public health nurse with 20 years of experience in maternal child adolescent health, most of that time with Sonoma County, CA. There, she collaborated with community partners — including more than a dozen health centers, three WIC agencies, various parenting and early infant organizations, and public health home visiting programs — to improve the lives of women, children and families. In 2014 Karen cofounded Sonoma County ACEs Connection, which rapidly grew from a grassroots organization to a structured coalition with 75+ members representing a wide variety of sectors including juvenile justice, public policy, child advocates, physicians, behavioral health professionals and others. Sonoma County ACEs Connection is one of 14 communities nationwide to receive a Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities grant. Karen completed her undergraduate nursing degree at San Jose State University in 1994, and earned a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Washington in 2005.

Ingrid Cockhren

INGRID COCKHREN [icockhren@acesconnection.com] is the Midwest community facilitator for ACEs Connection. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Ingrid knows first-hand how impactful trauma and toxic stress can be on children, families and communities. That’s why she has dedicated her professional life to investigating and educating the public about the link between early trauma, early adversity, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and possible negative outcomes across the lifespan. Ingrid graduated from Tennessee State University with a B.S. in psychology and from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College with a M.Ed. in child studies specializing in early interventions for children from minority and low-income families. Her research areas are African American parenting styles, adverse childhood experiences, historical trauma and intergenerational transmission, brain development, developmental psychology and epigenetics. She is an adjunct professor specializing in developmental psychology at Tennessee State University and chair of ACE Nashville’s Parent & Community Education Committee. She serves as an advisor on Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research’s Community Engaged Research Core Advisory Council and the Lloyd. C. Elam Mental Health Center’s Advisory Board. Ingrid’s experience and affiliations also include Metro Nashville’s Public Schools, Tennessee’s Dept. of Children’s Services, Tennessee’s Office of Child Safety, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody Research Institute & Special Education Dept. and Youth Villages, Inc. Ingrid is a Clarksville, TN, native who currently resides in Nashville, TN, with husband Jurnell Cockhren, founder of Sophicware, a software development consulting agency. Ingrid loves painting, cooking and spending time with daughter Yves.

ALICIA DOKTOR [adoktor@acesconnection.com] has spent most of her career serving communities as public librarian. A recent transplant to Sacramento, CA, Alicia grew up in Southern California all over the Inland Empire, but is proud to call Riverside her hometown. She received a BA in history from Cal Poly Pomona and a masters in library and information science from Cal State San Jose. As a Queer-identified person, Alicia firmly believes that liberation is a collective process and approaches her work from a place of social justice, solidarity and intersectionality. She finds mindfulness in cooking, riding her bike around midtown and practicing yoga. She’s still trying to figure out how to sit still long enough to meditate. Alicia began working with the ACN group Resilient Sacramento about two years ago and found so much support, kindness and knowledge that she began dreaming of making this work her full time job. Alicia is looking forwards to learning about and connecting to the many communities on ACN. As ACEs Connection Network Manager, Alicia is here to answer any questions you may have about the network and to listen to any suggestions you may have to make your experience on the site engaging and effective.

LARA KAIN [lkain@acesconnection.com] is an experienced educator, consultant, and national speaker on implementing ACEs science and trauma-informed practices into schools and communities, with a focus on building holistic trauma-responsive systems.
She brings over two decades of experience at the local, state, and national level. Before joining ACEs Connection, she developed trauma-informed community schools in Los Angeles, worked for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction supporting school improvement and as the state homeless coordinator, and — her first love — teaching 'at-risk' youth.
Her wide range of experience — from supporting individual teachers in the classroom to designing a trauma-informed schools pilot currently being implemented in 20 schools across the country leads — her to understand the macro and the micro. She has worked both as a teacher and administrator putting the science of building resilience into practice. She has a bachelors degree in education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a masters in public administration from The Evergreen State College.
As a trauma survivor and 'at-risk' youth herself, and then an educator for 'at-risk' youth in Washington State, this work is deeply personal. She is a mom to two adopted boys, which greatly personalizes her understanding of developmental trauma and what it takes to overcome. Lara originally hails from the Midwest; she spent over a decade in the Pacific Northwest, and now lives in sunny Southern California with her husband and two sons. The beach is her happy place.

Gail Kennedy

GAIL KENNEDY [gkennedy@acesconnection.com] is Community Lead for ACEs Connection. Gail, who has a Masters in Public Health, has over 30 years of public health experience. For nearly 20 years she worked at the University of California, San Francisco, where she conducted research and managed international HIV collaborative efforts, and assisted countries to collect and use data to respond to the needs of their communities. But Gail's public health interests started while working as an advocate in a child abuse prevention and rape crisis center; her work with ACEs and resilience research is like coming back to her roots. Gail has been with ACEs Connection since May 2015, and brings to this community her passion for community engagement and facilitation, and her appreciation of the power of getting data into the hands of communities. After nearly 20 years working on international projects, Gail is thrilled to be working in her own community and helping to grow the ACEs initiative in Yolo County, CA, where she lives with her husband, teen-aged daughter, dog and cat. With multiple ACEs, she recognizes how important yoga is in her life, has just gotten hooked on SpinFit classes and tries to get out in nature any chance she gets.

Val Krist

VALERIE KRIST [valjkrist@outlook.com] is the graphic and web designer for ACEs Connection, where she finds new ways to make visual content and makes sure ACEsConnection.com runs smoothly. For the past 20 years, Krist has collaborated and created web, print and illustration design projects for the University of California Foundation Plant Services - UCD; the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley; Oceans Foundation; California Department of Fish and Game; Stanford University; University of California, Santa Cruz; Yahoo!; Google; University of California, Davis, Health System, as well as privately owned businesses and corporations. She is currently enjoying her web and design work with ACEs Connection while continuing her most important job – raising her three young children with her husband, Karl, in Woodland, CA.

Sylvia Paull

SYLVIA PAULL does marketing, writing and strategic communication planning for ACEs Connection. She specializes in publicity, branding, and business development services for high-tech start-ups and nonprofits. She also founded and is host of the INFUSION technology lunch, held monthly at the Berkeley Repertory Theater; the Berkeley Cybersalon, a periodic event focusing on technology and culture; and the Last Friday Ladies Lunch, featuring women who are changing the world, held at the Hillside Club in Berkeley. She lives in Albany, CA.

Elizabeth Prewitt

ELIZABETH PREWITT [eprewitt@acesconnection.com] is ACEs Connection’s Policy Analyst. Prewitt started her career in Washington, DC, as a staffer on Capitol Hill, where she worked for members of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. She held positions involving grassroots organization, policy development and government relations, and specialized in health and mental health policy and advocacy. She grew up in Kentucky, lived for several years in New York, and has spent most of her life in Washington, DC, where she now resides. She did the ACE survey recently with three of her four siblings. The oldest and the youngest have ACE scores of 5; she has a score of 3, hiding out in the middle of a large family and being very well behaved. The work with ACEs Connection is a healing experience for her. Being a mother and grandmother (one of two grandsons shown here) and trusted friend are roles she relishes.

Donielle Price

DONIELLE PRINCE [dprince@acesconnection.com] is the Community Facilitator for the San Francisco Bay Area in California. She first learned about ACEs science while working as a program evaluator for a local coalition in Philadelphia that was planning a conference on trauma and toxic stress. At the time, she was also working as a children’s therapist in southern New Jersey. Everything she learned in the conference planning struck a cord for her work as a therapist, where she was learning first-hand the impact of trauma on individuals' and families' readiness for healing. When she moved to Sacramento, CA, Donielle became a CASA volunteer (Court Appointed Special Advocate), supporting a foster youth through court appointments, difficult placement transitions, and navigating teenage life in tough circumstances. In part to support her foster youth who was reading behind grade level, Donielle trained to become a literacy tutor with the Sacramento Public Library, work that she soon discovered also needs to be trauma-informed. Most recently, Donielle completed the training to become a volunteer facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Project, which provides free experiential workshops on non-violent communication and relational skills. Donielle has spent 20 years as a program evaluator, helping educational and youth development programs develop tools to track and meet their goals. An avid reader and school nerd, Donielle’s educational background includes 10 years of all girl/women's schooling (from age 10-21), making feminism inevitable; as well as expertise in educational policy, psychology, sociology and cultural studies — each worldview providing essential insight into the challenges to, and pathways toward, truly resilient communities. Donielle grew up with one brother and one sister, but comes from an enormous extended family that includes 62 first cousins, with whom she could form a resilient community of their own!

Samantha Sangenito

SAMANTHA SANGENITO [ssangenito@acesconnection.com] is the Data Science and Sustainability Lead for ACEs Connection. Her focus is primarily quantitative methods of measuring community progress, performance management, and fiscal sustainability. When Samantha is not at work, she can usually be found judging college debate tournaments, reading, sewing, or obsessively re-organizing her closet.

CAREY SMITH SIPP [csipp@acesconnection.com] is the ACEs Connection Southeast Community Facilitator. She’s been learning and writing about ACEs science since 2008. Though the 1998 ACE Study was disheartening to her in 2000, she became much more encouraged as brain science advanced to show that the brain can heal and continues to develop across the lifespan. A lifelong southerner, Carey graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a degree in journalism. She has been writing, creating, strategizing, marketing, and fundraising for 40 years. An award-winning writer, she has also served on the boards of directors for several nonprofit organizations benefiting youth and underserved populations. For about 10 of her two children’s growing up years, she worked on a book, The TurnAround Mom, published by HCI, publishers of the Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise. The book helps parents break cycles of addiction and abuse. Now an empty-nester, Carey is thrilled to have her work so closely aligned to her life’s mission of helping to end multi-generational cycles of trauma. She enjoys visiting her adult children and daughter-in-law in Montana, singing in a choir, writing essays and music, gardening, exercising, and travel, especially trips involving oceans.

Jane Ellen Stevens

JANE ELLEN STEVENS [jstevens@acesconnection.com] is founder and publisher of ACEs Connection. A journalist for more than 40 years, Stevens focuses on health, science and technology. Her articles have appeared in the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and National Geographic. She began reporting about the ACE Study and related research in 2005. She has lived and worked in Kenya and Indonesia, and has been to Antarctica – in the winter — three times on reporting fellowships. She is a member of the Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS), the Authors Guild, and the Online News Association. She lives with several cats, does the occasional sprint and Olympic-level triathlon, devours mysteries, loves movies, and hangs out with her friends as much as possible. True to her 7 ACEs, she has engaged in thrill sports (bull riding, car racing, skydiving, and being a Raiderette), has been married three times, and is a workaholic. She's certain that there's a link between high ACE scores and becoming a cat lady.

LAURIE UDESKY [ludesky@acesconnection.com], ACEs Connection Reporter. Laurie has been a reporter and editor for more than 25 years. She has reported on adverse childhood experiences through the lens of health, social welfare, and public policy. Her work has appeared in many outlets, including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, salon.com and Kaiser Health News, and has been broadcast on National Public Radio. She’s earned a number of honors for her work, including awards from Investigative Reporters & Editors, the Sidney Hillman Foundation and the Association of Health Care Journalists. She spent five years as a foreign correspondent in Turkey, and now lives in San Francisco. She enjoys wandering around northern California’s hiking trails, relaxes by cooking and hanging out with friends and family, and loves reading fiction and books about the brain.

MORGAN VIEN [mailto:mvien@acesconnection.com] is the Resource Center Administrator and Co-Manager of the Practicing Resilience for Self-Care & Healing Community for ACEs Connection. Morgan is interested in preventing cardiometabolic diseases in Asian American communities and populations by addressing stress, ACEs, adult trauma, diet, exercise, social environment, microaggressions, and other factors that will become clearer as she pursues a graduate degree…or two…in Public Health. As the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, she is also interested in the effects of trauma on the second generation. Morgan completed a summer internship at Kaiser Permanente in Hayward, CA, focusing on ACEs and resilience. Now, she is working with ACEs Connection, and on a type 2 diabetes prevention program at a medical clinic in Milpitas, CA. Morgan enjoys the California sunshine in Fremont, CA with her parents and brother, and eating good food and desserts with her friends. She finds peace and happiness in playing piano, baking, and exploring local nature gems with her closest friends.

CISSY WHITE [cwhite@acesconnection.com] is Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Community Facilitator for ACEs Connection, and also is group manager for Parenting with ACEs. Cissy is a writer, health activist, trauma survivor, and mother. She started journal writing at age 11 and hasn’t put the pen down since. Her articles have appeared in The Boston Globe, Spirituality and Health, Ms. Magazine, To Write Love on Her Arms and the Elephant Journal. She founded Heal Write Now in 2014 hoping to create the survivor-led community she craved her whole life. She’s led Parenting with PTSD & ACEs workshops for trauma survivors and treatment providers in the belief that everyone benefits when coming together as peers to listen and learn. Articles about her survivor-led advocacy appear in the Atlantic, Huffington Post, and The Mighty. She collects sea glass and quotes and is learning to love humans almost as much as animals, which is not always easy with an ACE score of 8. She's astounded by her amazing daughter, loyal friends and supportive partner and grateful for the family she now has. Spreading the word about ACEs science, for her, is a personal and professional calling. With it, we can understand the past, heal pain, improve health and relationships while creating personal and social change all at the same time.