Reply to "Master Trainer Program"

I'm from Sonoma County and was part of a second cohort of persons trained to talk about ACEs. Our group did not directly attend Dr. Anda's ACEs Interface training, but received his slides and materials and some instruction from the persons who did attend his training. After having seen his presentation and the materials, I think you should think carefully about whether the ACEs Interface training is what you want/need.

On the positive side, he has prepared a large assortment of professionally produced slides, with well researched and vetted text to accompany them. If you're starting from scratch, it is certainly helpful to start with a proven program. He is an authoritative figure in the field of ACEs, which adds credibility to the presentation.

However, while the talk works well for him, I feel there are several reasons why it may not work as well for others. First, it is the kind of presentation I expect to see (and have personally delivered) at conferences, hospital grand rounds, and to professional health or human service groups. it has the good and bad points of such presentations: dry, professional, impersonal, logical, comprehensive.

However, these are not necessarily the characteristics that make presentations memorable to a general audience. Personal stories and emotional connection matter. If you could simply add your own material, it would be fine, but if you want to deliver an ACEs Interface presentation, it must be his material. You can rearrange the slides, but not add new content. I think his presentation succeeds in spite of the material, not necessarily because of it.  Compare the Interface materials with the TED Talk of Nadine Burke-Harris and you'll see the difference.

Second, it is fine for an outside expert to fly in and deliver this material, but a local person speaking to local people needs to be knowledgeable about local issues. How does your city or locale compare to the national averages? What are some good local trauma-informed service providers? Where do we stand on local legislation? What can we do locally? If you aren't prepared to answer the obvious questions, it's not a very good presentation. All this needs to be added in at the local level.

Third and most importantly, I believe we need to talk about both ACEs and resilience. There is science behind resilience, but the ACEs Interface materials are very limited in this area. People need a sense that there is hope, and it needs to be more than two slides in your presentation.

I could go on about the need for each presenter to develop good presentation skills, but that's enough for now. Attending the Interface training is a very tempting option for an individual, but it may not be the real solution. 

 

 

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