Hi All,

I’ve recently learned about ACEs, and I’m so blown away by the power of this research that I’m considering a major career change to dedicate myself to this work. I have lived experience (score of 8) and have been quite fortunate to also be fairly resilient.

I have two questions for the community:

  • Being new to this research and resulting work, I'm interested in getting up to speed on the status of ACEs work/Trauma informed practices with a high level overview of what's currently happening in the US and Canada. I’m hoping (dreaming?) that such an incredibly helpful shortcut to understanding where things are at on this already exists. If there’s no single document, perhaps there are multiple sources that could help me to get a sense of this.
  • I would like to pursue a career in this field. I’m in the early stages of deciding exactly what that means. I know that I’m interested in work that can create change on a large scale, as opposed to 1:1 or therapeutic work (which is also crucial, but not where my interests are). My top ideas for what my new career looks like:
    • Raise awareness of ACEs and their impacts in Canada (there is very little happening here compared to the US)
    • Put ACEs on the public health agenda
    • Influence policy to improve population health and emphasize preventative measures as relates to ACEs
    • Oversee the creation of ACE/trauma-informed prevention, intervention and resilience strategies at community, provincial and national levels

At this point, I don’t have any experience in the field. I’m 41, I have a biology undergrad (2002) and I run my own small business as a web designer (the only pattern in my career trajectory so far is that I follow my disparate passions, which has resulted in the complete lack of a pattern ).

My question is – what is the best path forward to achieve these goals? I’m imagining that doing a Masters in Public Health would be a big step in the right direction. I hesitate slightly on that since there’s no mention of ACEs on any of the websites of MPH programs I’m considering (though I recognize it may fall under social determinants of health).

I’d love any insight and advice from those of you working in the field on what you think the best way(s) forward would be. And if anyone doing this kind of work would be available for a short (15 min) information interview, I'd be so grateful.

Thanks so much!


Original Post

HI Kellie- welcome to our community and so glad you asked this question! I made a career change when i learned about this work as well. I was doing international HIV work (as a public health professional) and with my lived experience (ACE score of 4), learning about ACEs science shifted the way I thought about all the work I had done over the years and explained things in my life and my healing journey.   ACEs science is beginning to be introduced into public health programs but it will take all of us raising these issues in PH schools, as well as schools of medicine, social work, education etc!. My friend and ACEs Connection Network colleague, Emerald Montgomery, just entered medical school and is nudging her fellow students and professors along.

I would send you to ACEsTooHigh.com for an overview of the state of ACEs science.  And I would be happy to chat with you about some possible next steps for career path (esp PH schools since that is my background).

Good luck and looking forward to chatting!
Gail Kennedy (530-400-3211)

Thanks so much, Gail!

This work is really transformational, and I'm so glad to have found it. Interesting to hear that it inspired a career change for you as well!

I'm quite surprised at the gulf between the US and Canada in terms of how far along things are with ACEs science and awareness, and I'm also glad to have found the opportunity to work towards the needed change here in Canada. 

I'll definitely take a deeper look at ACEs Too High, and I'll DM you to set up a time to chat soon. Thanks again for your reply!



My colleague and fellow ACE Connection member, Shenandoah Chefalo, recently spoke in Canada at the Key Assets conference on ACES. She was their keynote speaker. She authored the book, Garbage Bag Suitcase: A foster care memoir, about her journey as she aged out of foster care. Her book includes ACE information, a call to action and solution. We formed Good Harbor Institute to translate evidenced based research on trauma/adversity and resilience into skills for non-clinicians which can be used immediately. We have been in conversations with a group in Ontario about our training. We are headquartered in Michigan, which might be close to you. We are offering a 1 day workshop in Lansing, Michigan, August 22. It is called- Helping Without Harming: Translating Trauma Information into Skills & Action. Below is the link to register. If you're interested in chatting, please don't hesitate to call me: (765)977-5977.


Hi Kellie, I'm not sure what the best route is in Canada. In the US there are so many grants available for trauma informed care that everyone is jumping on the band wagon I am a RN who has worked in the trauma ridden areas of Phila - I also have an ACE's score of 7 (on orig questionnaire). I created a program to walk women through the steps of healing and transformation,  Nonprofits like it but don't want to pay for it. I am just going to start teaching on my own in the community and work my way into organizations. As you know, this is an epidemic that crosses all demographics! I will be more than happy to see what or who I can connect you to!

In gratitude, Leslie

Add Reply

Likes (0)