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PACEs Science Champions

A world filled with people who have four or more ACEs is a world filled with people who need to meet a compassionate person. – Cendie Stanford

Cendie Stanford says that ever since she first learned about ACEs, she’d been thinking about her own upbringing—which included at least 10 ACEs. She felt strongly that everyone needed to know about ACEs, because it “explains why people behave the way they behave.”

PACEs Champion Wanda Boone: A resilience rainmaker

WANDA BOONE: A RESILIENCE RAINMAKER Wanda Boone, executive director of a North Carolina nonprofit, Together for Resilient Youth (TRY), to combat youth and adult substance use, not only raised three children of her own but also fostered seven children with mental health and substance use challenges. Despite – or perhaps because – of her own high ACEs score, Boone said that early on she decided “my main goal in life was to be a fantastic wife and mother.” She’s exceeded her goal in many ways.

PACEs Champion Dr. Lourdes Valdez uses Reach Out and Read as one way to integrate practices based on PACEs science

Our interview for this profile took place over two continents, from the U.S. to Lima, Peru, where Lourdes Valdez, pediatrician in Butte County, California, for 23 years, was attending to family affairs after the death of her mother. Valdez grew up in Lima, and later earned her medical degree in Peru before moving to Iowa City, Iowa, in 1992 for her residency. She said her mother helped make her a resilient person. Although working full time as an economist and statistician, her mother made a...

PACEs Champion Flojaune Cofer drives public health policies to prevent ACEs in California

Dr. Flojaune Cofer is an epidemiologist who wants to improve health and prevent trauma, racism, and inequity in communities throughout California. That’s a big charter, but since 2019, as senior director of policy for Public Health Advocates, she’s making progress with a team focused on public health prevention and restorative justice initiatives. Those initiatives include My Brother’s Keeper, for boys and men of color, and All Children Thrive, which works with 20 cities to prevent youth...

PACEs Champion Lynnette Grey Bull spearheads trauma awareness, resiliency for Indigenous peoples

Lynnette Grey Bull (l) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) Lynnette Grey Bull is founder and director of Not Our Native Daughters , a nonprofit created to educate and raise awareness of the missing, exploited, and murdered Indigenous women and children in the more than 300 tribes across the U.S. Grey Bull was raised in Pasadena, CA, where her parents, who met in college, had settled after leaving Billings, Montana. “I had great memories there,” she recalls. Her mother is Northern...

Dan Press traces how legal work for Native Americans led to advocacy to uproot trauma

L-R Dr. Mary Cwik, Dr. Tami DeCoteau, Dan Press, Dr. Zach Kaminsky, photo courtesy of Elizabeth Prewitt In 1964, Dan Press was in his first year of law school and was not liking it; he wanted a way out. He applied for a volunteer spot with AmeriCorps VISTA, the domestic version of the Peace Corps, and was intrigued by a position on an Indian reservation. Dan Press “I knew nothing about Indians, but it sounded like a good opportunity,” says Press, who was raised in Flushing, in the Queens...

Juleus Ghunta aims to make the Caribbean nations PACEs-informed

If Jamaican poet, children’s book author, and appointee to the nation’s Task Force on Character Education, Juleus Ghunta had his way, all 44 million people living in the Caribbean—from Barbados to Guyana to Grenada—would become PACEs-informed in the near future. To start off, everyone—including children, parents, teachers, social workers, doctors, and policymakers—needs to read his new book, Rohan Bullkin and the Shadows: A Story about ACEs and Hope , due out this December, just in time for...

Mary Ann Hanson a leader in PACEs movement in Humboldt County, California

Mary Ann Hanson grew up in Fortuna, a former lumber town situated on the Eel River in Humboldt County and a gateway to centuries-old redwoods into the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Humboldt is also one of the two California counties with the highest percentage of residents whose ACE score is 4 or more. Hanson herself has an ACE score of 8. Given her roots in Humboldt, a mostly rural county with a population under 150,000, and the difficulties she faced growing up in a family with substance...

Louisiana’s first lady is on a mission to help improve the lives of children and families

Improving the lives of children is a personal calling for Louisiana first lady Donna Edwards. Before her husband, Gov. John Bel Edwards, took office in 2016, Donna Edwards spent eight years as a music teacher for her local public elementary school. She knew that many children in her classroom faced unknown hardships at home, but she didn’t realize how deeply trauma impacts children in different ways until 2017. That was the year that Dr. Charles Zeanah, a leading authority on adverse...

PACEs Champion Dwana Young navigates community-driven ACEs healing centers in New Jersey

In 2020, New Jersey, a state with about 9 million people spread over the rural countryside and dense urban areas like Newark, launched a new entity: the NJ Office of Resilience (NJOR). The NJOR is unusual because it is a public-private partnership. It brings together three private foundations as well as the NJ Department of Children and Families to provide community-driven strategies for preventing, treating, and healing from ACEs. Like a ship’s navigator laying out a course on charts, Dwana...

How the PACEs Connection Cooperative of Communities inspires an early affiliate, Resilient Santa Barbara County

If one were to spell out the benefits of joining PACEs Connection’s Cooperative of Communities (COOP), there is no better person to ask than Barbara Finch, co-lead for Resilient Santa Barbara County , which was one of the first four affiliates to join COOP. “The biggest benefit,” she says, “is recognizing that you are part of an expansive and growing movement. There are so many different approaches to the work, and every community has its own experience. What we have learned since joining...

Brandon Jones, ACEs Champion, lives a life with purpose…on purpose  

Brandon Jones describes himself this way: “I’m a down-to-earth psychotherapist, professor, and family man dedicated to helping those who want to heal.” Jones grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, which has been averaging a police-involved death every year over the past five years . Gun violence in African American, Somali, Latin x and indigenous gangs “have all found a home here in the Twin Cities . ” “George Floyd was the tip of the iceberg,” says the PACEs advocate, psychotherapist, consultant...

Psychiatrist Andres Sciolla wants to expand ACEs work to include social determinants of health

Andres Sciolla, a psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry at UC Davis Medical School, hopes that an expanded version of ACEs becomes completely integrated into the medical profession in the future. By “expanded,” he explains: “Medicine would have to integrate sustainable and practical ways to address social determinants of health,” such as affordable housing, basic income, and access to affordable health care. Sciolla earned his undergraduate and medical degrees at the University of Chile...

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