© 2020 ACEs Connection

Mindy Atwood

Graphic designer

 

Sorry but she doesn’t know where Mork is ;)

matwood@acesconnection.com

As a child Mindy loved going to work with her father during school vacations at the print shop that had been in her family for three generations. She loved to play games in the huge bins of scrap paper, run her fingers over the colorful pools of dried up printing ink, and watch the massive printing presses roll large sheets of blank paper over the drums creating wonderful combinations of pictures and words on the page. Mindy entered into the world of graphic design 25 years ago, and has been mentored by art directors while designing for magazines, Internet, promotion and events, and donor recognition walls. Paper and ink is the foundation of her body of work. Today, she continues to play in the scrap bin to explore and learn about the unlimited possibilities of design.

ACEs story: As a young parent Mindy didn’t know what ACEs were, but she knew she didn’t want to repeat the past.

 
Marianne Avari

Data Science Manager

 

Data driven thinker. Child advocate. Reality T.V. Enthusiast.

mavari@acesconnection.com

As a data scientist for ACEs Connection, Marianne uses her appreciation for getting data into the hands of community. She began her career in child advocacy when she attended the Johns Hopkins University to pursue a degree in psychology. While at Johns Hopkins, she interned with the Baltimore Child Abuse Center and assisted the FBI in child sex trafficking investigations. After graduation, Marianne worked in the Florida Department of Children and Families where she led the recording and distribution of shelter intake information for children suspected to be victims of neglect, abuse, or child sexual exploitation. Her work has also included advocating for a safe harbor law for sexually exploited minors in Pennsylvania. Before joining ACEs Connection, Marianne interned at the U.S. Department of Justice in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and worked as a research associate at the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Marianne holds dual Masters degrees in criminology and public administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

 

ACEs story: I was first introduced to the ACE Study as an graduate school intern in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the U.S. Department of Justice. I was speaking with a colleague about the abuse I endured as a child and she pointed me to the ACE Study. She thought it could help me articulate my experience. She was right. For the first time in a long time, I felt understood. For the first time in a long time, I felt heard. The ACE Study opened up the conversation about trauma providing the evidence and framework I needed to begin healing my own life. In my professional career, I continue to reference the study to advance trauma-informed care.

 
Dana Brown

Organizational Liaison

Global Change Agent. Seeker. History Buff. Warrior Spirit.

dbrown@acesconnection.com

Dana Brown joined ACEs Connection in March 2013 as the volunteer community manager of San Diego County ACEs Connection. She joined the ACEs Connection staff in September 2015. As organizational liaison, Dana has the opportunity to support organizations, ACEs Connection members and staff behind the scenes, and is community facilitator for ACEs in Criminal Justice System, ACEs in Foster Care, ACEs in Youth Justice, ACEs in Youth Services, and Native Americans communities. Learning about ACEs in 2006 from Dr. Dawn Griffin at Alliant International University, Dana was immediately struck with the power of hope and healing. She sensed then that ACEs has the power to transform systems as well as healing modalities. Now, with ACEs science leading the healing pathways, we have opportunities to heal humanity and transform our world. Dana is weaving relationships, building trust, deepening collaborations with cross-sector and community leaders. Those opportunities include being a global mentor of Somali youth in five continents advocating on behalf of the refugee camps in Ogaden, Somalia; mentoring inner-city families through the San Diego Compassion Project when their loved ones are murdered; and being on the Southern California Warrior Spirit team with indigenous communities.

 

ACEs story: A Midwest farm girl, my protective factors of family, neighbors, and community buffered the impact of complex trauma throughout my childhood. Growing up with the ethic of ‘hard work everywhere, by everyone,’ instilled deep values in me, including respect of the interconnectivity of Mother Earth and all living things. Participating in the movements in the 1960/1970’s framed my lens of the world: Social justice mattered. The spark of advocacy, once deeply rooted, had taken flight. Learning about ACEs in 2006, as well as myriad “aha” moments, brought me understanding, self-compassion, and healing. As more science and research took root, ACEs science was embedded into every aspect of my life, personally, professionally, and spiritually. As I integrate my work with mentoring youth and community leaders, I see that those who have been/are impacted by disparities and social determinants of health are becoming well-informed advocates for sustainable systems change. Just as my journey of transformation is ongoing healing, creating those safe spaces for others’ transformation supports my healing, too.

 
Alison Cebulla

ACEs Connection Intern

 

Truth seeker, absorber of ACEs science information, action taker, trail runner.

acebulla@acesconnection.com

Alison graduated from University of California, Berkeley, in 2009 with a BS in conservation and resource studies with a focus in agricultural ecology. She went on to intern at ecological nonprofits in Belgium and the Netherlands, then worked in Fair Trade, an industry that seeks to end violence against women through economic empowerment. Alison is currently working on a Master of Public Health degree at Boston University and will graduate in December 2019. She runs an online program that helps people quit sugar and heal emotional eating. Alison has written about the transformative power of kindness and gratitude in the Huffington Post, and has taught workshops and spoken on stage in Paris, Barcelona, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Austin. She is an avid trail runner, yogi, meditator, blogger, and gardener. 

 

ACEs Story: I started the healing and self-discovery journey at age 20 upon entering rehab treatment for drug addiction. Eleven years later, I learned about ACEs science when I read Dr. Bessel van der Kolk's book, The Body Keeps the Score. When I was in treatment in 2005, child trauma and adverse experiences weren't being discussed. It's disheartening to see that not much has changed in addiction treatment in the last 15 years. I decided to go back to school for a graduate degree in public health after collecting three years of data about people's upbringings through my health and life coaching business. I noticed that when I talked to a person who was struggling with addictive behaviors, they nearly always cited having experienced the same child trauma. I decided I wanted to learn how to make a bigger impact, working on population health rather than just coaching one person at a time. Working with ACEs Connection shows me all the people who are working diligently to create positive change based on ACEs science. It's an inspiring movement of which to be a part.

 
Karen Clemmer

Northwest Community Facilitator, including Northern California

A #PHNerd who weaves nursing with ACEs science to nudge systems change for a dreamy future!

kclemmer@acesconnection.com

Karen works at a regional level to heal, prevent, and treat adverse childhood experiences while promoting resiliency. Karen’s vision as a public health nurse — to fully capitalize on the power of prevention — transformed her career trajectory. While perinatal services coordinator in 2010, Karen attended a presentation that Dr. Nadine Burke Harris did on the impact of stressful events in childhood on long-term health outcomes. It was transformative! ACEs science reframed her view of the priority areas in maternal/child/adolescent health (MCAH). Leading several countywide initiatives, including the Perinatal Alcohol and Other Drug Action Team, Mother-Baby Collaborative, and Perinatal Mental Health Partnership while she was at the Sonoma County Department of Public Health, Karen recognized the need to include ACEs science and align efforts with the Sonoma County Board of Supervisor’s Upstream Investments Initiative. A member of ACEs Connection since 2013, Karen co-founded the Sonoma County ACEs Connection community in 2014. A personal priority is authentic community engagement and an inclusive environment that values every voice. Today she regards supporting ACEs Connection communities as they deepen their understanding of the science of ACEs a dreamy job!

 

ACEs story: Growing up in a traditional family and having three older brothers, I found it almost incomprehensible when our parents divorced, and my brothers and I experienced parental abduction for three months. The abrupt fracturing of our family continues to impact each of us differently. During that confusing time, I knew things weren’t right and I also knew I was not responsible. Having that inner knowledge helped me develop an internal rudder to keep myself (mostly) on course. Throughout my life, many caring adults helped buffer the toxic stress and modeled positive relationships. Finding peace in nature, I spent many hours riding my horse in the hills and meadows. Nature continues to be my safe place. Today I enjoy spending time with my husband and sons, gardening, tending to my chickens and walking the beach.

 
Ingrid Cockhren

Midwest Community Facilitator

 

Trauma-Informed Change Agent.  Research Translator. BIG PICTURE Thinker.  Herder of Cats.

​i

icockhren@acesconnection.com

As the Midwest community facilitator for ACEs Connection, Ingrid uses her experience as survivor, an educator, a researcher, and leader to facilitate growth of ACEs initiatives in communities in 14 states. A survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Ingrid knows first-hand how trauma and toxic stress can affect children, families and communities, and, as a result, she has dedicated her professional life to educating the public about the link between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and negative outcomes across the lifespan.

 

Ingrid graduated from Tennessee State University with a B.S. in Psychology, and Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College with a M.Ed. in Child Studies. Her expertise lies in public speaking, professional development, group facilitation, community education, collective impact and intensive family counseling. Her research areas are African American parenting styles, ACEs science, historical trauma and its intergenerational transmission, brain development, developmental psychology and epigenetics.

 

In addition to her work with ACEs Connection, Ingrid is an adjunct professor specializing in developmental psychology at Tennessee State University and chair of the Parent & Community Education Committee for ACE Nashville. She serves as an advisor on both the 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 affiliations also include Metro Nashville’s Public Schools, the Tennessee Dept. of Children’s Services, the State Office of Child Safety, Meharry Medical, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody Research Institute & Special Education Dept., and Youth Villages, Inc.   

   

ACEs story:  In 2010, during my second year of graduate school at Vanderbilt University, I began an assistantship at the Peabody Research Institute, which consisted of collecting studies for a meta-analysis of effective interventions addressing recidivism in juvenile offenders. While reviewing hundreds of research articles, I found the ACE Study. The findings were quite compelling and, despite not being able to include the study in the meta-analysis, I was deeply moved. My thesis research focused on African American families and the outcomes associated with racism and poverty, specifically the lack of school readiness. The ACE Study changed the way I viewed trauma, especially intergenerational and historical trauma, and helped me understand that children impacted by racism and poverty are actually traumatized, and often, that trauma has been passed generation to generation. The following year, I graduated and began teaching undergraduate psychology courses, incorporating the ACE Study into my curriculum. Without fail, each semester my students are astounded by the implications of the study.

 
Lara Kain

Southern California Community Facilitator

 

Envisions a future where schools and communities are resilient trauma-responsive ecosystems engaging head and heart in equal measure

​lkain@acesconnection.com

As the Southern California community facilitator for ACEs Connection, Lara brings her deep understanding of the importance of schools as community drivers for change. Lara is an experienced educator and consultant who speaks nationally on implementing trauma-informed practices in schools and building holistic, trauma-responsive systems. Lara brings over two decades of experience at the local, state and national level, including developing programs for integrating trauma-informed practices into community schools in Los Angeles. She worked for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction as the state homeless coordinator, and practiced her first love,  teaching 'at-risk' youth. Lara has a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MPA from The Evergreen State College. As an example of her understanding of the micro and the macro, Lara’s experience ranges from supporting individual teachers to designing a trauma-informed schools pilot implemented in 20 schools across the country. Lara has worked both as a teacher and administrator putting the science of building resilience into practice. For Lara, who is a trauma survivor and was herself an 'at-risk' youth, this work is deeply personal. She understands what schools can and should look like to benefit ALL children. As the mother of two adopted sons, she understands the effects of developmental trauma and what it takes to overcome it. Born in the Midwest, she lived for over a decade in the Pacific Northwest, and is now a transplant to Southern California, where she lives with her husband and two boys. The beach is her happy place.

 

ACEs story: Around 2010, my world was completely rocked when, while working at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, I received training on trauma and ACEs science. That ‘aha’ hit me like a bolt of lightning. Finally, there was a language, a science, and a framework that validated all my experiences as both a student in an alternative high school and as a teacher of students who had been pushed out of the system. It explained so much. As a teacher, I knew that before we could dive into the learning, we had to first address our students’ basic needs, and then create a community where safety and belonging are priorities. But I could not articulate why this was, only that it was an undeniable truth. When I began to understand the science of trauma and ACEs, and could use the new language that came with learning about the science, I began to integrate ACEs science into all facets of my work. I was very excited to join ACEs Connection in 2018, as I had come to see that this work cannot be done in any one system alone but takes a community-focused approach involving all sectors.

 
Gail Kennedy

Operations and Strategic Partnerships Lead,  California Central Valley and Capital Region Community Facilitator

 

Community networker and connector extraordinaire; upstream public health-er;  self-care enthusiast.

gkennedy@acesconnection.com

​Gail has been with ACEs Connection since May 2015, helping to create the tools, resources and programs to start and grow ACEs communities and resilience initiatives. As the operations and strategic partnership lead for ACEs Connection, Gail handles the day-to-day functions of our exclusively virtual office, including supporting staff, managing budget and program needs and developing networking partnerships to expand the ACEs movement. With a Masters of Public Health degree from Columbia University and over 30 years of public health experience, Gail says ACEs Connection combines her passion for community engagement and facilitation with her appreciation of the power of getting data into the hands of communities. Before joining ACEs Connection, Gail worked at the University of California, San Francisco, where she conducted research and managed international HIV collaborative efforts. Gail’s interest in public health started when she worked as an advocate in child abuse prevention and at a rape crisis center. Gail’s work with ACEs and resilience research is like coming back to her roots. With multiple ACEs herself, Gail recognizes how important self care is in her life. A practicing yogi for over 25 years, Gail loves her neighborhood yoga community, home-cooked meals, working in her garden and hanging out with her husband, daughter, dog and cat.


ACEs story:  In 2014, a University of California, Davis, colleague, Pat Conrad, suggested that I should meet her friend, Jane Stevens. She thought I might be interested in Jane’s work. I emailed Jane, who shared the story she wrote about the ACE Study — “The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study - the largest most important public health study you never heard of - began  in an obesity clinic” — and it rocked my world! Why hadn’t I heard of ACEs during my public health education or in my work at one of the most respected academic health institutions in the world? The study explained so much about my life and my ongoing healing from my abusive and chaotic childhood. I’m lucky to live just 20 minutes from Jane and remember so vividly meeting her for the first time and peppering her with questions, ideas, stories. Once I saw the world through an ACEs-science-informed lens, I realized ACEs was at the root of the public health issues I had been addressing throughout my career. I was so moved by the implications of the science and the need to share it with the world that I changed the focus of my career exclusively to ACEs science.

 
Val Krist

Graphic and Web Designer

 

Artist, mom, carpool driver, school volunteer, shoelace tie-er.

Val is the graphic and web designer for ACEs Connection Network where she finds new ways to make visual content and makes sure ACEsConnection.com runs smoothly. For the past 17 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 the ACEs Connection Network while continuing her most important job -- raising her three young children with her husband, Karl, in Woodland, CA.

ACEs story: I've worked with Jane for years and getting ACEs Connection up and running has been her dream. So of course, I was on board to help. Learning about childhood trauma and how it affects us and the people around us really opened my eyes and changed how I interact in my daily life with strangers, friends, my volunteer work, and my family. It's a life-changer.

Val Krist

Graphic and Web Designer

 

Artist, mom, carpool driver, school volunteer, shoelace tie-er.

vkrist@acesconnection.com

Val 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 17 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 the ACEs Connection while continuing her most important job -- raising her three young children with her husband, Karl, in Woodland, CA.

ACEs story: I've worked with Jane for years and getting ACEs Connection up and running has been her dream. So of course, I was on board to help. Learning about childhood trauma and how it affects us and the people around us really opened my eyes and changed how I interact in my daily life with strangers, friends, my volunteer work, and my family. It's a life-changer.

 
Elizabeth Prewitt

Policy Analyst

One star in the constellation of everyday people seeking to move public policy toward justice.

eprewitt@acesconnection.com

Elizabeth’s role as policy analyst includes tracking and writing articles about state and federal legislation, and leading webinars about how communities can become involved in developing policy. She 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, sought freedom and happiness after college in Washington, DC, in the 70s, and seeks to live a life of ease and gratitude.

 

ACEs story: When my childhood friend, Jane Stevens, told me about the ACE Study and its implications, I began to understand that this work would change my perspective on my life as well as my work. At the same time  Jane started ACEs Connection, I left a traditional government relations position and began posting stories on the site. In 2013, I joined the staff for the most rewarding work of my professional life. Being part of the ACEs movement has been both fulfilling and healing. I grew up in a high ACE score family with few outward signs of adversity, creating a disconnect between appearances and reality. My siblings and I have taken the ACE survey together and talk deeply and often about what happened, seeking compassion for us and for our forebears.

 
Donielle Prince

San Francisco Bay Area Community Facilitator

 

 Committed to educating and empowering people to use knowledge about ACEs and trauma to heal their families and communities.

dprince@acesconnection.com

In her role as the San Francisco Bay Area community facilitator, Dr. Donielle Prince supports communities that are organizing to build resilient neighborhoods, cities, and counties throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and relies daily on her background in psychology, education, and research. Donielle holds a B.A. in Psychology, with a minor in education, from Wellesley College; an MS.Ed in Psychological Practice from the University of Pennsylvania; and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy from Stanford University.

 

Donielle has worked as both a therapist and as a researcher. In seeking to understand conditions that cause different types of traumas showing up in the therapy office, Donielle studied community-based youth development programming in Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area and school reform strategies implemented in New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. Toward the same objective, she studied, for 11 years, the effectiveness of teacher education programs throughout the entire California State University system. She has also studied teacher education programs at private universities. Born and raised in East Palo Alto, CA, in the SF Bay Area, Donielle became active in community organizing after moving to Sacramento. There, she has worked on education and anti-violence campaigns, and as a literacy tutor and foster youth mentor. Donielle’s professional and community interests have always intersected, culminating in her current work focused on educating people about about mental health: specifically, on the impact of ACEs, trauma and resilience on overall well-being.

 

ACEs story: Over 10 years ago, I sat down with a family and a school staff member to bridge a misunderstanding. We all got up from that table with a common understanding that a child’s difficult behavior was rooted in something he had no control over — his body’s stress response, connected to trauma he had experienced, and that the school, until that meeting,  neither knew about, nor understood, how to help heal. Their strategies had, in fact, retraumatized the child. After our meeting, the school staff took seriously my suggestions about how to help soothe this child’s fears, and swiftly implemented effective interventions. The difficult behaviors soon subsided.

 

As a therapist and education researcher, I have learned that like this school, many environments lack an understanding of how humans work. The ACE Study and related research and practice has innovated a simple yet profound way of helping organizations and communities understand how humans work, and how institutional practices can support or hinder healthy growth. Once these connections are made, the work to address the harm that institutions can do becomes clear and urgent.

 
Sylvia Paull

Media strategist, high-tech liaison, writer.   

 

Media booster, networker, community organizer, and cycling advocate.

spaull@acesconnection.com

Sylvia helped encourage the former award-winning journalist, teacher, and ACEs visionary Jane Stevens to nurture and give birth to her dream sites long before they emerged as realities. She's invited Jane to speak at the Berkeley Cybersalon, an event she hosted for twenty years bringing together people in high-tech to explore the impact technology has on our culture. Sylvia also founded a networking group for women in high-tech, Gracenet, which featured monthly meetings in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Phoenix, to support women in these fields. She launched a publicity campaign, the DisGraceful Award in Advertising, to create awareness of sexist advertising in high tech media, and successfully got several large companies, including IBM, to withdraw their ads as a result of media coverage. Since working with Jane on ACEs, she views everyone she meets -- including herself -- with a new perspective and empathy that derives from understanding the early struggles each human has faced and its impact on their behavior, health, and well being.

 

ACEs Story: My ACEs story starts when ACEs Connection was still being conceived in 2011. Jane Stevens, whom I’ve known for decades, told me about the science and why she was launching the organization. Once I got involved with ACEs Connection and heard people's stories, whether online or at the first California ACEs Summit in 2014, I began to see everyone I knew with a completely different perspective. All their destructive behaviors — whether self-destructive or inflicted on others — made sense. So, I began to ask my friends about their childhoods, and sometimes I already knew about their childhoods but hadn't connected their traumas to their behaviors, such as excessive drinking or verbal abuse, that hurt them and often others as well. When I was 19 and a college student, I tutored math in a state prison in eastern Oregon. The warden told me that all the prisoners were sociopaths, because they felt no regret and compassion when harming others. Looking back, I realize that all the prisoners I tutored told me they had had terrible childhoods: a parent in jail, an alcoholic or drug-dependent parent, and/or had experienced physical abuse. What I heard was that none of them had been loved as children. Now, with an understanding of ACEs science, I realize that none of these prisoners, all men, knew how to love because they themselves had not been loved. One day, I hope this prison and all prisons integrate ACEs science to help those inside develop the ability to love and adapt to a meaningful life inside develop the ability to love and adapt to a meaningful life.

 
Samantha Sangenito

Data Science and Sustainability Lead

 

What gets measured gets done — ACE scores are a yardstick for the world’s most intractable problems.

ssangenito@acesconnection.com

Samantha Sangenito is the Chief Data Science Officer at ACEs Connection where she uses her research and programming skills to design tools to fight ACEs and promote resilience. Samantha manages the development and maintenance of the Presentation Tracker — a web-based tool that helps communities distribute ACEs information to all vital sectors; Community Resilience Trackers — a tool for communities to track and measure their progress towards becoming trauma-informed; and ACEs Connection’s Mapping the Movement tracker that provides a snapshot of communities embracing ACEs science throughout the world; data sources for ACEs research; and US legislation on ACEs and resilience.

 

Prior to her role as the data science lead, Samantha worked as the Network Manager and Daily Digest Editor through graduate school. She is a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in data analytics.

 

ACEs story: I first heard about the ACE study from Jane Stevens at the National ACEs Summit in 2013. The summit was a 2 day crash crouse in the ACEs movement. ACEs Connection had just celebrated  growing to 1,000 members. Years later, and tens of thousands of members more, the movement is changing not just the U.S. but the world.

 
Carey Smith Sipp

Southeast Community Facilitator

 

Disrupter of multi-generational cycles of trauma and addiction. Just one generation of trauma-free humans can end poverty.

Carey Smith Sipp is a science, brain, health, and parenting enthusiast who learned about the ACE Study almost 20 years ago. As the Southeastern community facilitator for ACEs Connection, Carey uses four decades of experience as an award winning writer, marketer, fundraiser, and campaigner to help ACEs initiatives in 11 states create communities on ACEsConnection.com, find resources, and leverage opportunities to take trauma-informed practices into new and existing sectors. She also supports interest-based groups, including ACEs in the Faith-Based Community and the Trauma Informed Healthcare Education and Research Group. As an ACEs Connection lead in communications and social media, she’s raising awareness of ACEs science across all sectors: government to healthcare; education to juvenile justice; airlines to zoos. Carey’s work has also included service on boards of directors for several non-profits supporting leadership development, nutrition, and underserved youth, and volunteering at residential treatment centers for mothers recovering from alcohol and drug abuse. Carey graduated with an MS in Communications (Journalism) from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.


ACEs story: I grew up in addiction and abuse. When I had children, I vowed they would have a saner, calmer childhood, than my own, so I joined a recovery group for family and friends of alcoholics, immersed myself in parenting education, and quit drinking, just in case. Somehow I knew children’s brains are wired for peace and calm or for agitation and addiction. In 1996, when I started working on a book about breaking cycles of addiction and abuse, I called the National Association for Children of Alcoholics for resources. In 2000, one of the pieces of information they sent was the ACE Study. I read it and wept. My score explained my health issues; my prognosis was grim. Instinctively, I delved deeper into recovery, spirituality, parenting, exercise, nutrition. A few years later, hope came when advances in brain science showed the brain has plasticity, the body wants to heal. In 2008 I started contributing articles about ACEs science to a medical information website. Five years later I met Jane Stevens, and five years after that, I was hired at ACEs Connection. My work comes full circle as I write about how ACEs lead to addiction and addiction leads to ACEs, and that ACEs science and trauma-informed communities hold solutions to preventing multi-generational cycles of addiction and abuse.

Carey Smith Sipp

Southeast Community Facilitator

 

Disrupter of multi-generational cycles of trauma and addiction. Just one generation of trauma-free humans can end poverty.

csipp@acesconnection.com

Carey Smith Sipp is a science, brain, health, and parenting enthusiast who learned about the ACE Study almost 20 years ago. As the Southeastern community facilitator for ACEs Connection, Carey uses four decades of experience as an award-winning writer, marketer, fundraiser, and campaigner to help ACEs initiatives in 11 states create communities on ACEsConnection.com, find resources, and leverage opportunities to take trauma-informed practices into new and existing sectors. She also supports interest-based groups, including ACEs in the Faith-Based Community and the Trauma Informed Healthcare Education and Research Group. As an ACEs Connection lead in communications and social media, she’s raising awareness of ACEs science across all sectors: government to healthcare; education to juvenile justice; airlines to zoos. Carey’s work has also included service on boards of directors for several non-profits supporting leadership development, nutrition, and underserved youth, and volunteering at residential treatment centers for mothers recovering from alcohol and drug abuse. Carey graduated with an MS in Communications (Journalism) from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.


ACEs story: I grew up in addiction and abuse. When I had children, I vowed they would have a saner, calmer childhood than my own, so I joined a recovery group for family and friends of alcoholics, immersed myself in parenting education, and quit drinking, just in case. Somehow I knew children’s brains are wired for peace and calm or for agitation and addiction. In 1996, when I started working on a book about breaking cycles of addiction and abuse, I called the National Association for Children of Alcoholics for resources. In 2000, one of the pieces of information they sent was the ACE Study. I read it and wept. My score explained my health issues; my prognosis was grim. Instinctively, I delved deeper into recovery, spirituality, parenting, exercise, nutrition. A few years later, hope came when advances in brain science showed the brain has plasticity, the body wants to heal. In 2008 I started contributing articles about ACEs science to a medical information website. Five years later I met Jane Stevens, and five years after that, I was hired at ACEs Connection. My work comes full circle as I write about how ACEs lead to addiction and addiction leads to ACEs, and that ACEs science and trauma-informed communities hold solutions to preventing multi-generational cycles of addiction and abuse.

 
Jane Stevens

Founder, publisher

 

Inspirer of safe change and solutions, ace connector, a steward of planet Earth, cat lady.

jstevens@acesconnection.com

Jane Ellen Stevens is founder and publisher of ACEs Connection, comprising the social network ACEsConnection.com and the news site ACEsTooHigh.com. Stevens has been a health, science and technology journalist for more than 35 years. She worked for newspapers, magazines and TV stations. 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 CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study and the other four parts of ACEs science in 2005. She has lived and worked in Kenya and Indonesia, and has been to Antarctica — in the winter — three times on reporting fellowships.

 

ACEs story: In 2004, I noticed a short story in the local Davis (CA) Enterprise about an upcoming child sexual abuse conference that was being hosted by the Incest Survivors Speakers Bureau. Curiosity (and my own history) led me to the small organization’s leader, Connie Valentine. During our conversation, she said, “Have you heard about the ACE Study?” I said no, tell me more. She did, and I was stunned. It explained so much — all the world’s health, violence, social, and economic ills. It also explained my life. The first article I wrote about the ACE Study was published as the main Sunday feature in 2005 in the Sacramento Bee, and eventually led to me launching ACEs Connection in 2012.

 
Laurie Udesky

Staff Reporter

 

Chronicler of stories, reporter on all things trauma and resilience, solution seeker.

ludesky@acesconnection.com

As a staff reporter for ACEs Connection, Laurie Udesky covers ACEs initiatives in the San Francisco Bay Area in schools, in doctors’ offices, in juvenile justice programs, in grassroots organizations that work to empower people and mitigate ACEs, in academia where researchers are pinpointing biomarkers for toxic stress and ways to undo it, and are testing out ways to document and build resilience. Laurie also is the community manager of the ACEs in Pediatrics community on ACEs Connection, and tracks  the growing momentum of ACEs prevention in pediatric practices across the U.S.

Prior to joining ACEs Connection, Laurie was a reporter whose investigative health and public policy reporting earned several national and regional awards, including the Investigative Reporters & Editors award, the Sidney Hillman award, the Association of Health Care Journalist’s award, and the Exceptional Merit Media Award (EMMA) from Radcliffe College. Her work has appeared in many newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times and the LA Times. Laurie has also contributed stories to National Public Radio. While living in Turkey, Laurie was a correspondent for the Dallas Morning News and wrote for other outlets. She enjoys hiking, traveling and cooking for friends and family.

 

ACEs story: I had learned about the landmark ACE Study around 2013 and came to realize that a lot of my previous reporting was focused on looking at how public policies and institutions were inducing adversity in the children they were charged with protecting. The growing science around ACEs has provided a new way for me to connect the dots in my reporting, which has always been focused on public interest issues. Personally, I better understand how resilience has helped generations of my own immediate and extended family survive adversity.

 
Christine “Cissy” White

Community Facilitator, Northeast Region; Community Manager, Parenting with ACEs

 

Trauma-informed change informed by trauma survivors, because how we do the work is the work we do.

cwhite@acesconnection.com

As a Community Facilitator, Cissy works to support individuals and initiatives making trauma-informed change throughout the Northeast. Like her colleagues, Cissy is a glue person, helping resources, information, and people stick together and bond. Cissy joined ACEs Connection as a member first, a freelance writer next, and then part-time as the Parenting with ACEs Community Manager before joining ACEs Connection full-time in 2017. Cissy also serves on the MA Essentials for Childhood Leadership team.

 

In 2014, Cissy opened up about being a trauma survivor on her Heal Write Now blog, hoping to help create the survivor-led community she’d searched her whole life to find. Cissy’s essays, stories, and profiles have run in The Boston Globe, Spirituality and Health, Ms. Magazine, To Write Love on Her Arms, ACEs Too High, the Attachment Trauma Network, and Elephant Journal. Her survivor-led advocacy has been written about in the Atlantic Monthly and The Mighty. Cissy has led Parenting with PTSD and Healing from Trauma workshops for survivors and therapists. She speaks nationally about parenting with PTSD, ACEs, and community-level change frameworks. To be effective, she believes all trauma-informed change must be informed by survivors.

 

ACEs story:  I learned about the ACE Study in 2014 and it changed my personal and professional life, as well as my parenting. Although I had the same ACE score throughout my childhood, my experiences in poor, middle class, and upper middle class schools and communities were vastly different because of the varying advantages, resources, burdens, and buffers available in each one. I’m still wrapping my head and heart around the ways that families, communities, and systems hurt and/or harm people and how we all heal. I’m constantly astounded by the amazing, crafty, and creative ways people find to cope, heal, transcend and transform ourselves, each other, and the world, and can’t believe I now get paid working to do the same.      

 

ACEs Connection is a social network that recognizes the impact of a wide variety of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in shaping adult behavior and health, and that promotes trauma-informed and resilience-building practices and policies in all families, organizations, systems and communities. We support communities to accelerate the science of adverse childhood experiences to solve our most intractable problems. We believe that we can create a resilient world where people thrive.