Building the Movement Session 1: Coalitions

WORKSHOP HIGHLIGHTS (edited lightly for clarity)


Jesse Kohler, CTIPP


  • Diana (Denni) Fishbein, National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives

  • Jane Stevens, PACEs Connection (10:00)

  • Dan Press, CTIPP (36:34)

  • Rebecca Lewis-Pankratz, ESSDACK (2:09:04)

  • Dr. Kelly Graves, Kellin Foundation (2:26:22)

  • Leslie Lieberman, MARC, Health Federation of Philadelphia (2:42:48)

  • Kimberly Rodgers, Center for Community Resilience (2:58:06)

  • Whitney Marris, CTIPP (3:22:33)


  • Dave Ellis, New Jersey Office of Resilience (52:40)

  • Father Paul Abernathy, Neighborhood Resilience Project (1:07:18)

  • Jennifer Brinkmann, Alive & Well Communities (1:19:37)

  • Colleen Bridger, San Antonio Trauma-Informed Coalition (1:31:04)

  • Mandy Davis, Trauma-Informed Oregon (1:44:12)

Highlights from Session 1

Diana (Denni) Fishbein, National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives

Denni provides an overview of the day's workshop.

10:00: Jane Stevens, PACEs Connection

12:36 –We're changing practices and policies from blame, shame, and punishment to understanding, nurturing, and healing

14:00 – Jane defines PACEs = Positive & Adverse Childhood Experiences

15:27 – Jane describes the five parts of PACE science

20:23 – The brain cannot distinguish between different types of ACEs; once the experience goes into the brain, it's just different levels, and durations of toxic stress that make the difference…as well as the support and nurturing that does on during and after that experience

22:12 –Being PACEs science informed is the bedrock of becoming trauma-informed. You need both. PACEs Science is the what and the why, and trauma-informed is the how.

23:00 Emerging research shows that positive and adverse childhood experiences are intertwined in a profound way that affects us and how we integrate this science into our works and lives

25:28 – Think about how we address racism and white privilege in the U.S. - Slavery and its aftermath, such as the Jim Crow era, still affects so many parts of our society, laws, policies, norms, and culture that if we're to heal as a nation, we have to acknowledge and address all of slavery's generational legacies so we can have an equitable and shared structure

33:10 – In 2019 and 2020, dozens of states enacted nearly 60 laws and resolutions that especially reference adverse childhood experiences or trauma

36:34: Dan Press, CTIPP

38:25 – The movement now needs more structure. We need an association of state and local trauma-informed coalitions brought together under the umbrella of CTIPP, PACEs Connection, and NPSC to focus on having a national voice and a vehicle for local and individual coalitions sharing and growing from each other

39:13 – Our goal is for thousands of communities to have trauma-informed cross-sector coalitions that are working with every sector in their community to implement trauma-informed practices and to do so in a way that is coordinated so as members of the community move from one sector to another there is consistency in the way that they are being treated

40:40 – Need to connect the local coalitions, so they are sharing experiences, data, and excitement…need a national voice and presence in Washington…strong voice at the state level

43:44 – Data is critical - We need all of the coalitions around the country to come together and start combining their success stories to persuade congress and local leaders

50:56 - Jesse Kohler, CTIPP

Introduction of panelists, Dave Ellis, Father Paul Abernathy, Jennifer Brickmann, Mandy Davis, Colleen Bridger


52:40 – Dave Ellis – Office of Resilience in N.J.

54:25: Community. We have to figure out how we engage with the community. From my perspective, it's the one piece that we constantly talk about but truly haven't truly done.

54:48: How do we actually connect with those who are most directly impacted and not just in a way that they are providing us with info, but how do we put them in a position to be decision makers at every level?

55:05: The Department of Children and Families is redesigning how we do child welfare in New Jersey to make sure that the voices of children and families are leading the design and implementation of policies at the state level.

56:25: We created a technical assistance center in partnership with the community, and the community told us we don't like the term trauma being in the name and that it's more than a technical assistance center. Instantly the community decided that they wanted to change what we did and how we did it and what we were looking at to something called Healing New Jersey Together

56:48: Healing New Jersey Together has become the new way of talking about trauma work in New Jersey. The partnership now looks at the grassroots state level, nonprofits, and ensuring that everyone has a seat at the table and doing this work

57:38 – Dave references the Self-Healing Communities Model from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation in discussing the new strategic planning process that the state of New Jersey is currently undergoing to determine how to do this work in partnership with the community leading.

57:20: We went to the community to discuss funding opportunities – what would work for you? We have $3 million as a pilot. Once we know how well this works, we will share with the group.

59:00 – The message that I am trying to get to in this is the importance of community.

59:55 – Dave references a quote from Leo Tolstoy: "Everyone talks of changing the world, no one talks of changing themselves".

1:00:22 – If I don't do my own work first, it's really difficult for me to help others do their work.

1:00:55 – My belief is that the only sustainability for the work that we are trying to do sits in community.

1:01:59 – I want to leave you with the belief that all of the work that all of us are doing is having an impact…the beauty of this is that we have so many different ways of doing this work, the only real thing we have to keep in mind is that this is people-oriented. This isn't about systems, it's about the harm done to real individuals and we need to stay focused on this.

1:03:11 – The work in New Jersey is totally designed from community input.

1:04:32 – Funders, do what you do best – fund. Allow the community to do what it does and trust that the community knows the answers, and if we stay the course, we will get where we need to get where we need to go in the end.

105:40 – Dave references his mentor Parker Palmer(sp?): When you find the blending of role and soul, you've found vocation and you'll never work another day in your life.

107:18 Father Paul Abernathy – Pittsburgh Neighborhood Resilience Project

107:34 – Our qualifying expertise for this week is none other than the love for our community. This love of the people who suffer in our community is what has qualified us to do this work.

1:07:53 – We in the community have seen qualified experts come into our community and sow seeds of damage having asked ourselves the question who qualified you to work in our community?

108:11 – we must turn to community because communities have the solutions necessary to help us heal and build resilience and help us achieve a healthy community.

109:26 – if we reorient our understanding of community development as a grassroots process where community members can come together and take collective action to generate solutions to common problems

1:10:44 – We are a product of our environment, but we are also producers in our environment. There is this notion that if we have communities where trauma is disproportionately experienced that disproportionate experience will begin to create a culture and worldview in which it becomes difficult to implement interventions that result in health and well-being

1:10:55 – Trauma Affected Community where we acknowledge that the lived experience of trauma impacts meaning-making and how people understand the world, is in the context in their lived experience of trauma.

1:11:31 – A shared experience of suffering that characterizes the personal experiences of many in the community. Father Abernathy references his neighborhood, the Hill District in Pittsburgh, which is a predominately Black neighborhood. "It's not that everyone has lost a son to gun violence, but everyone knows somebody who has, it's not that everyone has been incarcerated, but everybody knows someone who has, it's not that everyone has been evicted, but everybody knows someone who has."

1:12:04 – It's not about only what I have experienced, it's about what our social network has experienced, it's about what we see all around us, it's about the vicarious experience of trauma through our life and relationships in our communities. It is a shared experience of suffering.

1:13:27 – We understand that there is a lot of negative impact from trauma and yet Some of the wisest, some of the most beautiful some of the most inspiring some of the greatest jewels of humanity have come out of suffering.

1:13:40 - We have learned that our elders through all their suffering have garnered a great wisdom that must be leveraged that even if the context in this suffering and even sometimes as a result of this suffering we have resilience that needs to be leveraged in the face of this trauma

1:14:28: Becoming proficient with skills and processes to develop the model is what is necessary to help communities achieve great success that's why we talk about this as a framework and not a model. A framework that establishes and promotes resilience, healing, and healthy community so people can be healthy enough to sustain opportunity and realize their potential.

1:15:14: Community resilience is the objective by which trauma-informed can help us build community resilience and achieve that end

1:15:58: First pillar - We have to begin at the point of trauma where we engage community members and make community development real to them by addressing the crisis that they are personally in which then gives us the ability to begin implementing strategies around health and well-being (the second pillar)

1:16:18: Once we engage, we can begin that healing process and by relationship and begin to teach skills and implement interventions that help build resilience and community

1:16:30: Which leads us to Third pillar - leadership development – once we engage them and heal them, they themselves become empowered.

1:16:39: It's not enough to be a voice for those who have no voice; we've got to help people who have no voice, be a voice for themselves…when people find their voice it is a sign that they are in fact healing

1:17:45 – The Neighborhood Resilience Project is working toward a national trauma-informed community development network. We have an Intensive week-long training session through the Trauma-Informed Community Development Institute. TICD Summit in partnership with CTIPP – annual reflection on trauma-informed community development and launch and support trauma-informed community development network.

1:18:30: Civil rights movement and many movements like it did not happen simply by chance, but rather by intentionality and organization, dare I say brothers and sisters, that this movement happened in the same way in the same spirit and certainly with the same love and hope.

1:19:37: Jennifer Brickmann, Alive and Well Communities

1:21:11: We formed this nonprofit Alive and Well Communities (in Missouri) in 2017 and gave a lot of thought about how we build this from the community up…and create something that gives ownership to the community.

1:21:45: We have steering committees in St. Louis and Kansas City, where the most important work takes place, where the community priorities are identified in the cross-coalition happens.

1:22:02: We recently expanded to Southeast Missouri…that region is a very rural community with very high need.

1:22:13: We believe that we can't change systems in Missouri without engaging rural Missouri in this work. This is not just an urban issue; trauma pervades in all of our communities.

1:23:12: To give you a sense of scope, across the state we have about 500 ambassadors, 20 staff members, and about 15 community contracted consultants who work in the neighborhoods to build resilient solutions in those neighborhoods for what does it mean in those neighborhoods for them to address the trauma that they are facing

1:23:35: We have reached more than 450 schools. That is the sector that has been most engaged with us since the beginning. Provided training to reach more than 35000 people.

1:24:03: Our mission of activating communities to heal, we have to do this by naming racism and systematic oppression as a trauma that impacts the well-being of all. If we don't name this, we're not addressing it, and we learned that lesson the hard way.

1:24:19: Today, we're very clear, we must name racism in particular and systemic oppression of all kinds to be able to move towards healing. And we have to disrupt that in order to get the generational impact that we want.

1:25:09: All communities experience harm created by trauma, including the trauma of anti-Black racism, regardless of community composition. And, healing is possible, only when we understand and acknowledge how trauma, including the trauma of anti-Black racism and white supremacy.

1:25:23: True well-being is possible when systems and communities work together, and I say that part about systems and communities working together is our organizational philosophy that we have to support systems in becoming trauma-informed, but community has to be at the table guiding that transformation.

1:25:49: And again, the self-work that has been referenced…living in ways that lead to healing and well-being requires our own personal commitment to listening and unlearning.

1:26:12: Acknowledging self-care and rest. We've been on this journey the trauma as an independent organization…for nearly five years and it is hard work. The trauma that you're close and personal with...we find it necessary that we build in self-care and rest.

1:26:30: Discussion of lessons learned – one is that everyone wants training, if we could just get the word out and training everyone. We realized pretty quickly how insufficient that is. We have to become skilled at managing change and helping push through transformation in multiple settings.

1:27:00: But we also need to understand how our work in systems has to connect to change work in communities. And that we're doing that in partnership with the community.

1:27:30: Also, elevating the wisdom of those most impacted. We work on this every day to make sure that decision making is based on the power of those most impacted. One of the ways we're evolving and to get stronger in this is centering youth voice in terms of them holding us and our schools accountable to the work. We've started trauma teams inside high schools that are led by the students themselves.

1:28:18: We have found success with bringing change agents (from systems) to the table with the community to help leverage those types of institutions.

1:29:30: Another lesson that I've learned personally is recognizing how our trauma and our identity impacts us and our impact on the movement. As a white person doing this work, I couldn't skip this step. It's not enough to have good intentions. Our country's history requires that we dig deep to understand how that history impacts how we show up and how we're leading the movement and being involved with the movement.

1:30:00: Invest in building team, have fun, focus on relationships, and trust, understanding the power and privilege that we all bring to the team and how we do that work together, including investing in our own self-care with one another.

1:31:04: Dr. Colleen Bridger, San Antonio's Trauma-Informed System

1:31:21: Today I'm going to talk at a high-level and briefly about the work that San Antonio and Bexar County are doing to achieve their vision of being a trauma-informed community.

1:32:16: We had a group of community members come together in 2018 and talk about how we were going to address ACEs. We decided we were going to focus on children and families and a multi-sector approach which involved 12 different sectors where children and their families interact with other adults.

1:32:50: We decided that we were going to take a systems approach by helping each of these 12 sectors become trauma-informed.

1:33:38: What we found was that there really wasn't a clear understanding of what it meant to be trauma-informed…there was a tendency of organizations to say, yes, we're trauma-informed, without clearly understanding what that meant.

1:34:00: Even with the best of intentions, there wasn't a standardized understanding in Bexar County of what it meant to be trauma-informed.

1:34:53: The community came together and said, we're going to create a system, and this system is going to focus on the why, the what, and the who.

1:35:10: The first component is the South Texas Trauma-Informed Care Consortium. This is a completely volunteer organization with 750 individuals and over 300 different organizations that have joined this consortium that focuses on why addressing ACES is important why trauma-informed care is important.

1:36:03: Dr. Bridger discusses the 12 different sector workgroups.

1:36:26: We involved philanthropy and other funders, because like others have said, we want to make sure as funding becomes for work, it's important that it be trauma-informed and that funders recognize that importance and actually have that be a requirement of their funding.

1:36:55: The Institute for Trauma-Informed Care is a $1.2 million partnership between the City of San Antonio and San Antonio's Public Hospital, University Health System. Provides training and technical assistance at no cost to organizations who want to become trauma-informed care certified.

1:37:21: I do want to point out that this partnership is really unique. To have a city and a public hospital to put money in the game to work on something like this is very unusual. The commitment of each of those organizations is also worth noting.

1:37:38: The city of San Antonio has committed within the next five years that 100% of their departments, about 30 departments, will be certified trauma-informed. University Health is also actively working on becoming certified in trauma-informed care.

1:38:51: The third component of our system is a certifying entity. The certifying entity focuses on who is trauma-informed.

1:39:04: To accomplish this, we partnered with the Ecumenical Center and Methodist Healthcare Ministries. Methodist Health Ministries funded the Ecumenical Center to develop a Center for Trauma-Informed Care for Certification.

1:39:21: To start, they developed certification standards and what that standardized language was…and a process for certifying organizations as trauma-informed.

1:39:43: We created three different levels of certification based on existing national organizations that provide trauma-informed care certification.

1:41:04: One of the most important things to us was making sure that the trauma-informed care process was trauma-informed… it's very participatory and involved, and everyone can provide their input into how to make this work.

1:41:33: Dr. Bridger discusses the certification process, including the self-evaluation tool that organizations that are interested in certification complete.

1:42:43: Dr. Bridger reviews the system components and governance council that is part of the system.

1:44:11: Dr. Mandy Davis, Trauma Informed Oregon

1:45:04: Children's System Advisory Committee – this is a group that in 2012 gathered and said to the state of Oregon you're missing the boat on trauma.

1:45:13: The reason that I want to start here is because 51% of the CSAC is made up of family and youth who have been involved in the children's family health system or the family mental health system…it really grounds and centers our work in the voice of the people.

1:45:40: The Oregon Health Authority – Addictions and Mental Health Division, the name at that time, created a Trauma-Informed Care policy, that policy in 2014 was developed by people with lived experience.

1:46:02: A couple of things stood out (in the policy), it said that…any licensed behavioral health entity in the state of Oregon needs to have knowledge about trauma and trauma-informed care, established a standard of care, increased access, and for the first time in my career as a social worker, it is actually called out in a policy the mitigation of vicarious traumatization.

1:46:46: The mission of Trauma Informed Oregon is a commitment at the state level to promote prevention and to bring policies and practices into better alignment with the principles of trauma informed care (TIC) while supporting equitable and inclusive services.

1:47:13: What's important to know is we are solely focused on organization and system change. Some of you may have heard the phrase, "what happened to you?", I like to think of it as "what did the system do to you?".

1:47:41: Dr. Davis provides an overview about who is Trauma Informed Oregon.

1:48:18: Trauma Informed Oregon originally came together as a partnership between Portland State University, Oregon Health Science University, and the Oregon Pediatric Society.

1:50:12: Our major goal through community building is to connect communities and people so people can share their learning, they can partner on work and grants, advocate together, and inspire.

1:50:53: We put money into funding time together so we can here what's actually needed…we did not want to be a new funded entity that comes in and tells you what to do… we have worked to slow things down, we've needed to do that differently with funders, we can't write the grant ahead of time until we talk to the people about what we want the grant to be.

1:51:52: When we talk about advancing knowledge and practice, paying attention to what's next and what do we need to be embarking on, and what do we need to be involving when we do the work.

1:52:05: At Trauma Informed Oregon what we've really stepped into over the past few years is the intersection of diversity, equity, inclusion, anti-racism, and trauma-informed care. We saw a couple of years ago, and heard, and experienced, trauma-informed care actually being harmful to the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

1:52:20: I'll talk more about the resources and Jesse can provide, but we're really stepping into what does that look like and how does the trauma-informed care movement recenter itself and center racial justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion as we move the work forward in everything that we do.

1:53:49: The public university and the Oregon Health Authority, the public-to-public entity, has been remarkable. We're not in competition with community-based organizations. The public university allows us to do things quicker and differently. It also allows our resources to be public domain. It's all out there and we want people to use it, change it, and share.

1:54:20: We invest in the voices of the people. We invest in lived experience voice both on staff as well as with contractors, and we partner with different entities that know what a community needs.

1:54:35: We have a believe that trauma-informed care is and was a people's movement. So we want to keep that at the center, and that has been important to us…investing in these voices.

1:55:00: How do we keep the people's voice? It's being responsive to what's happening, which means pivoting deliverables and pivoting where we put energy.

1:55:15: Wanting to hold the complexity in this work and not get reductionist. There is no one way or no one word. There are lots of different ways to do this work. Honoring the messiness and time it takes to do the work.

1:55:59: It has been critical both as a person and with my own personal ethics as well as with Trauma Informed Oregon's success is to honor what's already happening. Trauma-informed care is not new. The impact of trauma is not new.

1:56:30: Starting with who are the elders, who are the practitioners, who are those amazing people across that have magic that they've already been doing and bring them forth. Fund them, invest in them to continue that work.

1:56:42: Elevate and fund culturally sustaining projects and programs in a way that is trauma-informed.

1:57:06: How do we really shift how actually do investment and funding and think about how we go up the chain for flexible funding, and what does it look like to fund the grandmother…who is doing the best health literacy that we've ever had. So, using trauma-informed care and diversity, equity, and inclusion to really shift.

1:57:32: People and communities know what they need to heal. It's bureaucracy that has gotten in the way of that.

1:58:25: We have commissioned a report on the intersections of trauma-informed care and diversity, equity, and inclusion that set forth themes and recommendations.

2:00:38: Trauma-informed care is about all of the things, it's about resilience, it's about whole-person care, it's about space and time for emotions, inclusivity, lived experience, liberation, holding all of those things while we continue the work forward.

2:00:55: Jesse Kohler, CTIPP

2:01:04: We started on the Atlantic Ocean and ended over on the Pacific Ocean, and that's just five in the hundreds of communities that are involved in this work.

2:01:20: The five panelists that we had here today are exemplars for what this work can look like. I hope that everybody heard the diversity of this work, that it really does look different in communities in different states, but that it is all impactful.

2:01:35: There are those throughlines we kept hearing, the need for community involvement for voice and choice, for there to be diversity in terms of who is involved, and shared language and understanding of how stress and adversity impact the human mind, body, and spirit.

2:02:11: The whole purpose of the workshop is to build up towards action, building the movement. For people who are looking to start a coalition in their community or their state, or are looking to get involved, what advice would you have for those folks and those communities?

2:03:00: Dr. Mandy Davis: I think you find the people doing the work. You show up. That's been the thing that's always been important. There are a lot of people doing the work and it may not be called trauma-informed care. Finding who in your local community…and build out and find out what's going at the state level.

2:03:36: Dr. Colleen Bridgers: One of the lessons learned for us in running a fairly large coalition is it is really important to staff that coalition. You can't expect volunteers to do the work to do the work of setting the agenda, finding the space, taking the minutes, and making sure the co-chairs have what they need and show up. So really invest in either in-kind staff from major contributing organizations or hiring your own staff to do those administrative functions of the coalition.

2:04:36: Jennifer Brickmann: We can do the work whether we're working formally with a coalition or not. How we show up in our own families, how we show in our communities, the schools that we're in, our local governments, everywhere, especially right now, needs this approach. Learning how to apply the trauma lens no matter who we're in a relationship with or where we're in a relationship. Echo that the coalition work requires investment of time and money, and it has to be staffed.

2:05:25: Father Paul Abernathy: I would simply reiterate learning, learn as much as you can about this. Even as much we know there is always more research, always more information available. Learn as much as you can. Secondly, build as many relationships as you can. Relationships are key. And relationship building is intentional work and unless we are in relationship, we will be unable to do this work in the community.

2:06:01: Dave Ellis: There's a quote from Wade Davis, in which he says, "the world to which you are born in just one version of reality. Other people are not failed attempts at being you, but their own unique manifestations of humanity". And when I think of this work, I think about the impact of trauma, I keep thinking that we have to keep that in mind. We're all different. We all just need to step in and realize that my trauma isn't yours and we don't have to compare. Let's just figure out what we're going to do with it and step into it. We have to pay folks. I don't invite anybody, including community into this work unless I compensate them for it.

2:08:24: Jesse Kohler: We wanted to be intentional in the designing of this workshop series to also include voices of lived experience. We wanted to make space for that to be a part of the workshop series every single time after every single panel.


2:09:04: Rebecca Lewis-Pankratz, ESSDACK

2:09:40: I always like to start off by sharing that at the end of the book of trauma-informed is this idea that we really heal a brain thing with a love thing.

2:10:02: My story, I was born into poverty, collected eight ACEs before the age of 18, my mom had nine, and when I hit middle school, I became that kid, principal's office, causing trouble, fights, all kinds of stuff.

2:10:23: When I was 15, I moved out of my parents' home and rented my first trailer house in a hidden ghetto in my Midwest community.

2:10:35: My 16th birthday, I called the high school secretary and told her where to go and dropped out and was going to go out into the world and find a house like I saw those girls having on the other side of town.

2:10:49: Right at that same time, I fell madly in love with someone who was three years older than me and fresh out of the penitentiary. On my 16th birthday, we left the state, and I didn't call or come home for three and a half years.

2:11:02: You guys know what I found. I did not find a house like the girls had on the other side of town, I found survival.

2:11:09: My husband became a professional drug dealer, a very successful drug dealer, and I spent the next 13 years in a cycle of crime, and domestic violence, and addiction.

2:11:19: I left that marriage at 29 years old. I did something my culture doesn't do, I involved the police and a protection from abuse order and got out.

2:11:29: Very quickly, I found myself homeless, no job, no car, no money, no possessions, a high-school dropout, and pregnant with my first baby.

2:11:40: I knew I had to do something different, so I enrolled in college full-time, worked full-time, and my new baby cried full-time. No resources, no community, brokenness, trauma, chaos, survival, and here I am a mommy, and I swore I was never going to put kids through what I went through.

2:12:01: Fast forward, two more failed relationships, and two little boys later, almost a decade later, I was back in that same hidden ghetto that I started out in when I was 15, I bought a trailer house for a $1000 that should have been condemned.

2:12:27: Seven months clean and sober, still in college, trying to get my four year degree to be a high-school art teacher, my oldest son, and youngest son were climbing the walls wild, every single day I got up and I prayed as hard as I knew how to pray and I ran as fast as I knew how to run, but this bone-crushing weight of poverty and survival just keeps spinning you back.

2:13:02: I started frequenting this diaper ministry at this church, and one day the lady who had the outreach took a shine to me, and I was telling her that these diapers mean a ton to me and my kids, I promise when I get through college and get my kids to a better place I'm going to come here and give back so other moms can have this.

2:13:23: She just lovingly shook her head and pointed to a flyer that said something about a class to get out of poverty. My first thought was what are these people going to teach me about getting out of poverty that I'm not already doing.

2:14:01: I showed up that first night, pretty suspicious, and to help you understand, my kids weren't diagnosed yet, but my oldest son and youngest son were on the autism spectrum, and I didn't go in public with my kids. I'm thinking, I'm going to go into this place and there are going to be these middle-class people and they're going to find out where we live and they're going to take my kids and this isn't safe.