Intermountain - Caring Solutions, Strong Families, Healthy Communities

ACE Summit: Changing the Conversation About Trauma

By Cathy Huntley, Childwise Communications and Project Manager

Huntly, Cathy-2The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is possibly the most important public health study ever done, and the largest study of its kind. The study examines the health and social effects of ACEs over the lifespan, demonstrating that childhood adversity appears to determine the likelihood of the ten most common causes of adult death in the United States.

In 2013/2014, ChildWise Institute presented two critically important Summits across Montana based on the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. This is changing how systems of care respond to health problems in a more comprehensive manner. Communities across the nation are becoming ACE informed to promote better physical and mental health among children & adults. On October 1st & 2nd, 2015, ChildWise Institute will present a powerful summit titled “Adversity is not Destiny, Overcoming ACEs through Actions”.  The Summit’s goal is to accelerate awareness and knowledge of the ACE Study into practical strategies and actions to mitigate toxic stress manifested in children through abuse, neglect and household dysfunction.

The summit focuses on, “Now that you know about ACEs, what will you do about it?” Award winning writer, director and producer James Redford will speak during the 2-day summit. Redford recently released “Paper Tigers”, a documentary following four teens attending Lincoln High School in Walla, Walla, WA. Principal Jim Sporleder asked the question “What happened to you?” instead of “What’s wrong with you?’ By implementing trauma-informed practices and resilience techniques Lincoln HS saw an 85% decline in suspensions and a 40% decline in expulsions and an increase in graduation rate five-fold. Paper Tigers captures the pain, the danger, the beauty, and the hopes of struggling teens and the teachers armed with new science and fresh approaches that are changing their lives for the better. ChildWise will screen Paper Tigers during the 2-day summit.

Also featured: Dr. Sandra Bloom, creator of The Sanctuary Model, a proven and highly successful trauma-informed approach for creating or changing an organizational culture; Jim Sporleder, former retired principal who led the effort which earned Lincoln HS in Walla, Walla, WA national recognition for applying a trauma-informed approach to education; Dana Eisenberg, LCSW on the Trauma and Community Resiliency Models (CRM & TRM) designed to teach skills to professionals and others who work with children and adults struggling with symptoms from traumatic experiences; Eric Arzubi, child and adolescent psychiatrist and physician champion for The Billings Alliance, a collaborative that joins Billings Clinic, St. Vincent’s Hospital and RiverStone Health to enhance community awareness of the impact of ACEs on health and mental health across the lifespan; Pamela Ponich-Hunthausen, MS, LCPC who specializes in parent/child attachment, and will focus on trauma-informed approaches from a parent perspective.

“Adversity is Not Destiny” – October 1st & 2nd 2015.  To register, click here. For more information, please email



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