With rates of trauma more prevalent in the US than in most other countries, many communities in America face a significant barrier to achieving community health and wellbeing. Trauma manifests not only at the individual level, but at the community level, through exposure to interpersonal violence and structural violence. And all forms of violence prevent communities from meeting their basic needs.
The Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience (ACE|R) Framework and materials that have been developed subsequent to the framework's release provide a basis for understanding how community trauma undermines both individual and community resilience, especially in communities highly impacted by violence, and what can be done about it.
This work was made possible by the Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit.
- The ACE|R report offers a groundbreaking framework for understanding the relationship between community trauma and violence. It outlines specific strategies to address and prevent community trauma—and foster resilience—using techniques from those living in affected areas.
- In June 2016, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a workshop on public health approaches to reducing and preventing community violence, and Howard Pinderhughes, ACE|R co-author, presented on the framework. The workshop proceedings are outlined in this summary brief and full publication. A video of Dr. Pinderhughes’ presentation can be viewed here.
- What? Why? How? Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About the Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience Framework builds off of core concepts in the Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience Framework and addresses questions that have emerged in early practice and implementation.
- Since the initial development of the Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience Framework in 2016, multiple networks and communities have shared it, as well as adopted, adapted and/or implemented it to address and prevent community trauma. Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience: Learning from Practice reflects valuable lessons from their practice.
In the video below, Dr. Howard Pinderhughes outlines the current landscape of understanding about trauma among individuals and communities, including the impacts of structural violence and historical trauma.
ACER in Action
PI develops tools and works with a number of communities to incorporate the ACE|R framework into their efforts to improve community health and safety. For example:
- In Oakland, California, as part of a national SAMHSA-funded project, PI is part of the city’s efforts to reduce trauma. PI is working with project partners to develop ACE|R training materials. Oakland is a member of the UNITY City Network.
- Under PI’s Making Connections for Mental Health and Wellbeing among Men and Boys initiative, with funding from the Movember Foundation, sites in San Diego and Tacoma are using the ACE|R framework in developing strategies that address the community conditions that undermine quality of life for young boys and men of color, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and suicide.
Milwaukee’s Blueprint for Peace: Charting the Path Forward with the Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience Framework
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, PI worked with the Health Department to use ACE|R as a core framework for an action plan to reduce the incidence of interpersonal and structural violence, and to promote community safety and resilience. CBS 58 and the Milwaukee Independent covered the January 2017 Safe MKE symposium as part of Milwaukee’s action planning process, and Fox 6 Now, the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, and other outlets covered the initiative’s launch in November 2016. In November 2017, Milwaukee released its Blueprint for Peace. Grounded in the Framework, the Blueprint identifies forms of violence and structural violence and draws on community assets and best practices to focus on preventing violence, as well as intervention efforts to ameliorate the impacts of violence and prevent future perpetration and victimization. Milwaukee is a member of the UNITY City Network.
Developing a Community-Trauma Informed Approach to the Substance Misuse Epidemic in Ohio
Ohio’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is utilizing the Framework to drive its statewide opioid prevention efforts and strategy in partnership with 12 communities. They are specifically using ACE|R to build trauma-informed coalitions and identify drivers of substance misuse.
Taking a Gendered Approach to Community Trauma in San Diego’s East African Refugee Community
In City Heights in San Diego, CA, United Women of East Africa Support Team is addressing community trauma and building resilience in East African men and boys, using ACE|R as the organizing framework for their assessment, planning, and implementation efforts.
Cultivating Resilience to Address Adverse Community Experiences in an Accountable Community for Health: The East San Jose PEACE Partnership
As one of eight communities in the California Accountable Communities for Health Initiative, the East San Jose Peace Partnership has used ACE|R as its overarching framework. This emphasis has helped the project to remain focused on community level change strategies and provided a structure for expanding its focus to address multiple forms of violence.
Fostering Social Connections and Trust in Public Housing: BRIDGE Housing’s Approach to Addressing Community Trauma
Bridge Housing has advanced the notion of Trauma Informed Community Building and improved outcomes for people living in public housing through implementing strategies to address and prevent community trauma.
Building Community Power to Heal and Thrive: Addressing Adverse Community Experiences
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department embraced the ACE|R Framework in its community-driven planning process to improve mental wellbeing for boys and men of color and LGBTQ youth, particularly in efforts that focus on healing as a starting point for collective action.
- Invisible Wounds: Gun Violence and Community Trauma among Black Americans
- What Happens to a Dream Deferred?
- Communities across US adopt PI framework to address community trauma
- SAMHSA Webinar: Fostering Community Wellness: Addressing Toxic Stress and Adverse Community Events