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AHA improves the health and well-being of Wake County residents by facilitating and supporting community initiatives.

Perspectives: ACEs and Building Resilience (April 2017)

Sara Merz, Executive Director, AHA

Nearly 300 leaders joined us earlier this month for the Resilience film screenings and the start of incredible conversations about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how we can build resilience in Wake County. “I have not stopped talking about this film since I saw it last week. I have shared information with co-workers and with other stakeholders,” said Eric Johnson, Community Relations Manager at Alliance Behavioral Healthcare.

This film and the screenings are a call to action to improve health in Wake County, and leaders at nonprofits, the business community, and state and local government are already answering the call.

I have been astounded by the positive response, much of it similar to Eric’s response. Within two days, more than 10 organizations approached AHA about borrowing the DVD to start internal and external conversations on how they can use this to improve their health outcomes. Others have called to talk next steps. Some of you are already using the trauma informed care; we hope you will join us in identifying ways our community can support you, and make it bigger.

We thank Wake County Manager Jim Hartmann and other county leaders, and Doug McMillan, CEO of YMCA of the Triangle, for partnering on this event and for finding ways to use this knowledge to support their own systems and staff. Marbles Kids Museum was a wonderful host, sharing the IMAX Theater to bring Resilience to the big screen.


The 60-minute film includes incredible data on cost savings, health impact and social impact numbers when ACEs is measured and/or trauma informed care is used. Some of us were moved to tears by the up-close look at how this is being used to improve outcomes.

Your leadership is what will build on the successes our community already has achieved. AHA is moving to measuring outcomes, and your time and energy make a difference.  If you couldn’t join us last week, send an email and we’ll keep you informed on how this conversation evolves and how you can be involved. This is just the start of our community conversation. Check out the 2-minute trailer and an overview of the film. Consider your next steps!

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