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

Perspectives (September 2017)

Sara Merz, Executive Director Advocates for Health in Action

There’s a lot of enthusiasm about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Resilience work in Wake County. Many people, organizations and agencies that provide direct services have been doing this work for years. Many have been using the ACEs information, maybe the survey, and definitely trauma-informed care, so ACEs and building resilience aren’t new.

Others, however, are hearing about ACEs for the first time and asking “What can I do now?” I hadn’t heard of ACEs, despite having worked in human services policy at the state and county level for years, until I saw the Resilience film a year ago.

ACEs have been deemed the biggest predictor of health outcomes. So our entire community benefits by learning about it, learning what we can do to deal with our own ACEs score, and learning what we can do in our work and personal lives to support healthy kids and communities across our county. We need to know some specifics, and we need to take action based on that.

Part of AHA’s role in Wake County is to bring people together to learn from each other, and bring ideas from other parts of the country that can inform our work. In AHA’s quarterly partnership meetings, people come to hear what others are doing, and to share what they’re doing. People learn from each other, make connections and work together.

With the ACEs Resilience work we are embarking on with numerous community partners, we’re looking to do the same thing. And we are committed to bringing this information to people outside the traditional health and direct services setting.

I’ve been hearing resilience examples and anecdotes from different providers in our community that just amaze me. I can use some in my daily life, and many others can too, regardless of what their job is. This is one of the keys to a lot of the public health work that’s been done in the last 15 years – expanding the pool of people working to improve health, within their own professions and daily lives, even if they haven’t seen that as their role or “job” before.

Thank you to all who have been leading the way in the resilience work for years, and to those of you who want ideas you can use to build resilience for yourself and this community. We look forward to this community-driven work!

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