Engaging the Community to Build Back Stronger: Lessons from the Actions 4 ACEs Campaign

Thursday, August 26, 2021 2:30 - 3:30 PM (EDT)


Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are stressful or traumatic events which affect children’s brain architecture and can have negative, lifelong effects on health and well-being. ACEs are common – across the country, 2 out of 3 children have experienced at least one ACE, which can include events such as parental separation, experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect, or having a loved one attempt or die by suicide. ACEs can also include challenges such as poverty, discrimination, and poor housing quality. As public health professionals, it is especially important for us to mitigate the impact of ACEs in this moment against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial justice movement’s collective activism against systematic racism.

Research shows that ACEs can be neutralized by positive experiences and loving relationships, and that with compassionate, nurturing support, people can achieve resilience — the process of adapting and overcoming in the face of adversity. Caring and competent adults can help children heal from the impact of ACEs by building positive relationships youth, helping to create a sense of belonging, and increasing connections to community, culture, and spirituality.

The NJ ACEs Collaborative – a unique public-private partnership – developed a statewide awareness campaign to build public understanding, support for, and adoption of behaviors to help mitigate the negative short- and long-term impact of ACEs.

This panel discussion will explore the various efforts underway in New Jersey, campaign partners and their roles, with special emphasis on the Community Advisory Board. We will share how an intentional discovery process enabled the creation of a strengths-based communications campaign in a space typically characterized by deficit models and draw out lessons that can be applied to other public health efforts.


  • Discuss and define adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their impact, particularly during the pandemic, and the powerful role of caring, competent adults in mitigating the effects of childhood adversity
  • Describe efforts in New Jersey to address ACEs, including the Actions 4 ACEs campaign, creation of an Office of Resilience and Statewide Action plan, Handle With Care, and the Healing-Centered Engagement in NJ Schools initiative;
  • Show how these efforts draw from and align with the Building Self-Healing Communities model (Porter, Martin & Anda) and the Pair of ACEs framework (Ellis & Dietz) to address gaps, build community resilience and work across sectors
  • Examine the important role of the Community Advisory Board, NJ ACEs Collaborative and partner eco-system in developing, implementing and evaluating efforts
  • Discuss lessons and application to other public health efforts


Dave Ellis

Executive Director
New Jersey Office of Resilience

Christopher M. Leusner

Middle Township Police Department

Barbara Prempeh, PsyD

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center

Ann Ritter, JD, MPH

Program Officer
The Burke Foundation

Angel Santiago,M.Ed.

Gloucester Township, New Jersey


Melissa Taylor

Porter Novelli
225 Reformation Parkway
Suite 200
Canton, GA 30114
(770) 509-5555
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Billing Contact:
Loree Tengzelius
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

© NPHIC. All rights reserved.