Building Community Resilience Expands

By Wendy R. Ellis DrPH (c), MPH, Milken Scholar, Health Policy

George Washington University, Milken Institute School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy & Management

How Do You Build a Resilience Movement?
Know when to lead, when to follow and when to partner

We are now three years into the work of building a resilience movement, community by community across the country, and I am thrilled to announce a key addition to our Building Community Resilience family, Alive and Well Communities (AWC) based in the country’s heartland. AWC is a new partner who we will learn from and also support, and they mark an important point of growth in our work and the broader resilience movement. Together, we plan to broaden their resilience work regionally, beyond the individual cities where they currently operate: St. Louis, MO, Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS, which we are collectively calling “BCR MO-Kan.” 

Building Community Resilience is a national collaborative and network that seeks to improve the health of children, families and communities by fostering engagement between grassroots community services and public and private systems to develop a protective buffer against adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) occurring in adverse community environments (ACEs) – the ‘Pair of ACEs’. Our work to build networks that seed and support resilience can protect against the stressors that too often become toxic to a child’s development and long-term health. The BCR collaborative and network consists of five regional sites, including our newest partner, MO-Kan.

Throughout the past year, the BCR national team at the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at The George Washington University has fielded a flood of requests for lessons learned, tools and resources from communities across the country. Presented with the opportunity to bring a new community into the collaborative, we sought a site that would complement the growth, ambition and innovation already taking place at BCR sites based in Cincinnati (OH), Portland (OR), Dallas (TX) and Washington (DC). After interviewing several potential sites, we selected the Alive and Well Communities (AWC) of Missouri. AWC is a merger of Alive and Well St. Louis, Alive and Well Kansas City, and Trauma Matters Kansas City, and is aimed at building a network of trauma-informed and resilient communities.

By joining the BCR collaborative and network, BCR MO-Kan aims to leverage the BCR process, tools and resources to advance three important strategies:

  • Building momentum for individuals and organizations to become actively involved in making their communities and organizations across Missouri trauma-informed and resilient;

  • Building capacity of the region to advance trauma-informed approaches and resiliency across multiple sectors; and

  • Building capacity for evaluating trauma-informed and resilient communities using BCR’s Data Dashboard, a novel means of tracking and interpreting our sites’ program and organization-level progress.

The addition of AWC to the BCR collaborative and network is an important opportunity to test the scalability of BCR at state and regional levels. To read more, visit ACEs Connection.

David Rygiol