Rebuilding Communities

Rituals for Recovery sees community resilience as an essential factor in improving public health outcomes. Community resilience originates from protective factors in communities and families to protect individuals from the accumulation of stress due to adverse childhood experiences, such as exposure to emotional and sexual abuse, maternal depression, neglect or incarceration. When these exposures are experienced in adverse community environments (ACEs), characterized by violence, racism, or poverty, for example, the effects are compounded and often lead to multi-generational stress and poor health outcomes.

The Rebuiding Communites Resilience intiative 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."

The plan is informed by research on child health care systems and also on barriers to addressing the root causes of community and childhood adversity.

Barriers to fostering resilience include a clinician’s lack of training to screen for a patient’s past trauma history and current social needs that impact health, such as food insecurity, housing needs and financial burdens. Barriers also include a clinician’s difficulty or inexperience connecting patients to community-based resources and agencies to address their social needs. Systemic barriers include the inability to share information across large systems – such as housing, health, education, juvenile justice and public safety – in efforts to collaborate and foster community resilience.

RfR employs a systematic approach based on four central components that are applied as a continuous improvement model: creating shared understanding of childhood and community adversity, assessing system readiness, developing cross-sector partnerships, and engaging families and residents in a collaborative response to prevent and address the Pair of ACEs.

Adapted from Ellias, W., W. (2017) A New Framework for Addressing Adverse Childhood and Community
Experiences:The Building Community Resilience (BCR) Model, Academic Pediatrics, 17 (2017) pp. S86-S93, DOI Information: 10.1016/j.acap.2016.12.0111