News Release

David Bernard
Public Relations Associate, Public Relations
320 DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE 19720

A Pair of ACEs is a Bad Hand

Wilmington University to host community-strengthening workshop October 4

The places where children live can deeply affect the lives they ultimately lead. Those who live in the poverty, violence, or discrimination of an Adverse Community Environment while also suffering abuse, neglect, family dysfunction, or other Adverse Childhood Experiences — a situation described by public health professionals as "a pair of ACEs" — are more likely to grow into less healthy futures.

On Wednesday, October 4, Trauma Matters Delaware will host a workshop at Wilmington University that aims to help healthcare providers, policymakers, law enforcement officials, educators, and students to identify communities' resources, address their risk factors, and improve the well-being of their populations, especially the youngest members.

The workshop kicks off at 8:30 a.m. in the Doberstein Admissions Center auditorium on WilmU's New Castle campus at 320 North DuPont Highway. It will also be live-streamed online. The event is free and open to the community. Pre-registration is required for in-person and virtual attendees.

"Building Community Resilience: A Workshop Addressing Trauma in Delaware" will feature presentations by Dr. Wendy Ellis, co-founder and project director of Building Community Resilience, an initiative of George Washington University's (GWU) Milken Institute School of Public Health, and by Jeff Hild, policy director for GWU's Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention & Wellness.

"The ultimate goal of community resilience is to improve public health outcomes," said Dr. Debra Berke, director of psychology programs at Wilmington University's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, where she launched a trauma-informed approaches certificate and training program in 2016.

"This event seeks to improve the health of children, families, communities, and organizations," she said. "By connecting community services with public and private systems — like healthcare, education, business and law enforcement — these can combine to collectively develop a protective buffer against ACEs occurring in ACEs."

The payoff for proactively building resilience in communities and among the people who live in them is potentially huge, said Dr. Leslie Brower, chair of Trauma Matters Delaware.

"While exposure to traumatic experiences is common, the legacy for individuals and communities can be shaped by promoting resilience both as a proactive strategy and as an intervention to address recent experiences," she said. "Entire communities benefit from resilience by building safe and supportive community spaces and services, improving family economic fortunes, and developing the skills to manage crises collaboratively and positively."

As a public health outreach initiative, Building Community Resilience operates test sites at Nemours Children's Health System in Wilmington as well as in Washington, D.C.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Portland, Oregon, and Dallas, Texas.

Please click here to register in advance for this free event. For more information on Trauma Matters Delaware's Building Community Resilience workshop at Wilmington University, contact Dr. Berke via email to, by phone to (302) 356-6760, or contact Dr. Brower at

About Wilmington University

Wilmington University is a private, nonprofit institution committed to providing career-oriented, traditional and online associate, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs. The Wilmington University difference starts with our flexible, year round class schedules and full online learning availability and our graduates end with substantive degrees through one of the lowest tuitions in the tri-state region. Combined with our intense focus on academic excellence and individualized attention to our students in our degree and certificate programs and doctoral degrees, the WilmU difference is reflected in our students' achievements and alumni successes. For more information, contact Wilmington University at 302-356-INFO (4636), via email at, or visit

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - New Castle, DE