Dr. Wendy Ellis has spent the last decade developing a national ‘resilience movement.’ She created the Building Community Resilience process and collaborative, now being implemented in five metro regions, to address systemic inequities driving disparities and a range of poor outcomes transmitted in families and communities across generations. BCR is framed around what Ellis describes as the ‘Pair of ACEs’ – adverse childhood experiences in the context of adverse community environments. Previously, as a journalist, Ellis saw multiple systems – from juvenile justice to health care – fail the very children and families they were meant to serve. The BCR work has garnered $1.6 million in funding, including from the Kresge Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Ellis has been featured in Congressional briefings and in the Washington Post, US News and C-SPAN.
In collaboration with the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the BCR teams in Dallas, Cincinnati, and Portland have begun to build links to their public health departments. These linkages provide an entrée into city government as well as access to other community organizations and agencies within the cities. Furthermore, the linkages with public health departments provide a potential pathway to sustainable funding. Each BCR site has distinctive characteristics, although commonalities have emerged across sites. The next leap in this work would be to provide a deeper understanding of the linkages between individual and community adversity, inequity and resilience.