Shelby County residents are being asked to “Answer the Call” by participating in a confidential phone survey, which will gather information to help develop tools to assist parents in protecting their children's emotional and behavioral health.
Calls will go out to randomly selected participants in Shelby County over the next six to eight weeks.
The surveys were organized by the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) Center Task Force of Shelby County, which is made up of more than 40 community leaders, including Tennessee First Lady Crissy Haslam, Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell Jr..
The ACE Center Task Force recently was established to create a trauma-informed community, engaging residents in understanding the costly and harmful outcomes of toxic stress that arise from adverse childhood experiences.
The task force is implementing a two-pronged approach to involve residents in understanding the profile of stress in our community. The countywide phone surveys to gather pertinent data are the first step.
“As a parent and a grandparent, I understand the challenges of childrearing,” said Barbara H. Nixon, LCSW and Founding Chair of the ACE Center Task Force of Shelby County. “As a professional for 45 years, I understand the critical importance parenting plays in our community wellbeing. This confidential survey will help build a solid foundation for addressing these commonly experienced challenges. I hope fellow citizens will ‘Answer the Call.’”
The second step centers on two state-of-the-art parenting sites, which will open in January of 2015. The sites will offer Shelby County families access to professional guidance to identify and address symptoms of toxic stress.
Shelby County has long experienced high levels of ill health, obesity and violence. We now know, thanks to research in brain science and genetics, that the most effective time to intervene in these problems is as early as possible in childhood.
Memphis-based nonprofit Porter-Leath will administer the parenting sites, while partners Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women and Knowledge Quest will serve as the host locations.
“The ACE Survey results will show the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences in our county and their impact on poor health outcomes,” said Gwen Price, Parenting Initiative Director at Porter-Leath. “This information will be used as a baseline as we strive to help our community become trauma-informed.”
The initiative is based on the work of international speaker Robin Karr-Morse, author of “Scared Sick: The Role of Childhood Trauma in Adult Disease” and founder of the Parenting Institute based in Portland, Oregon. She will serve as a consultant for the Memphis pilot initiative, along with Vincent J. Felitti, MD, international speaker and co-investigator of the original Adverse Childhood Experiences Study.
(To learn more about the Answer the Call campaign, visit www.acecentershelbycounty.com.)