NEW CASTLE, Del., Sept. 27, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The places where children live affect the lives they end up leading. 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.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

On Wednesday, October 4, the support group 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.

"Building Community Resilience: A Workshop on Addressing Trauma in Delaware" will feature presentations by Wendy Ellis, DrPH(c), MPH, co-founder and project director of Building Community Resilience, an initiative of George Washington University's 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 Debra Berke, PhD, CFLE, director of psychology programs at WilmU'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 — to collectively develop a protective buffer against ACEs occurring in ACEs."

The workshop kicks off at 8:30 a.m. in the Audrey K. Doberstein Admissions Center auditorium on WilmU's New Castle campus at 320 North DuPont Highway, New Castle, Del. It will also be livestreamed online. The event is free to attend, but registration is requested for in-person and virtual audiences. Attendees can register here.

The payoff for strengthening communities is potentially huge for those who live there, said Leslie Brower, PhD, RN, chair of Trauma Matters Delaware, which was founded in 2014 by representatives of Delaware's Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families along with other public health stakeholders.

"While the 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 through 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, GWU's Building Community Resilience operates test sites at Nemours Children's Health System in Wilmington, Del. — a co-sponsor of the October 4 event — as well as in Washington, D.C.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Portland, Ore.; and Dallas, Texas.

For more information on Trauma Matters Delaware's Building Community Resilience workshop at Wilmington University, please contact Dr. Berke at or 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