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FRONTIER's 2023 statewide summit, "Leveraging North Carolina's Assets to Prevent Child Trauma"

Organized by the FRONTIER Program at the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute

April 26-28, 2023

Raleigh, NC


“Leveraging North Carolina’s Assets to Prevent Child Trauma” (the summit) convened 150 in-person attendees and approximately 230 virtual attendees representing academia, community and state organizations, lived experience, philanthropy, legislative and agency officials, scientific research, educational systems, clinical practice, and others. The overarching goal of the summit was to

identify common threads across constituent groups in North Carolina, each working to address child trauma, and determine how, together, we can co-create a statewide effort in community and policy spaces to tackle its sources and reduce its incidence. Organizers and participants agree this can be achieved by:

• sharing knowledge and experience about child trauma, its causes, and its prevention;

• bolstering community efforts through a shared understanding of trauma science;

• creating new relationships between individuals and organizations and strengthening existing relationships;

• illuminating the current landscape of child trauma prevention across North Carolina communities to help assess strengths and gaps; and

• beginning a process of generating policy recommendations to prevent child trauma.


Child trauma has myriad effects and solutions. Not every important idea could be shared at a two-day summit or in this executive summary, but below are a few of the themes that came up repeatedly.

Preventing child trauma and addressing child trauma to prevent long-term harm require:

• supporting parents to reduce economic stress with access to affordable housing, food, childcare, and dependable employment or income;

• addressing systemic root causes, including structural racism, health inequities, and economic stress;

• transitioning to trauma-informed practices in many settings, including families, schools, communities, child welfare system, healthcare, legislative, and criminal justice;

• interrupting the cycle by addressing trauma in children, adolescents, and young adults before they become parents;

• expanding access to mental health assessment and access for children and parents, including addiction prevention and treatment;

• educating people and organizations to change violent social norms and improve interpersonal relationships; and

• providing universal high-quality early childhood education.

Effective approaches for moving forward include:

• People with lived experience of child trauma must be part of developing policies and programs regarding child trauma.

• There is no silver bullet; preventing child trauma as a society requires a lot of pieces.

• Strategic alignment and collective action are critical; no one person, community organization, agency, foundation, nonprofit, or legislative body can do it alone.

Prevention and early intervention are better than later intervention.

Sustainable funding is needed to ramp up evidence-based prevention programs; these programs save society money in the long run.

Local organizations and philanthropy can make a difference in communities and demonstrate effective strategies.

Advocacy is an effective tool to institute trauma-informed policies at national, state, or local levels.


Day 1: Morning


  • Dr. Diana Fishbein, Director of FRONTIER and the Translational Neuro-Prevention Research and Senior Research Scientist, Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute, UNC-Chapel Hill

  • Dr. Aysenil Belger, Professor and Director of Neuroimaging Research in the Department of Psychiatry, and Professor in the Department of Psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill, Adjunct Associate Professor at the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center at Duke University

Keynotes – Vision for the State

  • Dr. Lisa Amaya-Jackson, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Child & Family Mental Health & Community Psychiatry Division, Duke University Medical Center.

  • Dr. Kelly Graves, Executive Director & Co-Founder, The Kellin Foundation

  • Safiyah Jackson, Chief Strategy Officer, North Carolina Partnership for Children.

Trauma & Child Development

  • Dr. Margaret Sheridan, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, UNC-Chapel Hill

  • Dr. William Copeland, formerly at Duke and currently Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Vermont

Trauma & Mental Health

  • Dr. Angela Tunno, Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine

  • Dr. Ilana Berman, Postdoctoral Fellow, FPG Child Development Institute and Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, UNC at Chapel Hill

Trauma, Inequities, & Racism

  • Dr. Jennifer Neitzel, Executive Director at Educational Equity Institute

  • Dr Iheoma Iruka, Research Professor, Department of Public Policy, UNC; Founding Director, Equity Research Action Coalition at FPG Child Development Institute, UNC

System-Specific Trauma

  • Dr. Aidan Bohlander, Manager of Outreach and Product Development, National Infant-Toddler Court Program at Zero to Three

  • Dr. Kimberly Cook, Professor in Department of Sociology and Criminology, UNC- Wilmington with Frankie Roberts

Day 1 Morning
Download PPTX • 121.41MB

Day 1: Afternoon

Policy Realities and Opportunities

  • Introductions by Jesse Kohler, CEO of the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy & Practice (CTIPP)

  • Representative Ashton Clemmons (D-NC)

  • Senator Jim Burgin (R-NC)

Systems Change

  • Crystal Kelly, VP, Programs and Policy at Prevent Child Abuse NC

  • Elizabeth Star, CEO, HopeStar Foundation

  • Kimberly Friedman, JD, Managing Director of External Relations at Family Connects International

Dashboard and Assessment Tool

  • Mebane Boyd, Resilient Communities Officer, NC Partnership for Children

  • Nick Pylypiw, Cape Fear Collective

Wrap Up of the Day

  • Vernisha Crawford, Trauma Informed Institute and BYE Foundation

Day 1 Afternoon
Download PPTX • 31.42MB

Day 2: Morning

Community Perspectives

  • Dr. Dawn Baldwin Gibson, Executive Pastor of Peletah Ministries

  • Dr. Jada Brooks, Associate Professor at UNC Chapel Hill

  • Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, minister, founding Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality

  • Tamra Church and Dr. Jennifer Matthews: Resilient North Carolina Collaborative Coalition (RNCCC)

Agency Level Policy Reform

  • Jenni Owen, Director, NC Office of Strategic Partnerships

  • William Lassiter, Deputy Secretary for Juvenile Justice, NC Department of Public Safety

Public Policy Efforts to Prevent & Address Trauma and Childhood Adversity

  • Erica Palmer-Smith, NC Child

  • Sharon Hirsch, President and CEO, Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina

Department of Health and Human Services Initiatives to Support Trauma-Informed Practices and Policies

  • Dr. Charlene Wong, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at NCDHHS, Executive Director, NC Integrated Care for Kids, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Public Policy at Duke University

  • Ingrid Bou-Saada, MA, MPH Division of Public Health, NC DHHS

  • Saarah Waleed, MA, LCMHC, Department of Mental Health, NC DHHS

  • Amy Eaton, MS, Children's Health and Development Coordinator, DSS, NC DHHS

Day 2 Morning
Download PPTX • 186.71MB

Day 2: Afternoon

Cost/Benefits Analysis of Trauma-Informed Policies

  • Facilitator: Whitney Marris, CTIPP

  • Dr. Jane Cooley Fruehwirth, Professor of Economics at UNC-Chapel Hill, Fellow of UNC’s Carolina Population Center, and Adjunct Associate Professor in Public Policy

  • Dr. Stephen Marshall, Director of the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center

Building Trauma-informed Societal Systems

  • Judicial System: LaToya Powell, JD, Deputy General Counsel at NC Department of Public Safety

  • Health Care: Dr. Frank Castelblanco, Mountain Area Health Education Centers

  • Education: Dr. Rodney Trice, Deputy Superintendent for Teaching & Learning, Systemic Equity, & Engagement, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

  • Cross-sector community coalitions: Ingrid Cockhren, CEO at PACEs Connection

Opioid Use Prevention Policy

  • NC Attorney General Josh Stein (via video)

  • Dr. April Bragg, Dogwood Health Trust

  • Dr. Linda Richter, Partnership to End Addiction

Opportunities for Policy Change: Key Takeaways, New Thinking & Next Steps

  • Dr. Melissa Clepper-Faith, Perspectives of a Pediatrician from a Public Health Standpoint

  • Diana Fishbein, Ph.D., Perspectives of a Scientist and Policy Advocate

  • Mr. Jesse Kohler, Perspectives of a Community Organizer and Policy Advocate

  • Ms. Whitney Marris, Advocacy Training to Learn How to Effectively Engage with Policymakers

Day 2 Afternoon
Download PPTX • 83.70MB


The summit themes were explored in greater detail, producing a series of articles on key topics raised during the summit, including:

  1. Preventing Child Trauma in North Carolina

  2. Supporting and Connecting Organizations Addressing Child Trauma

  3. Addressing Root Causes of Child Trauma

  4. Addressing Child Trauma in North Carolina: What State Agencies are Doing

  5. Advocacy: Turning Science into Policy

  6. Addressing Child Trauma in North Carolina: What Organizations are Doing

To access all of these articles, visit the FPG website.

If you would like to view video presentations from the two-day event, check out this YouTube video playlist.

If you are interested in obtaining 4 APA Continuing Education Credits for the morning session on Day 1, visit the NPSC page to purchase the course.

In addition, FPG will work on a set of specific policy recommendations to share with the General Assembly, state agencies, and local officials. There will be webinars, meetings, and other follow-on activities. They also plan to create a task force comprised of a wide range of constituent groups and individuals to co-develop a

statewide action plan for North Carolina for maximal impact. If you’re interested in

participating in upcoming webinars, meetings, or the task force, please contact Dr. Fishbein.

Contributors to this summit include: UNC Carolina Seminar Series; NCDHHS; SAMHSA; Smart Start; HopeStar; Child Trust Foundation; Duke Endowment; PCANC; KB Reynolds Trust; CTIPP; National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives; and the coordinators, Wake AHEC.

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