Resilient Communities

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The Building Community Resilience Collaborative

The Building Community Resilience (BCR) collaborative at the Redstone Center seeks to improve the health of children, families, and communities by fostering engagement between grassroots community services and public and private systems to develop a protective buffer against Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) occurring in Adverse Community Environments (ACEs) – the “Pair of ACEs." Connecting community organizations (through a church health ministry or trusted food pantry, for example) with larger systems (including those in health care, education, business, law enforcement) can begin to build a durable network to improve community wellbeing. The BCR sites are in the Greater Cincinnati Region of Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky, Dallas County, TX, the State of Oregon, Washington, DC-Maryland-Virginia, the State of Washington and Kansas City (MO and KS) and St. Louis, MO. 

Pair of ACEs Tree

BCR sees community resilience as an essential factor in improving public health outcomes. Community resilience originates from buffers in communities and families to protect individuals from the accumulation of stress due to adverse childhood experiences, such as exposure to emotional and sexual abuse, maternal depression, neglect or incarceration. When these exposures are experienced in adverse community environments (ACEs), characterized by violence, racism, or poverty, for example, the effects are compounded and often lead to multi-generational stress and poor health outcomes.

The work of BCR is to build networks that foster resilience against the stressors that can become toxic to a child’s development and long-term health: Adverse Childhood Experiences occurring in Adverse Community Environments – the “Pair of ACEs.”

As our work evolved over time, we learned more about the relationship between trauma, equity and resilience. We are developing resources for communities to communicate and engage in the equity aspect of community resilience work. Read more about trauma, equity and resilience.

The Building Community Resilience (BCR) Approach

Currently, no process exists to break the multi-generational chain and address the “Pair of ACEs.” The BCR design is informed by research on child health care systems and also on barriers to addressing the root causes of community and childhood adversity.

Barriers to fostering resilience include a clinician’s lack of training to screen for a patient’s social needs that impact health, such as food insecurity, housing needs and financial burdens. Barriers also include a clinician’s difficulty or inexperience connecting patients to community-based resources and agencies to address their social needs. Systemic barriers include the inability to share information across large systems – such as housing, health, education, juvenile justice and public safety – in efforts to collaborate and foster community resilience.  

BCR employs a systematic approach based on four central components that are applied as a continuous improvement model: creating shared understanding of childhood and community adversity, assessing system readiness, developing cross-sector partnerships, and engaging families and residents in a collaborative response to prevent and address the Pair of ACEs.

BCR Sites

There are six sites across the nation currently implementing the BCR approach. Each site begins with different priorities, community makeup, resources, and set of partners. As such, each site develops its own unique strategies. The sites are:

Resilience Catalysts in Public Health

Reducing and eliminating adversity by fostering equity through policy, practice and program change to build resilience.

Using the novel Community Resilience (CR) framework developed at GW, health departments across the country are convening multiple sectors at the local, state and federal level to manage and deliver resources that contribute to a community’s health and wellbeing.

Operating as Chief Health Strategists local health departments are Resilience Catalysts, driving initiatives that address the Pair of ACEs. Resilience Catalysts foster integration of cross-sector and community services and community-wide prevention by leveraging a public health approach to prevent the Pair of ACEs with a focus on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), opioid misuse and suicide.

BCR Stories

BCR Policy & Advocacy

BCR Tools & Resources

We have a number of tools and resources to help communities develop their own BCR coalitions. They have been instrumental to the work of our BCR test sites in Cincinnati, Dallas, Oregon, Missouri-Kansas and Washington, DC. Click the links below to download. 

BCR Pair of ACEs Infographic Templates

​​Coalition Building & Communications

From Our Partners:

Contact Us

Please email us at resilientcommunities@gwu.edu to receive updates about our communities, upcoming events, and new resources. You may also want to join the BCR Facebook community to exchange ideas with others passionate about community resilience.

This project is supported in part by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Kresge Foundation. Implementation of the BCR process was piloted as part of the Moving Health Care Upstream initiative, which is a joint project of UCLA and the Nemours Foundation.