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 test sites are in Cincinnati, OH, Dallas, TX, the State of Oregon, Washington, DC and the Alive and Well Communities in Missouri and Kansas. 

Pair of ACEs Tree with Citation.png

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.”

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 Test Sites

There are five sites across the nation currently testing 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 five sites are:

BCR Map

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.