Stephen C. Bush has been named chairman of the ACE Awareness Foundation board. The Memphis-based Foundation’s mission is to educate, inform and lead on the ACE issue to position the Greater Memphis-area to be a catalyst in enacting lasting and enduring change in policy and practice to permanently reduce toxic stress in family systems.

“Stephen has been a supporter of the Foundation’s work from day-one, recognizing the role ACEs play in the physical and mental development of each individual,” said Ellen Rolfes, ACE Awareness Foundation executive director. “He has first-hand understanding of the impact of ACEs, as he has seen the lasting implications of child trauma throughout his career. Stephen will be a tremendous asset as we expand our initiatives and increase our education efforts to prevent trauma and spark generational change that allows communities to prosper.”

“The ACE Awareness Foundation has brought together the best and brightest in our community together to enact enduring measures to permanently reduce toxic stress and improve outcomes in families,” said Bush. “It’s an honor to hold a leadership role during this important and meaningful time for the Foundation.”

Bush, a founding member of the ACE Awareness Task Force, is replacing the Foundation’s founding board chair, Barbara H. Nixon, who will become an ex-officio member on the board will continue to serve the Foundation as a consultant.

“Without Barbara, there would be no ACE Awareness Foundation,” added Bush. “We are grateful for her tireless vision, and are delighted that she will remain involved with the Foundation moving forward.”

2016 year in review

The ACE Awareness Foundation made great strides in 2016. Key highlights include:

  • The Foundation was the primary funder for the Building Stronger Brains Initiative in Tennessee, sponsoring statewide meetings and speakers through Frameworks, a Harvard-based messaging firm, to educate leaders on how to talk about ACEs in their communities
  • The Universal Parenting Places (UPPs) model was designated a Community of Hope by Casey Family Programs, which resulted in Foundation staff being invited to several key meetings in New York and Florida to network with other designees
  • The Foundation launched the iHeLP Policy Lab, an ACE Awareness Initiative with the University of Memphis Law School
  • The Foundation launched the Parent Support Warm Line with LeBonheur Healthcare, which has helped hundreds of families in mitigating the onset of ACEs in their homes
  • The ACE Aware Community Partnership Initiative team trained dozens of community organizations on recognizing the impact of emotional trauma in mental, physical and behavioral health
  • The Foundation partnered with Playback Memphis and LifeLine to Success to provide uplifting improvisational workshops and storytelling for families of ex-offenders, and will soon begin individual counseling with Lifeline’s parent population

The year ahead

In 2017, the Foundation will continue to expand on these efforts and more, including opening at least two new UPPs to council families and caretakers, embarking on a major public education campaign in the fall, and engaging lawmakers to transform the way our medical systems and policies address health and behavioral outcomes for families.