Our Team

The ACE Awareness team is composed of passionate Memphians, life-long child advocates, and strategic communicators. We are committed to revolutionizing policy and practice, and transforming communities. Your engagement with us is always welcome and appreciated.

RENÉE WILSON- SIMMONS, DRPH

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

A child and adolescent development expert, Renée Wilson-Simmons joined the foundation from New York, where she served for six years as director of the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), a nonpartisan public policy research center at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She was also faculty in the Department of Health Policy and Management and a member of the executive steering committee for Trauma-Free NYC, a Columbia University-community partnership that is identifying and promoting trauma-informed practice and policy in New York City.

Prior to leading NCCP, Dr. Wilson-Simmons was the senior associate for adolescent health and development at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where she managed the foundation’s investment strategy for adolescent health and taking to larger scale evidence-based interventions that improve systems and frontline practice. She also served as associate director Evidence2Success, the foundation’s model for improving child outcomes through school-public systems-community partnerships. While in Boston, Dr. Wilson-Simmons was director of the Health Promotion Program for Urban Youth at Boston City Hospital, principal investigator of the first Office of Minority Health-funded grant to develop a community-based coalition to prevent homicide in the African American community, and director of a five-year National Institutes of Health-funded intervention study of the long- term impact of a comprehensive adolescent health program on reductions in multiple-risk behaviors related to violence, substance abuse, and early and unprotected sexual activity among inner-city African American and Latinix youth.

Dr. Wilson-Simmons grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and between her undergraduate and graduate studies was a reporter for The Pittsburgh Courier. She earned a doctorate in public health with a concentration in maternal and child health from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; a master’s degree in urban journalism from the University of Minnesota; and a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English from Shippensburg University.

EBONY K. BAILEY, LPC MHSP

CLINICAL DIRECTOR

As clinical director for the ACE Awareness Foundation, Ebony K. Bailey applies the latest research on trauma and mental health to help guide the foundation’s innovative, relationship-based approach to the prevention and mitigation of toxic stress. She works with clinicians to design and oversee programming for the Universal Parenting Places — judgment-free centers that provide parents, grandparents and other child caregivers in a family with professional counseling as well as family activities that strengthen attachment while reducing the effects of toxic stress. A native of Memphis, Ms. Bailey has a decade of experience and training as a licensed professional counselor working with children, youth, adults, and families dealing with trauma, anxiety, and processing life’s transitions.

Ms. Bailey earned her undergraduate degree in human ecology from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and a master’s degree in counseling with a concentration in marriage and family therapy from East Tennessee State University. Her professional training includes trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy-TF-CBT, body- focused psychotherapy and nonviolence towards the self, eye movement desensitization resolution therapy, and Yoga Nidra I. As a therapist in private practice, she creates healing spaces for individuals and families as they navigate through various stressors encountered in life. She has presented at the West Tennessee Counseling Association’s conference on topics such as “The Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences Throughout the Lifespan” and “Leveraging DBT Skills & Body-Oriented Psychotherapy to Optimize Experiential Learning.”

KRYSTAL ROSS

OPERATIONS MANAGER

Krystal Ross has primary responsibility for overseeing the organization’s day-to-day operations and coordinating the staff, resources, and funds needed to run smoothly.
A native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Ms. Ross worked in the banking industry for five years before joining the foundation in January 2016 as an executive administrative assistant. Prior to that, she was an auditor for a company specializing in small business loans and provided administrative support for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Ms. Ross earned her undergraduate degree in communications sciences and disorders, speech, and language pathology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.