ACESTooHigh is a nonpartisan traditional online news site that reports on research about positive and adverse childhood experiences, including developments in epidemiology, neurobiology, and the biomedical and epigenetic consequences of toxic stress. We also cover how people, organizations, agencies and communities are implementing practices and policies based on the research. This includes developments in education, juvenile justice, criminal justice, public health, medicine, mental health, social services, and cities, counties and states.
Most of the content on ACEsTooHigh.com comprises news articles. News coverage decisions are made independent of any outside influence or cause other than providing information to the public and serving their communities. ACEsTooHigh posts some op-eds, by invitation. Donors and volunteers do not have input on what news is covered or how it is reported.
We subscribe to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News:
Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions.
We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.
Our organization may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.
Our organization will make public all donors who give a total of $5,000 or more per year. We accept no anonymous donations.
The editor of ACESTooHigh is Jane Stevens; that’s me. When I launched ACEs Connection in 2012, it comprised ACEsTooHigh.com, a news site for the general public that I founded in 2009, and ACEsConnection.com, a social network for the growing community of people who were integrating practices and policies based on ACEs science in their work and lives. In 2021, the name of the organization was changed to PACEs Connection to reflect how the growing science of positive childhood experiences integrated with the science of positive childhood experiences.
Because I’m a long-time health, science and technology journalist, PACEs Connection was always a journalism organization; as publisher and CEO, I created it as such. Over the years, the articles on ACEsTooHigh.com have had millions of page views. PACEsConnection.com has grown to nearly 60,000 members.
On May 1, ACEsTooHigh.com became independent from PACEs Connection so that both organizations could grow as they should. Journalism organizations are led by journalists; the current CEO of PACEs Connection, Ingrid Cockhren, is not a journalist, and as a journalist I cannot report to a person who is not a journalist. As a journalism organization, PACEs Connection could not apply for state and federal grants, which PACEs Connection needs to be able to do to continue to support its work. It also needs to scale and develop partnerships with organizations and companies in a way that journalism organizations cannot.
Here’s more about my background: In a nutshell, I’ve been a journalist for more than 40 years, and have focused on health, science and technology. My articles have appeared in the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and National Geographic. I began reporting about the science of childhood adversity in 2005 with an article that looked at how the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study showed a clear link between ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) and adult obesity.
If you want to contact me, do so at email@example.com. I welcome your tips, contributions, corrections and ideas.
Other background: Before formally launching ACEsTooHigh and ACEsConnection in January 2012, I was director of media strategies at The World Company in Lawrence, KS, where we developed a local social journalism health news site called WellCommons. WellCommons is a model site for the concept of social journalism, which combines a journalism platform with a social networking platform. The World Company eventually sold the news site and reverted to traditional journalism by closing down WellCommons.
Dr. Lori Dorfman of Berkeley Media Studies Group and I directed the Reporting on Violence project, which has operated out of the BMSG offices since the mid 1990s. I’ve taught at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where I helped found the multimedia reporting track and helped developed training programs for hundreds of mid-career journalists who wanted to transition to digital journalism.
My background includes TV reporting for WGBH-TV; positions as copy editor, assistant foreign-national editor, sci-tech reporter and columnist for newspapers (Boston Globe, the old San Francisco Examiner); and as a video journalist for New York Times TV. I founded a health/science/technology feature service with more than 20 client news organizations worldwide. I’ve done magazine writing (Science, Nature, National Geographic, Technology Review, Los Angeles Times Magazine); was a multimedia journalist, doing reporting for Discovery Channel; and led teams to create TOPP.org and the Great Turtle Race of 2007, hosted by Yahoo!. I’ve been fortunate to live in and report from Kenya and Bali, Indonesia; have been to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean on the deep-sea submersible Alvin, and to the “bottom of the world” in Antarctica three times on research icebreakers.
Fellowships awarded include two from the National Science Foundation and one from the Australia Antarctic Division for travel to Antarctica; a Reynolds Journalism Fellowship at the University of Missouri; and the Knight-McCormick Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. All of them changed and enriched my life immensely, and I am grateful and so lucky to have received them.
I’m also writing a book about positive and adverse childhood experiences, and how people, organizations and communities are implementing healing-centered (trauma-informed) policies and practices based on the science of positive and adverse childhood experiences.
Comments are welcome, as long as the discussion is civil. No cyber-trauma allowed.
Founder & Editor
Celeste Fremon is the founder and editor of WitnessLA, a nonprofit independent news site focusing on how issues of justice and injustice affect the health and well-being of California’s communities. She is the author of “G-Dog and the Homeboys” (Hyperion 1994, University of New Mexico Press, 2004, 2008). She is writing a new book with the working title, “Miracles and Pain,” about a series of unlikely friendships born out of LA’s gang crisis of the 1990s, revisited 20 years later. Fremon is also a 2022 John S. Knight Community Impact Journalism Fellow at Stanford.
Prior to launching WitnessLA in 2007, Fremon worked as an award-winning freelance journalist specializing in gangs, law enforcement, criminal justice, incarceration policy, and education reform. She has written for the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, the LA Weekly, Ms., MSNBC, and more. Her work has been honored by The American Library Association, The Southern California Journalism Awards, The Society of Professional Journalists, PEN USA, The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, The Western Publishing Association, Sunday Magazine Editors’ Association, The Missouri School of Journalism, The Knight Foundation, and others. She taught literary journalism as it relates to social justice at UC Irvine, and reporting at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education
Martin Reynolds oversees fundraising, client relations & external affairs and serves as the institute’s lead Fault Lines diversity trainer. He is the co-founder of Oakland Voices, an award-winning storytelling project that trains residents to serve as community correspondents. The program is now in its 10th year.
He previously served as director of the Reveal Investigative Fellowship with the Center for Investigative Reporting. Reynolds served on the board of directors for the David and Reva Logan Family Foundation between 2010 and February 2023. He currently serves on the board of directors of Cityside, the parent company to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside, two award-winning hyper-local news sites in the Bay Area.
His journalism career with Bay Area News Group spanned 18 years and many roles; among them, managing editor and editor-in-chief of The Oakland Tribune. Reynolds was also a lead editor on the Chauncey Bailey Project, formed in 2007 to investigate his slaying. He is a professional lyricist and among his many musical endeavors, was part of a live album recorded with his band Mingus Amungus in Havana, Cuba.
Chief Network Officer
Institute for Nonprofit News
Jonathan Kealing is the Chief Network Officer at the Institute for Nonprofit News, responsible for strengthening collaboration among INN’s network of nonprofit newsrooms and developing partnerships and services that help them meet their missions and increase the reach and impact of their journalism. He is part of the organization’s executive leadership team and is frequently called on by other journalists, news entrepreneurs and news funders to help understand how nonprofit news organizations are reinventing journalism for and with communities. He is currently leading the development of INN’s Rural News Network, uniting more than 60 nonprofit news organizations that serve rural communities with investigative and explanatory journalism. Kealing is also a director of MinnPost and part of the nonprofit news organization board’s executive committee, as well as a member of the board of trustees for the William Allen White Foundation.
Before joining INN, Kealing was part of the leadership team at Public Radio International, serving as executive editor for PRI.org. Previously Kealing worked for The World Company and its Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. There he helped launch innovative community news sites focused on health and sustainability, including WellCommons.com, which pioneered many of the strategies and approaches that have informed the work of ACEsTooHigh and PACEsConnection.com. He also led efforts to cross-train reporters and photographers for a digital-first, multi-platform environment. He is a graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas and lives in Minneapolis with his wife Anne, and their two kids, William and Emily, as well as a new puppy, Juniper.
Aspen Institute’s Weave, The Social Fabric Project
Michael Skoler works with New York Times columnist David Brooks and a passionate team on a project to support people throughout the United States who are weaving relationships across differences in their communities. They are spurring a cultural revolution, fixing a social fabric tattered by distrust, loneliness and alienation and creating beloved places of mutual caring and belonging where everyone is seen and welcomed.
Skoler’s executive experience spans multimillion-dollar fundraising, product innovation, digital platform creation, board expansion and management, strategic planning, industry thought leadership, financial oversight and culture change. As an MBA, former NPR correspondent and McKinsey consultant, he taps the power of data and storytelling to inspire people and deliver impact around a mission. He created the first national crowdsourcing network for public radio newsrooms, the Public Insight Network with a quarter million members. He pioneered using social media and community engagement to assemble diverse knowledge-sharing networks on complex social issues, from gender equity to health care, immigration to income inequality, government accountability to international security.
He is a serial collaborator who builds partnership through diversity, transparency and a supportive culture. He launched the multi-year Public Radio Collaboration, the first State Integrity Investigation on state government corruption, PRI’s Across Women’s Lives initiative and various campaigns and online games around social issues. As president of Louisville Public Media, he focused on expanding its community connections and the diversity of its staff, board, services and audiences.
Berkeley Media Studies Group
Lori Dorfman was BMSG’s first associate director in 1993 and became director in 1998. She earned her doctorate in 1994 from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, where she studied how television news frames health issues. Dorfman oversees BMSG’s research, media advocacy training, strategic consultation, and education for journalists and consults with programs across the U.S. on a variety of public health issues, helping them apply the principles of media advocacy.
Her research examines media portrayals of public health issues, including children’s health, food and beverage marketing, nutrition, breastfeeding, violence, and alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. She co-authored the major texts on media advocacy: Media Advocacy and Public Health: Power for Prevention and News for a Change: An Advocate’s Guide to Working with the Media; she edited Reporting on Violence: A Handbook for Journalists, which encourages journalists to include a public health perspective in violence reporting and led an interdisciplinary team that conducted workshops on violence reporting for newspapers and local TV news stations. She teaches a course on mass communication at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health. Dorfman co-chairs the Food Marketing Workgroup, a national coalition dedicated to eliminating harmful food marketing.
Chief Executive Officer
Ingrid Cockhren joined PACEs Connection in 2018, and became CEO in January 2022. She knows first-hand how impactful trauma and toxic stress can be for children and families and has dedicated her professional life to investigating and educating the public about the link between early trauma, early adversity, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), positive childhood experiences and the consequences that occur across the lifespan. Specializing in creating equitable and inclusive environments within organizations, collective impacts and grassroot movements, Cockhren uses her knowledge of stress, trauma, historical trauma, human development, and psychology to translate research concerning diversity/equity/inclusion (DEI) and trauma-informed practices into community, workplace, and organizational solutions.
Cockhren graduated from Tennessee State University with a B.S. in psychology and from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College with a M.Ed. in child studies specializing in minority and impoverished children. Her research areas are African American parenting styles, positive and adverse childhood experiences, historical trauma, intergenerational trauma, brain development, developmental psychology, and epigenetics. Cockhren’s experience includes juvenile justice, family counseling, early childhood education, professional development, consulting, and community education. She is an adjunct professor specializing in Black psychology, developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, and personality theory at Tennessee State University.