Assisting refugees: Lessons on trauma and resilience


Lao wedding in the U.S.

Making do with what you’ve got

 There are a lot of stories about refugees in the news. Some years ago, I helped resettle refugees from the Vietnam War. Trauma and resilience define what it means to be a refugee. All of them had lived through years of warfare. They had seen friends and family members killed. They had to flee the familiar towns and villages they had lived in all their lives. They arrived in a new country with hardly any resources, in a land where nobody spoke their language or understood their customs. Could you do that?

Continue reading

Lumpers and Splitters: Who doesn’t believe in ACEs?


Here’s the problem. Since you are reading this on ACEsTooHigh, you are likely not the type of person who questions ACEs — the adverse childhood experiences research that shows how childhood trauma is linked to the adult onset of chronic disease, mental illness, violence and being a victim of violence, among other consequences. Like me, when you first heard about ACEs, you shouted “Eureka!” or felt the heavens open up or maybe simply thought “Well, that makes sense.” Writing this, I’m preaching to the choir.  After all, there is so much scientific evidence to support ACEs, doesn’t everyone believe it?

Well, working in public health communications, I have learned that science only goes so far. There are people who question the science of vaccinations, or fluoridation, climate change, evolution, the disease model of addiction and/or social determinants of health. So why not those who question the science of adverse childhood experiences?

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: