Tubbs Teaching Connections Seeks to Build Trauma-Sensitive Communities

Building awareness, skills and knowledge around the topic of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) is the focus of a day-long virtual conference hosted November 13 by the University of Northern Iowa College of Education for its annual Bill and Linda Tubbs Teaching Connections professional development program. 

Entitled “ACEs: Building Trauma-Sensitive Communities,” this fall’s program features a range of guest speakers from UNI and organizations locally and statewide. Scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., it includes keynote and general sessions for all and concurrent presentations, panels and activities (all remote). 

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are directly linked to health and opportunity throughout the lifespan, says Disa Cornish, associate professor in public health and education in the College of Education and a member of the Tubbs planning committee. 

By some estimates, nearly two-thirds of adults have experienced at least one ACE, defined as traumatic experiences as a child that are remembered as an adult. These can include exposure to physical, sexual, emotional or substance abuse, domestic violence, divorce or separation or incarceration of a family member. People who experience ACEs are more likely to also struggle with healthy relationships, experience academic and financial challenges and/or be diagnosed with serious and chronic diseases later in life.

“ACEs impact our communities in many ways, and we all have a role to play in building resilience and supportive environments. This topic is relevant and timely for all disciplines in the College of Education and many across campus and in our communities as well,” says Cornish.

Sarah WelchProgram features include: 

  • Keynote speakers: Sarah Welch, Iowa ACEs 360, “Healing Iowa: Reshaping our systems and communities for Iowa’s children to thrive in response to ACEs”; and Jennifer Ulie-Wells, Please Pass the Love, “Racial and cultural trauma in schools.”  
  • Concurrent sessions on topics ranging from racism, trauma-informed response in schools, safe schools, health disparities and resilience and panels on wellness and physical activity, play therapy and expressive arts. 

Other guest speakers include LaTasha DeLoach, with the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center; Dawn Martinez Oropeza, with Al Exito Youth Mental Health Task Force; Kathie Barry, a retired school counselor and adjunct UNI instructor; Kaylyn Fischer, with Iowa Safe Schools; Stephanie Kroeger, with the Center for Foundational and Relational Wellness; Stephanie Eslick with Covenant Family Solutions; and Kristin Meany-Walen and Jennifer Ulie-WellsCory Arensdorf, with the Waterloo Community School District. Faculty members participating include Sarah Montgomery, UNI Department of Curriculum and Instruction; Diane Depken, UNI Department of Health, Recreation and Community Services; Ashleigh Kysar-Moon, UNI Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology; and Libby Fry, UNI Department of Social Work. The full agenda is available here. 

Current teacher education students, faculty and practicing teachers and school administrators along with counselors, social workers and other health professionals are invited to attend. . 

Now in its fifth year, the initiative was renamed to reflect a donation by Bill and Linda Tubbs to the UNI Foundation to support the College of Education. There is no charge to attend. Register for the Zoom webinar here.