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Institute for Safe Families Awarded Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant To Host Two Day National Summit on Adverse Childhood Experiences, May 13 and 14, 2013

Carolyn's picture
Written by Carolyn
Published on 4/17/2013

Philadelphia, PA – (March 19, 2013)—The Institute for Safe Families (ISF), a Philadelphia-based non-profit organization dedicated to preventing family violence and child abuse, has been awarded a $67,775 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to host a two day National Summit on Adverse Childhood Experiences May 13 and May, 2013.  This event will encourage a national dialogue on ACEs and toxic stress in children’s lives, with a solution and action-based focus. Thought leaders, practitioners and key stakeholders from around the country will discuss and recommend comprehensive public health approaches on how to bring the ACE work to scale in a variety of settings. Proceedings from the Summit, including recommendations for program, policy and research next steps, will be disseminated nationally.  The two day Summit and the evening forum will be video recorded and turned into webinars and available to a national audience.

This is ISF’s second Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant and will strengthen work already underway by the ISF-led Philadelphia ACE Task Force.  Over the past year, the task force has been engaged in developing assessment and intervention strategies for families who have been exposed to adverse experiences, such as abuse, witnessing violence, persistent poverty, or having a parent with mental illness or substance abuse. 

The work of the Philadelphia ACE Task Force is guided by the ongoing ACE Study (, which is coordinated by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study demonstrates that toxic stress and traumatic childhood experiences can lead to significant social, emotional and cognitive impairments, chronic diseases and unhealthy behaviors across the life span. 

By educating professionals and community members about the ACE Study, and facilitating partnerships between practitioners and major thought leaders in the field, ISF is emerging as the regional think tank for ACE-related research, policy and practice.

 “With this grant, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has recognized the incredible talent that resides in Philadelphia on this ISF-led ACE Task Force and I am heartened by the Foundation’s willingness to fund a second day of a National Summit in Philadelphia to help create strategic action that can impact kids in America,” said Joe Pyle, President of the Scattergood Foundation

The ACE Task Force, a partnership between practitioners, public health leadership and advocates, is co-chaired by:  Sandra Bloom, MD, Associate Professor of Health Management and Policy and Co-Director of the Center for Non-Violence and Social Justice at Drexel University; Joel Fein, MD, MPH, Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, Attending Physician in the Division of Emergency Medicine at The Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, and Director of the Philadelphia Collaborative Violence Prevention Center; and Lee Pachter, DO, Chief of General Pediatrics and Associate Chair for Community Pediatrics at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, and Professor of Pediatrics at Drexel University’s College of Medicine.

The Philadelphia ACE Task Force has the added benefit of senior mentorship from Robert Anda, MD, MS, Co-Principal Investigator of the ACE Study and Linda Chamberlain, PhD, MPH, the Inaugural Scattergood Foundation Scholar.  Emily Wilson, MPH, MS, CHES, a 2013 Stoneleigh Foundation Emerging Leader Fellow, is conducting national ACEs research and helping ISF coordinate efforts. 

“This grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation represents not only an investment in our city but also an extraordinary opportunity for Philadelphia to host one of the first National gatherings of leaders from around the country to create a shared vision and set of actionable efforts focused on treating and preventing early adversity for children and their families,” said Martha Davis, Executive Director of ISF. 

In addition to support provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Co-Sponsors of the event, include:  The American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy on Violence and Abuse, Futures Without Violence, National Council for Behavioral Health, Prevent Child Abuse America, and the Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation.  Locally, sponsors include:  The Stoneleigh Foundation, The Center for the Urban Child at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Health Partners of Philadelphia, Multiplying Connections, a program of the Health Federation of Philadelphia, The PA Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, SCAN and Prevent Child Abuse PA.

The ACEs work, led by ISF, has had additional support from The Barra Foundation, the CHG Charitable Trust, the First Hospital Foundation, the Philadelphia Foundation, and the William Penn Foundation. 

Contact: Martha Davis, Executive Director, Institute for Safe Families, (215) 843-2046,