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PACEs Connection Resource Center

PACEs Science: Leaders in the Field

Leaders in the Field

We welcome additions! If you know of other PACEs science leaders in the field who belong on this list, please share them in a comment. Thank you!


  • Dr. Robert Anda
    Dr. Anda graduated from Rush Medical College and received his board certification in internal medicine. He completed a fellowship in preventive medicine at the University of Wisconsin, received a masters degree in epidemiology, and was accepted into the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Dr. Anda began a collaboration with Dr. Vincent Felitti at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego to investigate child abuse as an underlying cause of medical, social, and public health problems. Dr. Anda is the co-principal investigator and co-founder of the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. Robert Anda videos

  • Dr. Christina Bethell
    Dr. Bethell is a Professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, where she serves as the founding director of the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI) within the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health. Her work has focused on promoting early and lifelong health with a special focus on patient, family and community centered engagement, addressing social determinants of health like adverse childhood experiences, advancing a positive construct for health and human flourishing and translating neuroscience and integrative health methods. Christina Bethell videos

  • Dr. Sandra Bloom
    Dr. Bloom is a board-certified psychiatrist. In addition to her faculty position at the School of Public Health at Drexel, she is president of CommunityWorks, an organizational consulting firm committed to the development of nonviolent environments. Dr. Bloom currently serves as a distinguished fellow of the Andrus Children’s Center in Yonkers, NY. You may access here a video recording of her presentation on The Sanctuary Model, which she gave at the 2010 “Trauma: A Public Health Crisis in Western New York” conference. Sandra Bloom videos

  • Dr. Renée Boynton-Jarrett
    Dr. Boynton-Jarrett is a pediatrician and social epidemiologist and the founding director of the Vital Village Community Engagement Network. Her work focuses on the role of early-life adversities as life course social determinants of health. She has a specific concentration on psychosocial stress and neuroendocrine and reproductive health outcomes, including obesity and early puberty. She is interested in social ecology and the role of neighborhood attributes in influencing health trajectory. Specifically, she has studied the intersection of community violence, intimate partner violence, and child abuse and neglect and neighborhood characteristics that influence these patterns. Renée Boynton-Jarrett videos

  • Davis Ellis
    Dave Ellis is the first Executive Director for the Office of Resilience within the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF). In this role, Ellis coordinates statewide efforts to prevent, protect against, and heal from the effects of ACEs. Ellis is a national leader in providing trainings and facilitating conversations regarding toxic stress in the lives of young children and the lasting impacts of ACEs and generational trauma. He has worked with both families and organizations to prevent ACEs and advance research and survey efforts.

  • Dr. Nadine Burke Harris  
    Dr. Burke Harris is California's first Surgeon General, appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019. She was founder and chief executive officer of the Center for Youth Wellness. She serves as an expert advisor on Hillary Clinton’s Too Small to Fail initiative and the Clinton Foundation in association with Next Generation. She also wrote The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Trauma and Adversity. Nadine Burke Harris videos

  • Dr. Pam Cantor
    Dr. Cantor practiced child and adolescent psychiatry for nearly two decades, specializing in trauma. She founded Turnaround for Children in 2002 after co-authoring a study that assessed the impact of the 9/11 attacks on New York City school children. Today, Turnaround translates scientific knowledge about how children develop and learn into integrated tools, and services for educators to establish the conditions for all students to thrive. Pam Cantor videos

  • Susan Cole
    Susan Cole was the Founder and Director of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative. During a career that spanned more than 30 years, Susan built a field and launched a movement that brings a critically important awareness to the need for trauma-sensitive schools where all students, including those who have been impacted by trauma, can succeed at their highest levels in school and in life. Susan passed away in 2021. Susan Cole videos

  • Dr. Joy DeGruy
    Dr. DeGruy is a nationally and internationally renowned researcher and educator.  For over two decades, she served as an Assistant Professor at Portland State University’s School of Social Work and now serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Joy DeGruy Publications Inc. Dr. DeGruy’s research focuses on the intersection of racism, trauma, violence and American chattel slavery. She conducts workshops and trainings in the areas of intergenerational/historical trauma, mental health, social justice, improvement strategies and evidence based model development. Joy DeGruy videos

  • Dr. Wendy Ellis
    Dr. Ellis is an Assistant Professor in Global Health and the Director of the Center for Community Resilience at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. The Center for Community Resilience seeks to improve the health of communities by enabling cross-sectoral partners to align policy, program and practice to address adverse childhood experiences in the context of adverse community environments--or as Ellis has coined it "The Pair of ACEs". Wendy Ellis videos, 2020 Vision: Fostering a Resilience Movement.

  • Dr. Vincent Felitti
    Dr. Felitti is one of the world’s foremost experts on childhood trauma. Leading the charge in research into how adverse childhood experiences affect adults, he is co-principal investigator of the internationally recognized CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, a long-term, in-depth, analysis of over 17,000 adults. You can view a 2012 presentation by Dr. Felitti here: Adverse Childhood Experiences and their Relationship to Adult Well-being and Disease. Vincent Felitti videos

  • Dr. Ken Ginsburg
    Dr. Ginsburg is a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He also serves as director of Health Services at Covenant House Pennsylvania, an agency that serves Philadelphia’s homeless and marginalized youth. Ken Ginsburg videos

  • Dr. Shawn Ginwright
    Dr. Ginwright is one of the nation’s leading innovators, provocateurs, and thought leaders on African American youth, youth activism, and youth development. He is Professor of Education in the Africana Studies Department and a Senior Research Associate at San Francisco State University. His research examines the ways in which youth in urban communities navigate through the constraints of poverty and struggle to create equality and justice in their schools and communities. Dr. Ginwright is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Flourish Agenda, Inc., a national nonprofit consulting firm, whose mission is to design strategies that unlock the power of healing and engage youth of color and adult allies in transforming their schools and communities. Shawn Ginwright videos

  • Dr. Claudia M. Gold
    Dr. Gold is a pediatrician, Infant-Parent Mental Health Specialist, author, teacher, and speaker. She is the director of The Hello It’s Me Project, a rural community based-program designed to promote healthy relationships between infants and their caregivers. She also writes a newsletter with articles on childhood development. Claudia M. Gold videos

  • Dr. Ken Hardy
    Dr. Hardy is the President of the Eikenberg Academy for Social Justice, and Director of the Eikenberg Institute for Relationships in New York City. He is also a Professor of Family Therapy at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Hardy has provided Diversity and Racial Sensitivity training and consultations to an extensive list of Health and Human Services agencies as well as a host of educational institutions. He is a frequent workshop presenter, trainer, and consultant on the topics of cultural and racial diversity, trauma and oppression. Ken Hardy videos

  • Dr. Chan Hellman
    Dr. Hellman is a professor of social work at the University of Oklahoma and Director of The Hope Research Center. He has written more than 100 scientific publications and has presented at numerous national and international conferences worldwide. Dr. Hellman’s research is focused on hope as a psychological strength helping children and adults overcome trauma and adversity. Chan Hellman videos

  • Rebecca Lewis-Pankratz
    Rebecca is the Resilience Team Director & Trauma Informed Consultant at Essdack. Rebecca Lewis-Pankratz works with communities and schools across the US to truly solve poverty and heal trauma. She does this by helping brilliant and caring leaders create sustainable ecosystems of resilience through building better relationships. Rebecca experienced a lifetime of trauma and poverty, and through access to buffering relationships she healed from both and continues to light the path for others. Rebecca Lewis-Pankratz videos

  • Dr. Gabor Maté  
    Dr. Maté is the co-founder of Compassion for Addiction, a non-profit that focuses on addiction. He is also an advisor of Drugs over Dinner. He is an adjunct professor in the faculty of criminology, Simon Fraser University. Dr. Maté is featured in the film The Wisdom of Trauma and is also author of four books. Gabor Maté videos

  • Elaine Miller Karas
    Elaine Miller-Karas is the Co-Founder and Director of Innovation of the Trauma Resource Institute and author of the book, Building Resilience to Trauma, the Trauma and Community Resiliency Models (2015). Ms. Miller-Karas is a recognized international speaker and author and has presented the Community Resiliency Model (CRM) at the Skoll World Forum and the United Nations. Ms. Miller-Karas is a founding member of the International Transformational Resilience Coalition and a leading advocate with regard to the impact of climate change on the human condition. Elaine Miller Karas videos

  • Dr. Bruce Perry
    Dr. Perry is the senior fellow of the ChildTrauma Academy in Houston, Texas, and an adjunct professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. He recently co-authored a book with Oprah Winfrey entitled What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing. Bruce Perry videos

  • Dr. Anthony Pico
    Dr. Pico of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Nation is a nationally recognized authority and lecturer on American Indian sovereignty and self-governance. For more than two decades he has been a strong voice for Indian self-reliance, economic development and diversification. He is an ACEs Champion for years and was trained in Positive Indian Parenting. Anthony Pick videos

  • Laura Porter
    Porter is co-founder of ACE Interface, LLC, and former director of Washington State's Family Policy Council, which pioneered education of ACEs science in communities throughout Washington State. Laura Porter Keynote: NEAR Science and New WA Resilient Factor Findings (2014), Self-Healing Communities Model (2019)Laura Porter videos

  • Dr. Robert Ross
    Dr. Ross is president and chief executive officer for The California Endowment. He is a diplomate of the American Academy of Pediatrics, served on the President’s Summit for America’s Future and as chairman of the national Boost for Kids Initiative. Robert Ross videos

  • Dr. Robert Sege
    Dr. Sege is a pediatrician at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center and a Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, where he directs the Center for Community-Engaged Medicine. Dr. Sege is nationally known for his research on effective health systems approaches that directly address the social determinants of health. Robert Sege videos

  • Dr. Jack Shonkoff
    Dr. Shonkoff is the Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Graduate School of Education; Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital; Research Staff at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Director of the university-wide Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. He currently chairs the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, whose mission is to bring credible science to bear on public policy affecting children and families, and The JPB Research Network on Toxic Stress, which is developing new measures of stress effects and resilience in young children. Jack Shonkoff videos

  • Jim Sporleder
    Jim Sporleder has dedicated the next chapter of his life to assisting schools become more trauma informed and centers of healing. After 33 years as an educator and most recently as principal of Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA, Jim and his staff’s pioneering work was documented in the movie Paper Tigers. Most recently, Jim along with Heather Forbes, published The Trauma-Informed School, an all-inclusive guide designed to give school administrators of any school step-by-step instructions on how to turn a school of any size into a trauma-informed school. Jim Sporleder videos

  • Dr. Bessel van der Kolk 
    Dr. van der Kolk is a Boston-based psychiatrist. His book, The Body Keeps the Score, talks about the role of trauma in psychiatric illness, ways the brain is shaped by traumatic experiences, how traumatic stress is a response of the entire organism, and how that knowledge needs to be integrated into healing practices. Bessel Van Der Kolk videos

  • Dr. Roy Wade
    Dr. Roy Wade is an instructor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania and a general pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Cobbs Creek Primary Care. His research interests focus on the intersection between childhood poverty, adversity, and well-being. Dr. Wade led the Philadelphia Urban ACEs Survey. Through his work, he plans to translate research on the science of childhood adversity and toxic stress into effective strategies to improve community level systems of care in economically distressed communities. Roy Wade videos