ACEs and the Self-Healing Communities Initiative

Southern Oregon Success is a key partner with ACE Interface and Kairos in the Self-Healing Community Initiative, an outreach and training effort to help Jackson and Josephine Counties develop a common understanding, vocabulary and approach to challenges across all sectors.

ACES Primer from KPJR FILMS LLC on Vimeo.

Breakthroughs from the ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study on how brain development occurs and the impacts of trauma on health and social skills have led to innovative and highly effective “trauma-informed” approaches in education, human services, public safety and workforce development.

We’re committed to making Southern Oregon a “trauma-informed” region.

We’re not re-creating the wheel in doing so.

A Self-Healing Community Initiative over the past decade in Cowlitz County, Washington has resulted in:

  • Births to teen mothers going down 62% and infant mortality going down 43%;
  • Youth suicide and suicide attempts going down 98%;
  • Youth arrests for violent crime dropping by 53%;
  • High school dropout rates decreasing by 47%;

And similar results have been seen in other counties. We’re not re-creating the wheel, we’re building Self-Healing, high-capacity counties in Southern Oregon.

With financial support from our three local Coordinated Care Organizations, AllCare, Jackson Care Connect and Primary Health, the Self-Healing Community Initiative is providing trauma-informed training sessions and events at no cost to schools, agencies, businesses and community groups.

We’re also working to support innovative new programs in the Phoenix/Talent and Grants Pass School Districts that will serve as model programs for other districts across our region and across the state.

Southern Oregon Success is the through-line between the programs on trauma-informed approaches taking place in the community, in our schools, in our county agencies and our local non-profits.


Here’s what’s happening right now:



A two-day conference/workshop at Parkway in Grants Pass took place on October 10 and 11, featuring leading experts in ACEs and resilience, and workshop sessions to develop strategies in communities throughout the region for the coming year. Community groups are now forming in Cave Junction, Grants Pass, Medford, Ashland and Prospect/Butte Falls. We are planning to make this an annual event to keep the work towards a trauma-informed region moving forward. To be included on the email list for notifications of community events, please email



Offering no cost training sessions on ACEs and trauma-informed approaches to groups large and small, including school faculties and staffs, in Jackson and Josephine Counties. Thus far, the team has held over close to 50 presentations to approximately 2000 people in school districts, human services agencies, early childhood service providers, health care providers and others.


Bob Lieberman, Kairos


Todd Bloomquist, Grants Pass School District
Peter Buckley, Southern Oregon Success
Michelle Homer-Anderson, Head Start
Rick Rawlins, Jackson County Mental Health


Julie Barry, Principal, Ruch Elementary School
Isis Contreras, Principal, Roosevelt Elementary School
Jessica Durrant, Curriculum Director, Three Rivers School District
Danny Huber-Kantola, Human Resources Director, Grants Pass School District
Joseph Lilly, Options for Southern Oregon
Susan Lio, Family Counselor
Sharon Madara, Madara Medical Solutions
Lee Murdoch, retired Pediatrician
Linda Otto, Grandmas To Go
Jay Preskenis, Vice Principal, Ashland High School
David Smith, intern at Kairos
Doug Walker, self-employed
Chris Ward, Minister, Westminster Presbyterian Church
Dr. Danile Weiner, Rogue Community Health

For more information, or to schedule a training session, email


Southern Oregon Success is working with all of our regional school districts on options for introducing trauma -informed approaches at whatever level desired by the district for 2017-18.

Several of our local districts are employing effective resilience tools such as Restorative Justice and Collaborative Problems Solving, and we’re looking to help implement trauma-informed practices at all levels of education.

We’re partnering with AllCare in their effort to provide no-cost training for elementary school teachers in the Good Behavior Game, a highly effective and fun way to teach students who have experienced trauma the skills needed to self-regulate. The game is an evidenced-based tool, developed over the past decade plus, and introduced to our region by the Phoenix/Talent School District last year. In just over 3 months of using the Good Behavior Game in their first grade classes, the district has seen classroom disruptions decrease by an average of 66%.

And we’re working with SOU to develop a research grant proposal for the federal Comprehensive Safe Schools Program that will support and track work on trauma-informed approaches taking root in the Phoenix/Talent District and the Grants Pass District, as listed below, along with other local districts.

For more information on our focus on education, please email



Phoenix/Talent School Districts is one of seven districts statewide to participate in a year-long schedule of trainings and shared learnings on trauma-informed approaches in education, resulting in new approaches to creating an inclusive, respectful and effective culture in their schools. The district has significantly changed its discipline policies, and has not expelled a student in the past three years. Phoenix High has been able to close the achievement gap, and has risen up to be the 30th top ranked high school in the state.The district is expanding its programs in 2016-17, and has expressed a strong willingness to share their work with all other of our region’s school districts.



Partnering with Dr. Christopher Blodgett from Washington State University’s Child and Family Research Center, the Grants Pass School District is beginning the process of training all school employees. Starting with Lincoln Elementary School, all staff will receive trauma-informed training over the course of the next three to five years. The program is called Collaborative Learning for Educational Achievement and Resiliency (CLEAR). Dr. Blodgett’s researched practices demonstrate lower discipline incidents with students, more on-task behaviors, higher student engagement, and increased teaching time. Utilizing the work from Dr. Blodgett and the Child and Family Research Center, the Grants Pass School District will evaluate the training to determine whether these trauma-informed practices result in a positive impact on students and how such training could be applied to all district employees. The school district has developed a long-range implementation plan to evaluate the progress of the training before incorporating each next step.



Teachers from the Phoenix/Talent School District are working with faculty members at SOU to develop a course in ACEs for the education department’s teacher training program.


And Trauma-Informed Collaborations in Our Region:


Another outcome of the regional Southern Oregon Success work is the creation of the Josephine County Community Network (JCCN). This network of more than 50 Josephine County agencies, gathers quarterly to plan and create collaborative opportunities to help families become stable. These partners come from all aspects of the community and include the Chamber of Commerce, service clubs, faith-based organizations, non-profits, Coordinated Care Organizations, public safety, county health, and public schools. In addition, this network has created a pathway for all agencies to communicate client and family needs in order to get help as quickly as possible to those in need. The Grants Pass School District serves as a convener, but it is the collective group that is focused on doing whatever it takes to help families in all of Josephine County.


Led by Jackson County Mental Health, a review committee of human service providers and public safety agencies meets on a weekly basis to coordinate wrap around care and support for kids in crisis situations. Referrals come from school districts, community members and social service agencies. Wrap around plans for 142 kids have been developed by the committee since June.