We’re a Team Committed to Achieving Measurable and Meaningful Results In the twenty years since the ACEs Study was published, the nation has allowed family trauma to grow unchecked. That ends now with a community-empowered and data-driven strategy — and a sense of urgency.
Our mission is to ensure that all communities in New Mexico have the knowledge and resources they need to address childhood trauma and social adversity, which will lead to improved wellbeing of all children, families, students and workforces.
Our vision is that all children in New Mexico are thriving, leading healthy, happy and safe lives. We envision children, youth, parents and caregiving grandparents living in communities that are nurturing, safe and healing.
The hypothesis guiding the Anna, Age Eight Institute and our 100% Community initiative is that if we ensure all our families have access to ten vital services, parents will have the support to raise their children in homes free of abuse, neglect, substance misuse, domestic violence and untreated mental health challenges. Five services for “surviving” include stable housing, secure food, behavioral heath care, medical care and transportation to services. Five services for “thriving” include: parent supports, early childhood learning programs, fully-resourced community schools, youth mentors and job training.
We empower the local champions in all 33 counties of New Mexico. These local champions are ensuring access to the 10 vital services to ensure trauma-free and thriving residents.
Our Institute builds relationships with leadership on the state, county, city and community levels to keep on mission and accomplish six interrelated work goals.
Our Institute’s centerpiece initiative is the county-based 100% Community program, designed to empower local champions as they increase awareness of childhood trauma and strengthen the local services shown to decrease adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and social adversity. We develop collaborative relationships with county stakeholders; assess capacity, readiness and gaps in services; and provide resources, online learning, research, data collection and management.
The Institute staff and local initiative leadership collaborate to create a common system for collecting data on local challenges, serve as the data management hub, provide data analysis tools and provide dashboards to track data with the goal of turning data into action.
Institute staff liaison with public officials and stakeholders, educate community members through op-eds, articles and 100% Community updates and track the pulse of national policies related to ACEs, childhood trauma and social adversity. We maintain ongoing dialogue with state department management teams and state lawmakers. We provide tools for local champions to increase dialogue with county commissioners, city mayors and council members, school board members, nongovernmental organization managers, higher education leadership and chamber of commerce membership.
We serve as a repository for national research and best practices; we identify and advocate for use of effective state programs; we collect local and national innovations relative to ACEs prevention and the treatment of childhood trauma; we implement pilots of innovative strategies with select 100% Community counties.
In order to reach our 100% Community initiatives across the state, we are creating a system to allow all 100% Community initiative participants to communicate online; we’re supporting virtual forums and symposiums hosted by both Institute state and local champions. We use the network to highlight all our resources, research and innovative strategies; we host regular online progress updates between initiative leaders to share challenges, workarounds and successes.
Institute staff develop blended learning approaches, providing onsite and online instruction, coaching and open lab events. We offer a series of community courses on data collection and management, assessment, planning, project implementation, evaluation as well as the frameworks guiding our initiatives: continuous quality improvement, collective impact and adaptive leadership. We also provide learning experiences focused on best practice and innovations focused on strengthening our ten ”surviving” and “thriving” service sectors.
The Anna, Age Eight Institute’s process of community empowerment is detailed in the book 100% Community: Ensuring trauma-free and thriving children, students and families by Katherine Ortega Courtney, PhD and Dominic Cappello. The authors, who serve as the Institute’s co-directors, welcome you to the statewide conversation about ACEs. You’re invited to learn more about the institute’s short-term and long-term outcomes, and to support the collaborative and data-driven prevention of ACEs, trauma and social adversity across New Mexico.
How did the Anna, Age Eight Institute come to be founded?
The Anna, Age Eight Institute for the Data-driven Prevention of Childhood Trauma was funded by the New Mexico state legislature in 2019. Our institute’s far-reaching goal is ensuring that our children, students and families are trauma-free and thriving. To achieve this we’re using a data-driven process focused on building the capacity of local government, non-governmental agencies and the business sector to provide services that residents need to prevent all forms of adverse childhood experiences and social adversity.
We bring to each county’s leaders and stakeholders a process of brainstorming, learning, mobilizing and innovating, all with the support of state-of-the-art technology. Locally, the Institute’s 100% Community initiative helps guide collaborative efforts using the critical steps of assessing, planning, action and evaluation to ensure accessibility to the ten services shown to empower all families. We are part of New Mexico’s higher education system, with a mandate from our state’s leaders, to serve all New Mexicans by strengthening local systems of health, safety and learning.
Who are the state’s core team members?
Who’s heading up the county initiatives?
The county initiatives are focused on ensuring that ten services for surviving (like food security programs, behavioral health care, medical care, housing security programs and transportation) and thriving meet the needs of 100% of our families. Enjoy our SLIDE SHOW: Food@100%: Innovation + Project Areas to see how all our county-focused 100% Community initiatives are creating fully-resourced and family-friendly cities, towns and communities.
Who are the advisors?
Who are the content specialists?
Teresa Leger Fernandez is a social impact lawyer, and has served as General Counsel to several Native American tribes and their business enterprises, as well as non-profits. Her work ranges from financing to protecting sacred sites to voting rights litigation; it includes the strategic development of the legal, legislative, business, economic and physical infrastructure for tribal sovereigns and communities. After President Clinton appointed her as a White House Fellow, she worked on public/private financing of affordable housing and other community development initiatives as a White House liaison at HUD. President Obama also appointed her to the President’s Advisory Council for Historic Preservation, where he elevated her to vice chair in recognition of her leadership skills. She started her academic career in the first Head Start class in New Mexico, went on to graduate from Yale and received her JD, with distinction, from Stanford Law School. She has helped build rural health clinics in New Mexico, as well as affordable housing, schools and community-based infrastructure.
Dr. Esther Devall has a PhD in Child and Family Development from the University of Georgia. She is a professor in the Family and Child Science program at New Mexico State University, where she has taught 13 graduate and undergraduate courses in human development, family dynamics, and family therapy. She was instrumental in starting an undergraduate interdisciplinary minor in child advocacy studies and a graduate interdisciplinary minor in alcohol and drug counseling. Her research focuses on adverse childhood events, parenting and relationship education, and family resilience. She has been awarded almost $13 million in federal and state grants, and has received university-wide teaching and research awards.
Dr. Pamela Etre-Pérez started her career in education after completing a Master’s Degree in English as a Second Language at the School for International Training. She lived and taught ESL for five years in Puebla, Mexico, where she founded a language institute. She moved to New Mexico in 1985 and worked for nineteen years as faculty administrator of the Adult Education Center at the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus. While at UNM, she earned her PhD in Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies and founded the Valencia County Literacy Council. Dr. Etre-Pérez worked at the State of New Mexico Higher Education Department for six years as Director of Adult Basic Education. She managed over twenty federal and state funded programs around the state, and she successfully implemented a student database system with merit-based formula funding. Dr. Etre-Pérez retired from Central New Mexico Community College after serving for three years as Dean of the School of Adult and General Education. She initiated an accelerated math program as well as an integrated basic skills and employment training program. She currently works as an educational consultant in Santa Fe.
Dubra Karnes-Padilla has a Master of Science degree in Physical Education from the University of New Mexico. She retired from teaching physical education and health education courses plus managing the Fitness and Wellness Education Center for the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus after twelve years of service. During this time, she initiated campus fitness and wellness programing, special wellness events and health fairs which had not previously existed for students on the campus. Dubra brought grants to her campus to promote resilient communities and youth injury prevention. Prior to becoming a full-time faculty member, she taught at UNM-Valencia as an adjunct faculty member and volunteered much of her time throughout Valencia County to improve the wellness of children and families by collaborating on developing recreational facilities for Valencia County, such as the Belen Eagle Park and Belen Recreation Center. For over thirty years, she has remained committed to using a holistic approach to help individuals of all ages be healthy and thrive. Dubra is currently under contract for the Pueblo of Santa Ana, Tamaya Wellness Center where she teaches an Aging Well class she designed for the elders and provides consulting services as needed. She also serves on the UNM Retiree Association Board, 2016–present, and works to ensure retiree healthcare and pension benefits remain intact for current and future retirees.
Dr. Heather Labansat graduated from Texas Christian University with a PhD in Experimental Psychology with an emphasis in Cognition. Interested in applied research, her research developed new strategies for helping people be more effective at goal attainment and learning. Her work with Child Welfare focuses on using scientific methodology to develop evidence-based practices to solve workplace and community problems. Heather currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses for Tarleton State University in Dallas-Fort Worth. She has served as the research expert for the Data Leaders for Child Welfare program in New Mexico.
Richard Dunks is the founder of Datapolitan, an urban informatics consultancy that focuses on the data and information needs of the public sector, including government agencies and nonprofits. A graduate of the urban data science program at NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress, Richard works on applying new and innovative techniques to the processing, analysis, and visualization of public data to make meaningful and positive actions with measurable impact. For the past three years, he’s been teaching classes in open data, data analysis, information visualization, data mining, and geospatial analysis for employees of the City of New York, as well as an adjunct professor at Columbia University and Pratt Institute. He facilitated the Data Leaders for Child Welfare course for NYC Administration for Children’s Services.
Dr. Shannon Morrison earned her doctorate in Sociology at the University of New Mexico and is a research sociologist with 28 years of program planning, evaluation, and research experience in the areas of human services, child welfare, homelessness, violence against women, behavioral health, organizational development, and criminal justice. Dr. Morrison has extensive experience in conducting strength-based program evaluation, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, writing grant proposals and research reports, and working with culturally diverse populations. Since 1994, she has worked with several community and state-level programs in New Mexico, utilizing a participatory approach and providing meaningful, client-driven program planning and evaluation. She currently works with several community agencies across New Mexico conducting data collection, fidelity assessments, and interviews to determine current practices and assist in implementing best practices and conducting ongoing program evaluation. Because of her participatory approach to program evaluation, she can engage stakeholders and clients in a way that allows for rich sharing and discussion which, in turn, provides meaningful evaluation results. She believes her participatory approach to evaluation gives programs a better chance at achieving their goals and documenting their value.
Robin Swift is a skilled manager and team leader, with experience at academic, tribal, and state government agencies, non-governmental agencies, and health facilities. She currently works with Project ECHO™, an innovative telementoring project that leverages technology to improve access to health care, and is innovating case-based learning in quality improvement. Robin is Senior Program Manager on the Military Health System Telementoring Project.
Robin has an MPH from Emory University and a Bachelors in American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has managed programmatic responsibilities from start-up to redirections, at the New Mexico Department of Health, as Injury Prevention Manager, at Duke and Emory Universities, and at the Georgia Public Health Department. She is the author of over $18 million in successful grants, a developer of evaluation and quality assurance processes, and the manager of budgets totaling $24 million. Robin is recognized as a skilled facilitator and trainer, and is able to engage difficult or sensitive subjects with providers, clients, and the public. Her passion is for projects that expand knowledge and look for innovative solutions.
- The 100% Community initiative benefits from a multi-disciplinary approach, bringing together professionals from all the fields that inform ACEs, trauma and historical trauma, organizational development, community empowerment, collective impact, adaptive leadership, continuous quality improvement, technology, civic engagement, economic development, fundraising, and our ten surviving and thriving service areas. If you seek to explore collaboration, we are eager to hear from you. Professionals, community stakeholders and change agents of all ages are most welcome. Please visit CONTACT.
- The data-driven prevention strategy are detailed in the books Anna, Age Eight: The data-driven prevention of childhood trauma and maltreatment and 100% Community: Ensuring trauma-free and thriving children, students and families by Katherine Ortega Courtney, PhD and Dominic Cappello. Visit BOOK to learn more.
- We provide all the tools you need for the 100% Community initiative. The process detailed above can be customized to meet the unique needs and capacity of county residents. To see our progress in New Mexico and learn how one champion can start a groundbreaking local initiative, visit COUNTIES.