“Trauma, Toxic Stress, and Building Self-Healing Communities” – a Town Hall on March 27th

Dr. Joyce Gilbert

At the Fall Town Hall Meeting presented by the Griffin Neighborhood Association, the theme was public safety. Invited speakers included Sheriff John Snaza. Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney, Jon Tunheim, also attended. The standing-room only crowd had many questions regarding neighborhood crime. Worries and concerns regarding mail theft, property theft, prowlers, drug activity, and personal safety were brought up. A common theme expressed was a sense of vulnerability, isolation, and powerlessness to crime, be it real or perceived.

The topic of our next Town Hall dovetails well with the concerns expressed last Fall. In conjunction with Providence Health & Services, the GNA will hold our Spring Town Hall at Griffin Elementary School on March 27, 6:30 – 7:30. We have invited Dr. Joyce Gilbert. With 30+ years as a pediatrician and multiple roles, Dr. Gilbert is fascinated with the science of trauma, and how stressors in early life become potentially toxic and life threatening to adults.

Dr. Gilbert will be explaining the difference between stress, toxic stress, trauma and how we process each. A sense of safety versus threat can trigger chemical changes in the brain that impact our ability to be resilient. Resilience is our internal ability to adapt to big or small stressors. Our Steamboat community will learn about the biochemistry of stress, trauma, and the long term effects, if not interrupted. Dr. Gilbert will discuss how we can affect change, particularly when we have no control over these traumas. Skills and strategies for grounding, calming and staying present are critical and basic maneuvers we can all implement, benefiting both in the moment and over a lifespan. The research is clear: both the quality and quantity of your life is directly related to what you do or do not do, with stress.

Dr. Gilbert set a personal goal: Teach all of our elementary school educators about trauma within this school year, almost 40 schools total. At this Town Hall meeting, we will learn just how important it is to take care of ourselves in our daily lives, and feel safe.

There is no charge to attend this event.

A Town Hall: “Trauma, Toxic Stress, and Building Self-Healing Communities”
Tuesday, March 27
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Griffin School

We hope to see all our community members there.

Are you interested in learning more about this topic? A variety of online resources are available. Here are just a few:

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a video of a TedTalk presentation entitled, “How childhood trauma affects health throughout a lifetime.” And Dr. Harris’ book, The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity.

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, by Bessel van der Kolk M.D. In this book, Dr. van der Kolk “uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust.”

The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study — the largest, most important public health study you never heard of — began in an obesity clinic.

Epigenetics: The Science of Change. “For nearly a century after the term ‘epigenetics’ first surfaced on the printed page, researchers, physicians, and others poked around in the dark crevices of the gene, trying to untangle the clues that suggested gene function could be altered by more than just changes in sequence. Today, a wide variety of illnesses, behaviors, and other health indicators already have some level of evidence linking them with epigenetic mechanisms, including cancers of almost all types, cognitive dysfunction, and respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive, autoimmune, and neurobehavioral illnesses.”

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