Encore: Women of the PACEs Movement: Dr. Melissa Merrick

September 22, 2022
Hosted by Ingrid Cockhren

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Guest Information

Episode Description

Melissa T. Merrick, Ph.D., is President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA America), the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect. She has more than 20 years of clinical, research, and leadership experience related to the etiology, course, and prevention of child abuse and neglect. Previously, Dr. Merrick was a senior epidemiologist at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. She is recognized as one of the country’s foremost experts on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). In partnership with the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Child Abuse and Neglect, she served for eight years as the lead scientist for the ACEs study at CDC and is the lead author of CDC’s Vital Signs: ACEs, the most nationally representative report on the topic. Dr. Merrick successfully leverages her significant clinical and research experiences to communicate and disseminate the critical public health importance of preventing early adversity to key stakeholders with diverse priorities, backgrounds, and knowledge, including legislators, business and civic leaders, and members of the academic and medical communities. She is one of the principal architects of Thriving Families, Safer Children: A National Commitment to Well-being, which aims to reshape child welfare in the United States by focusing explicitly on equity and prevention. Thriving Families unites PCA America, the Children’s Bureau, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Casey Family Programs, among numerous other local partners, to proactively create the conditions and contexts for strong families and communities across the country.

History. Culture. Trauma

Thursday at 1PM Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel

According to Resmaa Menakem, trauma decontextualized over time looks like culture. We, at PACEs Connection, agree. 2020, with COVID-19, our climate crisis, and the racial reckoning, has shown us that trauma is embedded within our institutions, our culture, and our history. 2020 was a collective trauma. And, with the addition of technological advances like the internet and social media, we are more connected to our collective selves than ever before. We can no longer live in silos, focused on the individual. We know now that our shared experiences matter. Our podcast will examine trauma and resilience, not just at the individual level, at the systems and cultural level. How has the trauma of slavery and genocide impacted our current society? Why are the cultural manifestations of trauma, i.e., community violence, school shootings, etc., so pervasive? Together, our hosts and their guests will outline the true impact of trauma and resilience on the human experience.

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Ingrid Cockhren

Ingrid Cockhren knows first-hand how impactful trauma and toxic stress can be for children and families and has dedicated her professional life to investigating and educating the public about the link between early trauma, early adversity, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), positive childhood experiences and the consequences that occur across the lifespan. Specializing in creating equitable and inclusive environments within organizations, collective impacts and grassroot movements, Cockhren uses her knowledge of stress, trauma, historical trauma, human development, and psychology to translate research concerning DEI into community, workplace, and organizational solutions. Cockhren graduated from Tennessee State University with a B.S. in psychology and from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College with a M.Ed. in child studies specializing in minority and impoverished children. Her research areas are African American parenting styles, positive and adverse childhood experiences, historical trauma, intergenerational trauma, brain development, developmental psychology, and epigenetics. Cockhren’s experience includes juvenile justice, family counseling, early childhood education, professional development, consulting, and community education. She is currently CEO at PACEs Connection and an adjunct professor specializing in Black psychology, developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, and personality theory at Tennessee State University.

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Episode Directory

September 2022

  • 9/29/2022: Encore Dr. Bruce Perry: Historical Trauma & "What Happened to You?" Listen Now
  • 9/22/2022: Encore: Women of the PACEs Movement: Dr. Melissa Merrick Listen Now
  • 9/15/2022: Encore Women of the PACEs Movement: Agnes Woodward Listen Now
  • 9/8/2022: Encore Women of the PACEs Movement: Dr. Sandra Bloom Listen Now
  • 9/1/2022: Encore Candice Valenzuela: What if Self-Care isn't the Answer? Listen Now

August 2022

July 2022



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