“Reach out, I’ll be there”: Awakening to Resilience in Communities

Barbara M. Burns, Ph.D.

About this Event

Our culture is in the process of awakening to knowledge about the impacts of early childhood adversity on learning, behavior, and health.  Discoveries from developmental neurobiology, child development, and trauma science are raising the consciousness in pediatrics, social services, psychology, and education. Research from the science of resilience has provided blueprints for a behavioral “therapeutic vaccine” which can effectively buffer the negative impacts of early childhood adversity. The empirical evidence for a behavioral “therapeutic vaccine” consisting of sensitive and nurturing early caregiving is well-established. The challenge in addressing early childhood adversity now centers on creating opportunities for effective and accessible parent education across diverse communities. The current presentation describes our program in San Jose, CA. designed to strengthen young children’s resilience using community-led, trauma-informed, mindfulness-based parent education. The community response to our program has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic and our pre-post research assessments have demonstrated significant parental changes in multiple protective factors associated with healthy parent-child relationships. With community leaders as coaches and guides for parent education, previous barriers to scaling parent education as community-driven primary prevention work were transcended.  We hope our work stirs the imagination and supports the creation of infrastructure that mobilizes grassroots and culturally-relevant parent education based on the science of resilience.

About the Presenter

Barbara Burns

Barbara M. Burns, Ph.D.

Barbara M. Burns, Ph.D. is a developmental psychologist and Professor of Child Studies at Santa Clara University. For more than 35 years, Dr. Burns has been studying the roots of resilience in young children experiencing adversity and trauma. Safe, Secure and Loved is a mindfulness-based parenting program designed to be facilitated by community leaders. Through her partnership with Sacred Heart Community Service (San Jose, CA), Safe, Secure and Loved is now established as a neighbor-to-neighbor parenting program in San Jose and Gilroy, CA. Parents who participate in Safe, Secure and Loved show increases in the protective factors associated with effective child maltreatment prevention. Community leaders who facilitate Safe, Secure and Loved parent groups report increases in confidence, social connections, and commitment to community.

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