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Department of Psychology

College of Arts & Sciences

Northeast Tennessee ACEs Connection
Northeast Tennessee ACEs Connection

Building Resilience in Northeast Tennessee

A New Understanding of Trauma

Until recently, trauma survivors were largely unrecognized by the formal treatment system. The costs of trauma and its aftermath to victims and society were not well documented. Inadvertently, treatment systems may have frequently re-traumatized individuals and failed to understand the impact of traumatic experiences on general and mental health. Today, the causes of trauma—sexual abuse, violence in families and neighborhoods are matters of public concern. A movement for trauma-informed care has emerged to ensure that trauma is recognized and treated and that survivors are not re-victimized when they seek care. Complementing these changes, we are working to develop programs to promote healthy development of children and healthy behaviors in families, schools and communities that reduce the likelihood of trauma. 

Becky Haas, with the help of Andi Clements, has taken on the mission of bringing ACE awareness and Trauma-Informed Care to Northeast Tennessee, particularly the Tri-Cities area including Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol. 

Becky Haas

Coordinator of the Community Crime Prevention Programs, Johnson City Tennessee Police Department

The CCPP tackles crime from a unique and collaborative perspective by taking a civic engagement approach to identifying and eliminating causal factors of crime. Formerly she was the Director of the Targeted Community Crime Reduction Project which in 2014 was awarded the “Outstanding Criminal Justice Program of the Year” for the southern region by the National Criminal Justice Association.

Andrea D Clements

Professor and Assistant Chair in the Department of Psychology at East Tennessee State University

Andi is primarily a developmental psychologist and research methodologist. Her primary areas of research involve the interplay among trauma, stress, substance abuse, and religiosity, with particular interest in pregnancy. 


“Trauma Informed Approach: Key Principles and Assumptions” (Source:  SAMHSA)

This training curriculum provides an introduction to trauma and trauma-informed approaches. No prior knowledge about trauma is necessary. It is intended for a wide range of professionals, including direct service providers, supervisors, administrators, advocates, interested community members, and staff from varying agencies.This training forms the basis for more advanced work in developing trauma-informed environments and practices.

“The Role of Life Experiences in Shaping Brain Development" (Source: Building Strong Brains: Tennessee ACEs Initiative)

This training aids in building a knowledge mobilization movement across Tennessee around early childhood brain development. It is designed to develop a common understanding about early childhood through a shared, up-to-date, clear storyline based on scientific findings. The training emphasizes that the architecture of a young child’s brain is shaped by the interaction between genes and experiences, and experiences can be beneficial or detrimental. Science makes it clear that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) negatively impact the architecture of the developing brain. Children thrive in a safe, stable, nurturing environment of supportive families, caregivers, and communities. There are 3-hours, 1.5-hour, 30-minute, and 15-minute versions of this training. The 1.5-hour version is also embedded in the “Trauma Informed Approach: Key Principles and Assumptions” (above).

“How being trauma-informed improves criminal justice outcomes” (Source: SAMHSA Gains center)

This is a training program for criminal justice professionals to increase understanding of trauma, create an awareness of the impact of trauma on behavior, and develop trauma-informed responses. Trauma-informed criminal justice responses can help to avoid re-traumatizing individuals, increase safety for all, decrease recidivism, and promote recovery of justice-involved women and men. This interactive training is specifically tailored to criminal justice professionals including:
-Probation, parole and pre-trial service officers
-Court personnel

Train-the-Trainer for “Trauma Informed Approach: Key Principles and Assumptions” Key principles course

This is a training for those who have already attended the four-hour SAMHSA Trauma-Informed Approach: Key Principles and Assumptions Course. This six-hour training provides a wealth of additional materials and slides with trainer notes. Participants also receive 3-4 variations of the training as examples of customizing it to use with a variety of professionals (i.e., healthcare, services that work with children or homeless persons, etc.)

TIC Training as of February 2018

For information on training, getting involved with the Northeast Tennessee ACEs Connection, or creating a system of care, please contact Becky Haas at

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