FREE PUBLIC LECTURE
"Reach Out, I'll Be There": Awakening to Resilience in Communities
Barbara Burns, PhD
Santa Clara University
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 was 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. Synchrony – the coordination of biological and behavioral processes between children and their caregivers during moments of social contact - provides the basis for social connectedness and charts a central process in the development of stress management, empathy, and the development of the "affiliative brain".
At the end of the talk, participants will:
1. Understand the ways in which science, human services, and popular culture are becoming aware of the impact of early childhood adversity on learning, behavior and health.
2. Recognize how parent education can be viewed as a behavioral ‘therapeutic vaccine’ which buffers the negative impacts of early childhood adversity.
3. Learn about one community-led approach to parent education based on the science of resilience, and consider what would be needed to create the infrastructure to expand parent education as community-driven primary prevention.
About the Speaker
Barbara M. Burns, Ph.D. is a developmental psychologist and Professor of Child Studies at Santa Clara University. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Brown University and was a NICHD postdoctoral fellow in Developmental Psychology at the University of California-Berkeley. Before coming to Santa Clara University, Barbara was a Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Louisville. 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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