Core Team

Peyton Barsel founded a non-profit, ACE Aware, after writing and presenting a bill in the 2019 Nevada legislature requiring teachers be trained to identify and support students who have experienced trauma. Peyton subsequently researched and co-wrote a 30-minute trauma-informed training video with the Department of Education, which all Nevada public school employees must watch annually. ACE Aware distributes the video nationally and raises awareness about the prevalence of childhood trauma.

Peyton has volunteered for 5 years as a counselor for children who’ve lost a parent or sibling as the lead facilitator of children ages 8-12. She will be studying Education Policy at Columbia University to ensure that every child has the equal opportunity at education they deserve.

Clarencetine (Teena) Brooks, LMSW, ABD identifies as a trauma survivor and is the Assistant Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA)- NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. OCA provides the consumer/peer perspectives to inform the Divisions policy development and community engagement work. Previously, she worked for thirteen years with the Urban Justice Center, an innovative nonprofit that serves New York City’s most vulnerable residents through a combination of direct legal service, systemic advocacy, community education and political organizing.

In this position she worked to support the development of impact litigation and public policy strategies to address the criminalization of people with mental health conditions. Teena has also worked closely with the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS). Ms. Brooks served as a Regional Organizer from 2000 to 2006. Teena also served as Co-President of the Board of Directors for NYAPRS from 2006-2008 and co-chaired the organizations’ cultural competence committee and was an active member of the public policy and the strategic planning committees before becoming a consultant for the organization from 2009 to 2014.

She is also currently a lecturer and adjunct professor at Columbia University School of Social Work and has taught social welfare policy at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service and Touro School of Social Work. She has received awards for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), The New York Association Psychiatric of Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS), and Transitional Services for NY, Inc. Teena is a doctoral candidate at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in the Social Welfare program.

Isabella Coletti is from Hartford County in Connecticut and is a Salve Regina University Class of 2019 alumna. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in healthcare administration and management and was a graduate of the VIA Program, which encourages students to explore social issues and obligations of responsible citizenship in history and the present. Her academic background encouraged an interest in service, leading her to join the National Health Corps of Philadelphia.

Separate from her AmeriCorps duties, Isabella is supporting the National Trauma Campaign as the Campaign Organizer Intern. She will attend the University of Pittsburgh in the fall of 2020 to pursue a Master of Social Work degree.

Adrienne Elder is a team-player who passionately believes in Margaret Mead’s famous quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  As a national speaker, author, and advocate for trauma-informed and hope-centered systemic strategies, Adrienne remains dedicated to a variety of community, statewide and national coalitions thru a combination of volunteering and contracting on special projects. Her project management skills integrate equity and trauma-informed best practices, through training, facilitating strategic planning, grant writing, implementation, and technical assistance. 

By working with diverse initiatives, Adrienne increases alignment with cross-sector collaborations while helping leadership teams cross the finish line on important milestones. With presentations at the Capitol, Adrienne educates and engages legislators to implement supportive policies. Adrienne advocates for individuals, organizations and communities working together to increase stability and decrease barriers, so that all members of society can thrive no matter where they live, work or play.

Adrienne Ballew Elder holds a Master in Public Health with specific training as a Certified Health Education Specialist, a National Bridges Out of Poverty Trainer, a Certified Getting Ahead Program Facilitator, and co-author of Getting Ahead ACEs and PACEs Supplement: Addressing Trauma Through Building Trust and Resilience. She is a Core Team member of the National Trauma Campaign and on the Speakers & Trainers Bureau of the ACEs Connections Network. 

To recharge, Adrienne enjoys walking in nature, listening to birds chirp, and taking 15 min. power naps/meditations to increase awareness of next best steps with teammates.

Becky Haas is an experienced speaker and trainer who is nationally recognized for her work in trauma-informed care. She is a pioneer in developing trauma-informed communities and training a wide range of professionals to understand the significance of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study. Her experience includes presenting to Delaware state leadership as well as training Juvenile Court Judges and court staff in both Virginia and Tennessee. Becky developed Trauma-Informed Policing training and has delivered it to the precincts within Oklahoma, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. Becky is also a highly sought-out trainer for educators and often works directly with Superintendents to impact school districts as they begin their journeys to create trauma-sensitive schools.

Becky has worked with leadership in city governments across several states to advance cities in becoming trauma-informed. In 2019, Becky co-authored the Building a TraumaInformed Community toolkit for the Tennessee Department of Children’s Service. Her work has been published by ACEs Connection, the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, John’s Hopkins, and Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action. Becky has also served as the Trauma-Informed Administrator for a regional healthcare system providing training development and delivery to healthcare staff in multiple hospitals as well as was instrumental in raising awareness of ACEs as a social determinant of poor health and addiction within rural Appalachia. Prior to her work in healthcare, she was the Director of a crime prevention program for the Johnson City Police Department.

Becky has completed a vast array of trainings and has earned multiple certifications related to trauma-informed practices. She has been an active member of the Campaign for Trauma Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP) since 2017 and currently is a member of the National Trauma Campaign’s core team. She has been an ordained minister since 1996 and completed ministerial studies at Rhema Bible Training Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1979.

Becky has been the recipient of numerous personal awards including the regional Women’s Tribute Award as a Transformational Woman and was inducted into the Chi Omega Phi Alpha Honor Society at King University for her above and beyond contributions in program development and implementation which embody the heart and mission of the Social Work profession. Becky is married to Jonathan and their greatest joys in life are their two sons and their growing families.

As Policy Director at the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, Jeff Hild works with local, national, and global partners to develop, promote and advance policies to prevent and treat obesity and build healthy and resilient communities.

Prior to joining the Redstone Center, Jeff served at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as Chief of Staff for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) where he was responsible for the day-to-day management of the agency. His work there included finalizing regulations for Head Start, Child Care, Child Support and other key human services programs. He also led the agency’s work related to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan and the Zika virus, and coordinated ACF’s work on White House priorities, including human trafficking, Affordable Care Act enrollment and outreach, and the Unaccompanied Children’s program. Before joining HHS, Jeff worked in Congress for eight years. He was Legislative Director for Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, where he managed the legislative office, with a focus on improving Veterans Administration health care delivery and issues impacting the U.S./Mexico border. Prior to that, Jeff was Legislative Director & Counsel for California Congressman Pete Stark, the Chair/Ranking Member of the Ways & Means Health Subcommittee. He managed Stark’s legislative agenda, with a focus on poverty, child welfare, health, the environment, and Social Security. Prior to joining Mr. Stark’s staff, Jeff was a staff attorney at the Homeless Persons Representation Project in Baltimore, where he represented indigent clients in public benefits, housing, and civil rights matters.

Jeff was born and raised in Baltimore. He is a member of the Maryland Bar and a graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland and the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Jesse Kohler was raised in the Greater Philadelphia area. After graduating from Oberlin College in 2016, he got a fellowship with a nonprofit organization, 12+. His time working in a Philadelphia public school illuminated how education reform could drastically improve other systems, and toward the end of his fellowship started working toward a Master’s in Educational Leadership. During the program, Jesse got an internship in the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro in the Office of Public Engagement, predominantly working to develop the Pennsylvania Trauma-Informed Network. 

Following graduation, Jesse got a job as the Director of Development at North Light Community Center in Philadelphia. In addition to all of the fundraising responsibilities, Jesse was able to establish new programs for the communities North Light served, including the Lowering Overdose and Violence Epidemics (LOVE) initiative. During his time at North Light, Jesse received certification as a trauma-competent professional from Lakeside Global Institute and was elected to CTIPP’s board, and ultimately became the fundraising chair.

Jesse currently serves as a co-chair for the National Trauma Campaign and is an Associate for the Council for a Strong America. His goal is to continue to promote meaningful systems-level change that benefits all Americans and develop a more equitable society and world where all people have the opportunity to thrive. To build and maintain wellness, Jesse likes to work out, be a sous-chef when called upon, and passionately cheer on his favorite sports teams when he is able to watch the games.

Whitney Marris, LMSW, currently works as a Project Manager with the Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care, where she helps organizations and systems learn about, plan for, implement, and sustain trauma-informed culture change. Whitney also employs her specialized education on trauma-specific treatment modalities as well as her training in restorative practices to promote empowerment, holistic wellness, growth, and healing in her role as a Therapist with the Washington Nutrition and Counseling Group.

Whitney strives to enliven the values of an anti-racist, trauma-informed, and human rights-affirming approach in all of her efforts and has broad experience spanning work in community-based integrated behavioral health settings, the criminal justice system, crisis intervention, and non-profits serving survivors of gender-based and interpersonal violence.

Whitney’s commitment to building solutions that heed and honor lived experience while engendering a more just and equitable world is galvanized through her contributions to the field of trauma and resilience including published work in academic journals, trauma survivor-centered podcast development and delivery, consciousness-raising efforts through strategic social media engagement, trauma-informed training and curriculum development, impassioned involvement within her local community, and political advocacy work both independently and as a Campaign Core Team Member.

Whitney currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia with her partner, Alex, and their Schnoodle, Jennifer. In addition to leaning on these and other important relationships in her life, Whitney maintains personal wellbeing by practicing mindfulness and meditation, engaging in art therapy, discovering and experimenting with making eclectic meals, and getting lost in a good book whenever possible.

Marlo Nash is a policy advocacy and systems strategist experienced in network engagement to influence public policy and systems change. Her contributions include training and mentoring advocates, leading public policy campaigns, and providing support to policymakers, advocates, and business leaders on change making initiatives. Her practice of working on undoing racism and systemic inequities is both a personal and professional commitment. She is passionate about ensuring that all children and families are equitably supported in achieving their full potential and believes that restructuring today’s systems to build or re-build well-being, cultivate resilience, and address trauma and ACEs is at the center of the work. To nurture her own well-being, Nash runs daily with her dog, practices yoga and goes roller skating with her daughters, and dances in the kitchen with her husband.

Dan Press is a partner in the law firm of Van Ness Feldman, where he has spent the past 45 years representing Native American tribes as well as heading the firm’s pro bono program. From 2012 through 2017, Mr. Press was an adjunct professor at Columbia University where he taught undergraduate courses on current issues facing Native Americans. In the process of teaching, he learned about the ACE study and the neuroscience developments regarding historical trauma. Recognizing how trauma-informed programs can help address many of the problems plaguing Native American communities as well as other communities in the United States, he presently devotes much of his time to promoting trauma-informed initiatives on a pro bono basis. Along with a Native American psychologist, he founded and serves as general counsel to the Roundtable on Native American Trauma-Informed Initiatives.

Recognizing that his 45 years of experience advocating with Congress on Native American issues could be used to benefit the development of trauma-informed programs, he co-founded and serves as chairman of the policy committee for the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice. In that capacity he helped to advocate for several trauma-informed provisions that have been included in recent Congressional legislation and works with local trauma informed groups to educate their Congressional representatives about trauma science. He also cofounded and serves on the board of Trauma-Free NYC, an organization composed of faculty members from Columbia University working to promote trauma-informed initiatives in New York City.