In historically disenfranchised communities like DC Wards 7 and 8, children are disproportionately exposed to trauma that impacts their health. Much of this trauma is composed of accumulated Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and community violence, both of which are linked to increased odds of developing chronic illnesses such as pediatric asthma. The negative effects of trauma, however, can be reduced through positive protective factors that build children’s resilience. This collaborative aims to improve the health and wellbeing of children by increasing protective factors through community-led and data-driven solutions designed to support families and improve positive outcomes for kids.


BUILD and its communities apply bold, upstream, integrated, local, and data-driven (BUILD) approaches to improve health in communities that are adversely affected by upstream factors.


Families have lived in the vibrant communities of DC Wards 7 and 8 for generations; yet chronic disinvestment in housing, education and other resources have resulted in limited community services, inadequate infrastructure, and higher levels of community violence. The partners in this collaborative will use their policy expertise and strong community connections to advocate for systemic solutions that increase the quantity and quality of trauma-informed resources and services in the community.


Children’s poor health and development can often be traced to the socioeconomic conditions that increase exposure to ACEs and trauma. A coordinated response from community organizations, healthcare providers, and public agencies is needed to interrupt this cycle. Our project brings together these stakeholders to intervene upstream by increasing access to protective factors that foster families’ and children’s resilience, thereby improving children’s health and development.


This project builds and deepens collaboration among community members and interdisciplinary anchor organizations toward a shared vision of health for all District community members. This project leverages the expertise and abilities of each partner to collect and analyze data, provide direct services to communities, conduct community trainings, convene stakeholders, and advance key systemic changes.


The focus of this project is born from community members’ lived experiences. In the partners’ case work and collaborative listening sessions, families have often identified the safety of their building and neighborhood as one of their biggest concerns and pointed out links between safety, trauma, and their children’s health. Community member voice and decision-making will continue to guide the goals and strategies we pursue.


This project integrates data from each partner to shed new light on the intersection of ACEs and children’s health. Examples include Children’s National’s ACE assessment data, DC Health’s information on healthy equity drivers and chronic asthma among residents, and Children’s Law Center’s outcome data on the impact of legal interventions. We will also initiate joint data collection efforts to improve our understanding of the current state of affairs, what works and what can be improved.