IHELP POLICY LAB: ACE INITIATIVE 

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The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law is proud to announce the launch of the Institute for Health Law and Policy ("iHeLP") Policy Lab: ACE Initiative, thanks to generous support from the ACE Awareness Foundation.

The result of a transformative investment by the ACE Awareness Foundation, the iHeLP Policy Lab: ACE Initiative will be a multi-disciplinary resource for policy research, policy advising and drafting of new policies to create a nationally-regarded, trauma-informed system, building on the foundation's goals to inform the community about the role of emotional trauma in mental, physical and behavioral health, and implement models that provide preventable and sustainable solutions to reducing toxic stress in family systems.

"The ACE Awareness Foundation is committed to creating a trauma informed community that comprehends the impact of toxic stress on child and adult health as well as the silent, long-term social and economic impact on our community," said Ellen Rolfes, Regional Director for the ACE Awareness Foundation. "We are most fortunate to have a partnership with the University of Memphis to develop multi-disciplined ACE curriculum with six academic areas and create a policy initiative with the law school to impact healthcare. Such powerful collaboration is essential to a better Memphis."

Dean Peter Letsou announced the ACE Awareness Foundation gift and the iHeLP Policy Lab: ACE Initiative earlier this year at iHeLP's 2016 symposium, An ACE in the Hand of Policy Reform: Loading the Deck for a Trauma-Informed System, attended by stakeholders, nationally recognized leaders, and local and state experts. The gift will enable iHeLP to demonstrate the valuable role it can play as a non-partisan partner with skills and expertise in crafting a policy landscape that sees law itself as an intervention.

"Thanks to the generosity and vision of the ACE Awareness Foundation, the law school has been able to spearhead the creation of the University's first multidisciplinary, collaborative ACE curriculum. The work done by the policy lab will build on local and statewide momentum around addressing adversity in the early childhood years and building family support," according to Dean Peter Letsou. "We will partner in efforts to drive system-level health policy change in the Mid-South community across Tennessee for the specific purpose of ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences), mitigation and recovery."

This foundation support will not only allow Memphis Law and iHeLP look locally at policy regarding ACEs in Shelby County, but will provide the policy lab with the potential to drive policy change at both the state and national levels. It will also allow Memphis Law to assume a leadership position in the state as the only law school doing this type of work.

As part of the policy lab's work, enrolled students and fellows will examine items that include, for example, substantial research into insurance reimbursement policies to help craft "bundled" payment models that incorporate prevention and wellness services promising culturally-sensitive family and parental-support practices and programs. It will also serve as policy advisor and support to the Building Strong Brains: Tennessee ACEs Initiative.

"Through this policy lab, I hope to see the Institute help to advance the law school's role in the community and the growing influence of public/private initiatives," said iHeLP Director, Professor Amy Campbell. "This will help create a variety of academic/public/private approaches to benefit our community's overall health and be representative of the Institute's mission to use law and policy to advance health."