The 2018 Alliance Executive Leadership Conference experience will focus on the importance of neighborhood and community in achieving the positive impact we seek to achieve. Regardless of mission or program, the context in which people live their lives is a critical factor in making progress toward the long-term outcomes outlined by the network in the Alliance's theory of change. During the conference, executives will explore the importance of place and community in developing strategies that move the needle.

Featured Speaker

Wendy Ellis HeadshotWendy Ellis

Project Director
Building Community Resilience Collaborative
Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University

Wendy Ellis is the project director of the Building Community Resilience (BCR) collaborative at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. The BCR collaborative is testing and implementing a model based on Ellis’ research in designing a strategic process for child health systems, health departments, and cross-sector partners to align resources, programs, and initiatives with community-based organizations to address the Pair of ACEs.

This strengths-based approach is aimed at building community infrastructure to promote resilience in cities and communities across the country, and it is being tested in six major metropolitan areas:

  • Cincinnati
  • Dallas
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Kansas City, Missouri and St. Louis

BCR is supported in part by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Kresge Foundation. Ellis and co-principal investigator Bill Dietz have published an article in Academic Pediatrics detailing the BCR framework. At each site, Ellis' team at George Washington University’s Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellbeing provide technical assistance to establish relationships between primary care providers, churches, government agencies, community organizations, and community members to help address gaps and disparities for children and families. This multi-sector effort is aimed at helping communities not just 'bounce back' from adversity but as Ellis puts it, 'bounce forward,' stressing the project's aim to improve baseline quality of life for children and families. "We are not interested in merely piecing together a system of care. This work will change systems and policies to ensure every child has the opportunity to thrive," says Ellis.

In 2017, Ellis was selected to receive a Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being—seeking innovations to prevent child abuse and neglect. The fellowships are designed to develop a new generation of leaders capable of creating practice and policy initiatives that will enhance child development and improve the nation's ability to prevent all forms of child maltreatment. She is also a Milken Scholar at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, where she is completing dissertation research toward a doctorate in health policy. Ellis holds a master’s in public health from the University of Washington’s School of Public Health and a bachelor’s from Seattle University.

At the University of Washington, she led a study investigating factors associated with disparities in access to mental health care among children in Washington state, which was published in Health Affairs. Prior to joining George Washington University she served as Manager of Child Health Policy in Nemours’ National Office of Child Health Policy and Practice in Washington, D.C. In this role, she led policy research and development efforts in population health, prevention, child behavioral health, toxic stress, and adverse childhood experiences. Ellis also managed policy and communications for the Kresge-funded Moving Health Care Upstream initiative. Previously, she served as manager of health services research and health policy at CSR Incorporated, a research and technical services firm in Arlington, Virginia. At CSR, Ellis led research and policy analysis projects on an array of health services topics including: Patient-centered medical homes, access to care issues for children and families, reducing health disparities, child mental health, and health promotion as well as program evaluation for the Centers for Disease Control, the National Association of County and City Health Organizations, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, and others.