On January 30, 2017, the League of Women Voters' education committee headed by Dr. Paula Montgomery, held its latest community forum on the newly renamed "Pipeline-to-Prison." The reason for the name change was to broaden consideration of factors that lead children into the pipeline that deposits them in prison.
The major focus of the forum, also sponsored by the University of West Florida's School of Social Work, was the film, Resilience. According to the "about" page of the film:
"Researchers have recently discovered a dangerous biological syndrome caused by abuse and neglect during childhood. As the new documentary Resilience reveals, toxic stress can trigger hormones that wreak havoc on the brains and bodies of children, putting them at a greater risk for disease, homelessness, prison time, and early death. While the broader impacts of poverty worsen the risk, no segment of society is immune. Resilience, however, also chronicles the dawn of a movement that is determined to fight back. Trailblazers in pediatrics, education, and social welfare are using cutting-edge science and field-tested therapies to protect children from the insidious effects of toxic stress—and the dark legacy of a childhood that no child would choose."
Essentially, stress from larger societal forces like poverty, but also living in neighborhoods with high levels of daily violence among other factors, changes the way the brain gets wired up. While this new brain wiring can be reversed over time, the new wiring leads to greater individual-level problems.
The League of Women Voters assembled a stellar panel of experts. The panel discussants included:
Dr. James Arruda, professor of Psychology and associate dean for the College of Health at the University of West Florida. Dr. Arruda specializes in cognitive neuroscience and focuses on brain-behavior relationships.
Dr. James Burns, professor of Pediatrics with the University of Florida's College of Medicine. Dr. Burns is also the director of Adolescent Medicine & Pediatric Residency at Sacred Heart Children's Hospital in Pensacola.
Ms. Sabrina 'Bree' Conklin is a licensed Clinical Social Worker and earned a master's degree in Social Work from the University of West Florida. She is only a few months away from receiving her doctorate in Social Work from the University of Tennessee. She is also an adjunct professor of Social Work at the University of West Florida.
Dr. Kimberly L. Day is an assistant professor at the University of West Florida. She earned her PhD in Human Development from Virginia Tech. She was a postdoctoral fellow with the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada.
Dr. Dione Moultrie King is an assistant professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of West Florida. She received her doctorate from the University of Georgia. She was also a middle school teacher.
Ms. Tranassa S. White is a native of Pensacola and has lived here most of her life. She is a single parent of a nine-year old son. She is currently attending Pensacola State College to obtain her BA in Cybersecurity. She is employed as a traffic manager at Cumulus Media Inc. She contributed real-world experiences related to the Resilience movie. She was an inspiration to the audience.
|Left: Ms. Sabrina 'Bree' CONKLIN and Dr. James BURNS|
|Left: Dr. Dione Moultrie KING, Dr. James ARRUDA, and Ms. Tranassa WHITE|
|Dr. Kimberly L. DAY|
Introduction: Dr. Paula MONTGOMERY
Panel Introduction: Ms. Haley RICHARDS, Co-president, League of Women Voters
Dr. Kimberly DAY
Dr. James BURNS
Ms. Sabrina 'Bree' CONKLIN
Ms. Tranassa WHITE
Dr. James ARRUDA
Dr. Dione Moultrie KING
Question and Answer 1
Question and Answer 2
Question and Answer 3
Closing: Dr. Paula MONTGOMERY