Group Hopes to Heal Camden's Deadly Stress

Courier Post/Kim Mulford
Saturday, May 10, 2014

CAMDEN-A group calling itself the Camden Healing 10 is organizing a citywide effort to address the long-term impact of childhood trauma.

Inspired by a summit held last May by Stop Trauma on People and Hopeworks 'N Camden, the group wants to change how the city responds to stressful events, such as the recent daylight shooting of a 15-year-old student in Fairview.

For the past few months, the blossoming group has been meeting twice a month at a Starbucks on the Rutgers-Camden campus, said the Rev. Jeff Putthoff, Hope­works' executive director.

Regular attendees include Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson and representatives from the Centers for Family Services, the Urban Health Institute and the Camden Coalition for Healthcare Providers.

The group is seeking more partners from city government, schools and churches. Though the effort is focused on Camden, the city could potentially become "the center of healing, perhaps in our own country, and even a model for the world," Putthoff enthused.

"It's about changing the entire culture of an organization. It's not simply going to a talk."

Camden Healing 10 has already drawn national interest. Earlier this week, the group had a visit from Dr. Rob Anda, senior scientific consultant for the Centers for Disease Control, and one of the principal investigators on the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study.

The Georgia-based doctor outlined his research during a public lecture at Rutgers-Camden. Conducted in the 1990s among 17,421 mostly white, middle-class, educated patients in San Diego, the ACES study found traumatic events in early childhood can have significant lifelong impact on a person's health and behavior.

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