Chief Executive Officer
As an immigrant to the U.S. and a child of people displaced by war, Natalie witnessed the burdens borne by people who are in one way or another marginalized. No doubt this exposure led her at a very young age, in the ‘60s, to active engagement in the civil rights movement. Her ideology took shape in that environment of social turmoil and change. Examples of inequity and abuse of power were not hard to find but, at the same time, what drove her were not only her outrage but also a conviction and an optimism that conditions could be improved, that wounds could be healed. The passion reflected in those early days of activism was later translated into the work that Natalie now leads as CEO of the Health Federation of Philadelphia (HFP). Over the past decade, a growing understanding of the impact of ACES, brain science, emerging best practices that offer a path to healing and resilience have fueled her sense of urgency to promote this work at HFP. For Natalie, improving the health of the public by building innovative and collaborative initiatives that strengthen the capacity of organizations, systems and communities is an expression of social justice, civic responsibility and common sense.
Senior Director, Training and Organizational Development
A social worker at heart, Leslie believes deeply in the power of relationships to create change and heal. She lives by the motto “start where the client is.” She has applied these values to her work with individuals, groups, communities and systems throughout her career. Her working life has been at the cross-roads of public health and social work with a focus on bringing together diverse groups who collectively create solutions to pressing health and social justice issues. Leslie has been with the Health Federation of Philadelphia (HFP) since 2007 establishing and growing the organization’s ACE, trauma and resilience portfolio. Prior to joining HFP, Leslie developed perinatal substance use integrated models of care at Kaiser Permanente and Contra Costa County Health Department.
Director, Collaborative Partnerships
At the Health Federation of Philadelphia (HFP), Clare builds on her interests to align public health and community organizing by working with community-based, cross-sector networks. Before joining HFP in 2015, she was a Health Scientist in the Division of Violence Prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she worked on health equity projects including The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of our Nation (California Newsreel, 2015) and Expanding the Boundaries: Health Equity and Public Health Practice (NACCHO, 2014). She has also been a registered nurse in transplant surgery and long-term care settings.
Project Manager, Collaborative Partnerships
Staff, Philadelphia ACE Task Force
For years, while working at a health facility, Carolyn Smith-Brown saw clients for whom every day meant crisis. Some missed appointments while they ran to pay an overdue electric bill in person. Others arrived in turmoil from family issues of drug abuse or violence. They worried about cancer and sexually transmitted infections, about unplanned pregnancies and prescriptions that weren’t covered by insurance.
Carolyn noticed how she and her colleagues responded to the constant fusillade of stress. Some treated patients with sensitivity and warmth; sometimes others took clients’ angry outbursts personally. Nearly every employee struggled at times to care for herself. Several years later, Carolyn learned about the ACE Study. She was struck especially by reading in Sandra Bloom’s book, Destroying Sanctuary, that Descartes’ framework took apart the person—“giving the body to physicians and the mind to the clergy and philosophers”—and that they have yet to come back together.
Work on ACEs and resilience offered the promise of bringing body, mind and soul into sync. “I now realize that when you understand how brain wiring changes as a result of what has happened to us, then you understand that for future adults to be healthy and well, our children must be cared for. And in order to prevent trauma to our children, we must take care of the adults who care for them,” she says.
In the course of her career, she has overseen health center operations, grant-funded projects and institutional collaborations. She is honored to work with others in the ACE/resilience movement who are building workplaces and communities where people understand that our experience does shape our brains…and where we use that knowledge to create a kinder world.
Independent Contractor/Freelance Writer
Anndee Hochman is a journalist, essayist and storyteller whose work appears regularly in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Broad Street Review and in other print and online venues. She teaches poetry and memoir in schools, senior centers, detention facilities and at writers' conferences. Anndee is the author of Anatomies: A Novella and Stories and the essay/interview collection, Everyday Acts & Small Subversions: Women Reinventing Family, Community and Home. She's also a three-time Moth Story Slam winner.
Unless otherwise noted, Anndee has authored the many "Tools & Inspiration" articles that appear on this website. Find her at www.anndeehochman.com.