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The WSU Child and Family Research Unit (CAFRU) is committed to equipping people with awareness of complex trauma as a major health issue and with the resiliency skills to proactively respond to adversity. Enhancing professional development opportunities for community partnerships, educational systems, and community organizations around the topic of complex trauma is a key mission of CAFRU.

The Learning Ready Brain

Developed by Dr. Dan Siegel, The “Learning Ready Brain” was designed to provide students, educators and parents a common language to express their emotions and what to do if feelings become overwhelming. The lesson highlights strategies that can help get us back to learning ready if students have “big emotions” and what activities are important to keep our brains healthy and ready to learn.

This video was a collaboration between:

  • WSU Extension Child and Family Research Unit;
  • Collaborative Learning for Education, Achievement, and Resiliency (CLEAR) Team;
  • WSU School of Nursing, Multimedia;
  • Nathan Taylor, illustrator;
  • and Ron Allen of Storymakers Production.

Webinar: “Diverted Lives: The impact of adversity and poverty on transition to post-secondary education

Video Published September 30, 2019
In cooperation with the Washington State Office of Financial Management’s Education Research and Data Center, Washington State University’s Child and Family Research Unit has completed an analysis of community, school, and individual student characteristics that predict differences in high school graduates transition to post-secondary education. Presented by Dr. Christopher Blodgett, this webinar reviews key findings that describe the experiences of 2016 high school graduates in Washington. Consistent with previous reports, school poverty is a significant predictor of post-secondary transitions, but the level of adversity reported by students and resulting adjustment challenges provide comparable impact.

Reducing Adverse Childhood Experiences

Video Published December 12, 2017
Chris Blodgett, Director of the Child and Family Research Unit, outlines findings from his research on the community impact of adverse childhood experiences and explores ways in which communities can respond to address and mitigate the impact of adversity. This presentation was given as part of the Human Development Lecture Series: OUR Community OUR Health, OUR Future.

The Status of Trauma Informed School Practices

Video Published July 24, 2017
Chris Blodgett, Director of the Child and Family Research Unit, speaks about the status of trauma informed school practices, presented at the Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities (MARC) Program Brown Bag Webinar Series.

From ACEs to Action: How Communities Can Improve Wellbeing and Resilience

Video Published November 10, 2016
Christopher Blodgett, Director of the Child and Family Research Unit, speaks in Anchorage, Alaska about how early life adversity affects us and what we can do about it by applying trauma-informed principles in educational and other settings. For more information, visit

ACEs, Complex Trauma, and Resilience

Video Published January 8, 2016
Chris Blodgett, Director of the Child and Family Research Unit, speaks about ACEs, complex trauma, and resilience, presented at the Seattle Jobs Initiative 2015 Annual Conference.

Trauma Informed Schools presented at the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute

Video Published June 26, 2015
Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at Johns Hopkins University, leads a discussion about what it takes to create trauma-sensitive schools. Speakers include Susan Cole, director of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative at Harvard Law School; Christopher Blodgett of the Child and Family Research Unit at Washington State University; Tamar Mendelson, associate professor, at the Johns Hopkins Center for Adolescent Health and Godwin Higa, principal of Cherokee Point Elementary School in San Diego.

ACEs Plenary at the 2015 National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence

Video Published April 22, 2015
This panel examines approaches to identifying and responding to ACEs including screening and universal education (anticipatory guidance), tailored approaches for different settings, as well as consider unforeseen risks if a trauma-informed system is not built in conjunction with screening. Panelists include Nadine Burke Harris, MD, MPH, FAAP, Center for Youth Wellness; Lonna Davis, MSW, Futures Without Violence; Courtney Grey, BS, Kilombo Novo; and Christopher Blodgett, PhD, Washington State University CLEAR Trauma Center.

From ACEs to Action in Communities & Systems Serving Families & Children

Video Published November 12, 2014
Chris Blodgett, Director of the Child and Family Research Unit, discusses adverse childhood experiences and the actions communities and systems can take when working with children and families.