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MSMU and Frederick County Organizations Partner in Call to Action for Mental Health and Child Advocacy

Communications Staff

Mount St. Mary’s University, in partnership with the Mental Health Association of Frederick County and the Child Advocacy Center of Frederick County, will host a community event – Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Film and Discussion about the Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope.

resilience-graphic-300.jpgThe event is free and open to the public. It will take place from 10 a.m.-noon on August 2 and from 2-4 p.m. on August 9 at the Mount’s Frederick Campus, located at 5350 Spectrum Drive, Frederick, Maryland 21703.

Through awareness, discourse and advocacy, the event will address how communities can be made more aware of how stress during childhood can seriously hinder the development of both the individual and community, and what can be done to reduce the impact over time. Using local statistics in conjunction with costs derived from national research studies, a project conducted by Leadership Frederick County and the Mental Health Association estimates the annual cost to Frederick County for fatal and non-fatal child abuse and neglect to be approximately $45.4 million annually.

“My hope is that this event will achieve three key aims,” said Mount St. Mary’s University Associate Professor of Sociology & Criminal Justice and Director, Human Services Degree Completion Program Timothy W. Wolfe, Ph.D. “First, we will raise the community’s awareness about the importance of better understanding and addressing trauma, toxic stress, brain development and their profound impacts on many outcomes. Second, we will make a compelling case that these issues are not just mental health and human service concerns, but that they are also economic, workforce, public safety, and community-wide quality of life issues that should concern all of us (liberals, moderates, conservatives, educators, human service professionals, the criminal justice system, faith groups, the business community, our elected officials, and so on). Third and finally, the event will be a call to action to get even more people and organizations involved in the vitally important work of prevention, detection, and effective interventions. While many in our community are already doing excellent work around these issues, there is still much more to be done.”

The first portion of the event will feature a screening of the 60-minute film, “Resilience: the Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope,” which delves into the science and research behind stress and how it impacts brain development, as well as the life-long implications for individuals and communities.

Following the film there will be a brief review of efforts already underway, leading into a panel discussion with a Q&A session. Expert panelists include Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, Frederick County public health officer; Dr. Monica Grant, director of citizens’ services for Frederick County Government; and Sandy Wagerman, business development analyst for the Frederick County Office of Economic Development. Wolfe will serve as the event’s moderator.

“We are so fortunate here in Frederick County that such a diverse group of leaders, practitioners and other professionals are interested in the issue of building resilience at a community level,” said Anne Soule, Frederick County Mental Health Association director of family support services, who also is an adjunct faculty member at the Mount. “This body of research points to how we can improve not only the lifelong health of our citizens, but the quality of life as well and at a lower cost to the taxpayer. Mount St. Mary’s University was quick to see this topic as important and is among the first institutions of higher education offering coursework related to children and the effects of trauma.”

In fact, the Mount’s human services degree completion program at its Frederick campus currently offers a course on Children and Trauma taught by Anne Soule and her colleague, Lynn Davis. It has been well-received by students. The Mount is looking to expand its commitment to and offerings in human services and related undergraduate and graduate programs.

Panelists will share their ideas on how Frederick residents can work towards a more robust community with greater educational achievement, healthier workers and thriving businesses, and a reduction of incarceration, opioid addiction, and poor long-term health.

Event recap

  • The event is free and open to the public.
  • Session 1 - August 2 - 10 a.m.-noon.
  • Session 2 - August 9 - 2-4 p.m.
  • Location - Mount’s Frederick Campus - 5350 Spectrum Drive, Frederick, Maryland 21703.
  • A luncheon will be held following the August 2 session and light refreshments will be served following the August 9 session.
  • Registration is required. Please register online and select your session.
  • For additional information, please contact Risa McElroy at or 301-447-5369.


barbara-brookmyer.jpgBarbara A. Brookmyer, M.D., M.P.H.
Barbara Brookmyer serves as the lead health official for Frederick County. In the role of health officer, she directs the Frederick County Health Department’s seven divisions and their numerous programs including immunizations, WIC, cancer prevention, emergency preparedness planning, dental services, well and septic inspections, substance abuse and mental health counseling, school health services, and programs for developmentally disabled children. The Frederick County Health Department achieved national accreditation status in December 2014, one of only 60 health departments nationwide to do so at that time.

monica-grant.jpgMonica Grant, PT, DScPT
Monica Grant, PT, DScPT is the director of the Citizens Services Division of Frederick County Government. This division leads the Department of Aging, Family Partnership, Department of Housing and Community Development, Human Relations Department, Office of Children and Families, and the Scott Key Center. It also administers the County’s Community Partnership Grant program which offers competitive grants to local non-profits that address needs in housing, senior services and community services.

sandy-wagerman.jpgSandy Wagerman
Sandy Wagerman has 20 years of experience in communications, analysis and public relations spanning from broadcast journalism in the U.S. Army to her present role in marketing and business development analysis for the Frederick County Office of Economic Development (OED) where she has served in that capacity since 2006. Wagerman collaborates with County Executive staff to create economic development strategies, conduct research and advise key initiatives to increase Frederick County’s position as the ideal business location. She also works closely with municipalities on economic development strategies and is passionate about creating economically prosperous communities.

tim-wolfe.jpgModerator - Timothy Wolfe, Ph.D.
Timothy Wolfe, Ph.D. came to the Mount in 1997 after completing his graduate studies at Virginia Tech. He specializes in areas of race, social class and culture. He has written about race, class and the criminal justice system. His recent scholarship focuses on race and the death penalty, as well as the sociology of music, especially jazz. Wolfe lives in Maryland with his wife, Doria. They have four grown sons.

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