By Nancy Kunkler, public relations manager, Alliance

The civil unrest surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer in August 2014, was well documented and debated for weeks.

But after the national spotlight turned away from Ferguson, the crisis in that city continues. After an 8-year-old girl was killed due to random gunfire in 2015, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sent its reporters to Ferguson to tell a different story: the story of a public health crisis due to toxic stress that is concentrated because of poverty.

The resulting series of articles and videos offer a detailed view of the conditions that lead to toxic stress among children in Ferguson, and they and cover the potential future impact it will have on the children and their families.

A quote in one of the articles from Dr. Joan Luby, a psychiatrist with Washington University, stands out because it plainly states why efforts like the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities Change in Mind initiative must exist.

She says, “I think the thing that is probably most frustrating about it is that we really understand it and even know this is actually preventable. So the science should be informing the public policy for prevention, but right now, it’s not.”

The series of articles includes rays of hope by describing solutions to counter the effects of stress on the brain. Change in Mind too offers a real shot at moving toward the alignment of science and policy to allow organizations like those in the initiative's cohort and others help people realize their full potential.