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The Anna, Age Eight Institute was funded by the New Mexico state legislature in 2019 to reach the goal of ensuring that our children, students and families are trauma-free and empowered to succeed. To achieve this we’re using a data-driven and collaborative process focused on building the capacity of each county to strengthen local systems of health, safety and resilience.

We bring to each county’s leaders and stakeholders a process of brainstorming, learning, mobilizing and innovating, all with the support of state-of-the-art technology. Locally, the Institute’s 100% New Mexico initiative helps guide collaborative efforts using the critical steps of assessing, planning, action and evaluation to ensure accessibility to the ten vital services shown to empower all families and communities.




We all face challenges. Some of us are thrust into a public health crisis. For others, they’re born into a world of adversity, trauma and chaos. 100% New Mexico Initiative is about how we can strengthen systems of health and safety that serve everyone, everywhere. Working within the 100% New Mexico initiative, we provide you and your community with the insights to ensure that ten vital services are working well in times both calm and chaotic. 

We call these services that none of us can do without, the “surviving services” that start with medical care and include behavioral health care, safe housing, secure food and transport to vital services. In addition to the services for survival, we focus on strengthening the “thriving services” which include: parent supports, early childhood learning programs, community schools, youth mentors and job training. Each of these services play a vital role in keeping us safe from challenges — both predictable and unexpected.




The 100% New Mexico Initiative is designed to bring all county leaders and stakeholders together from ten key family serving sectors we refer to as “surviving services” and “thriving services” shown to strengthen families:

Surviving and Thriving list




The 100% New Mexico initiative supports local leaders and stakeholders in strengthening the local system of readiness, care and safety that makes us as crisis-proof as possible. In a world where any day can present new challenges, we can work to make all our communities as strong and prepared as possible — ready to weather any storm guided by courage, compassion, cooperation and timely facts.

We know that by investing in strong local systems of care, safety and education, community agency leaders can decrease the challenges of getting access to vital community services. United with local leadership, we can also strengthen local capacity to address any problems related to crime, violence, adverse childhood experiences, trauma, substance misuse and injury.

At the heart of the local initiative are action teams representing ten service sectors — providing our “surviving” and “thriving services. Action team members work to achieve the goal of ensuring 100% of county residents have access to the ten vital services for surviving and thriving. Our vision is expansive because the need is urgent and the opportunities are abundant.


Click to download a PDF copy of the county survey reports for Doña Ana, Rio Arriba, Soccorro and Otero counties. Additional county reports are currently being completed and will be published as soon as they are available.



7 STEPS TO 100%

Step 1: Survey your county residents

Initiative teams implement a countywide survey that assesses resident’s access to 10 vital services for surviving and thriving (like health care, transport and job training) and why barriers exist. You’ll learn that different populations will have different challenges. Download Rio Arriba County’s survey.

Step 2: Review Survey Results

Initiative teams review the survey data to learn what percentage of county residents struggle to access vital services, and why challenges accessing services exist and where they exist in the county. You can review the data from the countywide survey, especially the barriers to accessing services. Each “reason” (such as unfriendly hours, lack of transport to services) will require analysis and a plan to address gaps. Download Doña Ana County’s survey.

Step 3: Assess the ten surviving and thriving programs

Initiative teams, including ten action teams (each one focused on one sector such as food or medical care), learn about the capacity of current services in all 10 surviving and thriving sectors. The goal is to understand challenges service organizations face when meeting the needs of county residents.

Step 4: Ensure that a county directory to ten vital services exists

Each of the county’s ten action teams update an existing online directory to services or create a new updated directory guiding residents to the ten vital services. (Note that directories will need local monitoring and updating based on changes in services due to COVID-19.) Visit our prototype created for 100% San Miguel County:

Step 5: Identify innovative policies and programs to eliminate barriers to accessing ten services

To address the gaps identified in the countywide survey, Initiative teams learn about innovations in all ten sectors that can increase access, user-friendliness and quality of services. We offer  many potential innovative strategies to reduce gaps in services and strengthen a countywide system of support. Action Teams can review and prioritize innovations.

Step 6: Get buy-in from local government and stakeholders to support innovation that reduces gaps in services

Initiative teams identify, support and implement innovations including new technologies, local policies, programs and agency protocols. This is the action phase that requires project management and ongoing tracking of local innovation in ten sectors.

Step 7: Evaluate effectiveness of each innovation and measure the increase in access to ten vital services

Initiative teams measure the impact of innovations on all ten surviving and thriving services with feedback from residents and providers. We work to ensure that our local work on each innovation is moving the needle on improving access to services so that 100% of residents thrive.




Everyone thrives! That’s the big picture and we get there through collaboration, courage and creativity. 

With alignment of all local leadership, both elected and informal, each county can become an engine for local problem-solving to ensure all residents are healthy, safe and resilient. The work of the initiative builds on current local efforts to improve systems of care, always committed to working in alignment with city government, county government and local nonprofit organizations.



Our theory of change guiding the 100% New Mexico Initiative is informed by a wealth of research focused on a wide variety of topics including the public health model, the ecological systems model, and decades of research focused on the social determinants of health, health equity, health and education disparities and historical trauma.

THEORY OF CHANGE: If we ensure that all our families and community residents have access to the five surviving services and the five thriving services, we will increase self-sufficient family households, higher educational achievement, job readiness, employment and healthy residents of all ages.



By working on a county scale, with buy-in from local elected leadership and stakeholders, a locality can build the capacity to ensure access to ten vital services. This can achieve groundbreaking results that include: increasing physical health, household stability and self-sufficiency, school achievement, higher education engagement, and job readiness.

With a system of care, counties can also reduce costly problems that include: adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), maltreatment, trauma, substance misuse, violence and untreated mental health challenges.

We provide to you our step-by-step process, with the understanding that each county may wish to customize the initiative to meet the needs of a unique county. You may be wondering, “How does my county start the New Mexico initiative?” With one email we can begin the process of connecting one stakeholders with many, convening those committed to safety and success of our children. Each county is at a different place, impacted in a variety of ways by local economies, as well as the pandemic and shifts in local businesses and the workforce. 

Ask us about our work in the counties of Doña Ana, Socorro, Rio Arriba, Otero, Valencia and the Pueblo of Taos. You will find that each locality customizes the initiative to address its own priorities and unique populations. 



In our rush to connect everyone on the planet over the last two decades, we forgot to make sure that 100% of residents had access and to encourage people to use technology to make their series as cost-effective and user-friendly as possible. 

Revolutionary advances in the promotion of idea-sharing, the prevention and treatment of health challenges, and strengthening of countywide systems of safety, health, education and economic stability depend on technology. W e have to step back to take a realistic look at how technology could or should help us create healthier communities where we’re all in, leaving no one out. There are powerful tools out there waiting to be used effectively.



The 100% New Mexico initiative is demonstrating how New Mexico can bring together leaders in the public and private sectors to innovate and design systems of health, safety and education in New Mexico that serve everyone. The initiative has a very large umbrella, inviting the engagement of youth, college students, parents, grandparents, community activists and business people.

Amid a collision of crises, with a new one appearing almost weekly, each state has a choice to make. Either we surrender to manmade chaos or we, as local leaders and stakeholders, forge a new path. We can collaborate on the state, county, city and organizational levels to ensure 100% of us are safe and successful. We have the strategies, vision, goals and inspiring local leaders, as well as a tested collaborative process for measurable and meaningful progress. Join us in making every county in New Mexico a place where 100% of child, parent, student, caregiving grandparent, elder and business — everyone, everywhere – thrives.


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Dr. Katherine Ortega Courtney

Dr. Courtney has a PhD in Experimental Psychology from Texas Christian University, where she studied at the Institute of Behavioral Research. Dr. Courtney worked with the State of New Mexico for eight years, first as the Juvenile Justice Epidemiologist, then as Bureau Chief of the Child Protective Services Research, Assessment and Data Bureau. An advocate for data-informed decision-making, Dr. Courtney championed and co-developed the New Mexico Data Leaders for Child Welfare program. She has worked in policy, research and has led community initiatives through her work at the Santa Fe Community Foundation and the New Mexico Early Childhood Development Partnership. She is also the co-author, with Dominic Cappello, of Anna, Age Eight: The data-driven prevention of childhood trauma and maltreatment, which served as a catalyst for the development of the Anna, Age Eight Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she serves as co-director. Dr. Ortega Courtney and Dominic Cappello wrote the follow-up book 100% Community to guide local leadership in every county in their work designing trauma-free and truly family-friendly cities and towns. Email:

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Dominic Cappello

Cappello is a New York Times bestselling author and TEDx Conference curator with decades of experience advocating for health, safety and education. He has a Master of Arts in Liberal studies with an emphasis on Language and Communication from Regis University. He worked for the New Mexico Department of Health Epidemiology and Response Division and the New Mexico Child Protective Services Research, Assessment and Data Bureau, where he co-developed the Data Leader for Child Welfare program, which he implemented in New York City, Connecticut and New Mexico. Cappello is the creator of the Ten Talks book series on family safety that gained a national audience when he discussed his work on the Oprah Winfrey Show. He is also the co-author of Anna, Age Eight: The data-driven prevention of childhood trauma and maltreatment, which served as a catalyst for the development of the Anna, Age Eight Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he serves as co-director. Cappello and Dr. Ortega Courtney wrote the follow-up book 100% Community to guide local leadership in every county in their work designing trauma-free and truly family-friendly cities and towns. Email:

Gregory Sherrow Image Gregory Sherrow

Gregory is an educator whose early career sharply veered off into the world of information technology and web-based enterprises giving Gregory decades of experience in creating educational, nonprofit and commercial technology solutions. He has architected learning management systems for the Data Leaders for Child Welfare program in New Mexico, Connecticut and New York City; he developed the technology prototypes for the Safety+Success learning management systems focused on family safety and health piloted in South Carolina and New Mexico; and his learning management system clients have included state departments of health, state departments of education and offices of attorneys general. Over the last decade and a half, he has become an authority on remote work management and the potential of technology to positively empower agencies and communities while strengthening national, state and local systems of public health, safety and education. Email: