Asking for help isn’t always easy, but often it is key to learning, understanding and, yes, making dreams come true. My call for assistance and guidance was heard. When I asked for help in driving transformational social change, Dr. Ruby K. Payne and her team at aha! Process responded.

The recent publication of Diagnosis: Poverty—A new approach to understanding and treating an epidemic would not have been possible without the help, guidance and investment from Dr. Payne and aha! Process. So too this blog … their help, guidance and support have brought national exposure for the book and for Transition To Success,® a system of care to treat poverty.

Transition To Success is a new way to understand and respond to poverty as an environmentally based medical condition and not a character flaw. Statistically speaking, the research is clear:

  • Exposure to environmental conditions like lack of food, housing, transportation, living-wage jobs, poor-performing schools, and violence leads to the condition of poverty.
  • Exposure to poverty is directly related to poorer health, compromised brain development in children, and increased rates of substance abuse, mental-health disorders, infant and maternal mortality, domestic violence, abuse, neglect, violent crime, and incarceration.

As a treatable medical condition, poverty requires defined treatment driven by industry standards of care. In this treatment system, science and data—not just good intentions—drive practice.

Diagnosis: Poverty book coverThis is the work of Transition To Success, a standard of care to treat the condition of poverty.

I now travel across the United States, sharing the message of Diagnosis: Poverty, always with the vision it will lead to opportunities to integrate the Transition To Success system of care into health, human services, government, education and faith-based services.

I will continue telling the story, pursuing the goal of eradicating poverty and the stigma too often associated with it. I hope to inspire many others to get involved because the best way to get help … is to ask for it.

Thank you, aha! Process, for helping make my dream a reality—a dream that the millions of people facing poverty will have the opportunity to also turn their dreams into reality.


Marcella Wilson, Ph.D., is author of the 2017 book Diagnosis: Poverty. She has more than 30 years of experience in healthcare administration, not-for-profit management, behavioral health, criminal justice, and public-sector programming. Her multiple degrees include a doctorate in Health and Higher Education. Most recently, as president of Matrix Human Services in Detroit, Dr. Wilson focused on developing a standard of care to treat the condition of poverty. She is now leading a national social-change movement—Transition to Success®—with a new standard of care.