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Hanna Institute Awarded $275,000 ACES Aware Grant

July 14, 2020

The Hanna Institute received $275,000 in grant funds from the Office of the California Surgeon General (CA-OSG) and the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to participate in the state’s ACEs Aware initiative.

The funds will be used to develop information and materials for our local California community about what ACES are and why they’re being screened for in health systems. This knowledge will help prepare people for new information that will be gathered during visits to their pediatrician and will also continue to build knowledge and awareness in our community to align with mandates coming down from the state in terms of trauma-informed care.

ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) can be caused by abuse, neglect, and/or household dysfunction occurring by age 18. Because these experiences happen while children’s brains and bodies are still developing, the resultant traumatic stress has long-lasting consequences. ACEs are closely linked to at least nine of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States, and associated conditions include asthma, diabetes, depression, heart disease and difficulties learning.

The grant funds will also be used to help teach Medi-Cal providers about the importance of screening for ACES. The Institute will host a series of seminars and trainings that will allow for deeper exploration of specific topics related to trauma and early adversity – including a seminar on complex health diagnosis, perinatal mental health, and the role of community health workers in educating the community on trauma and early adversity. All of the trainings and webinars are free for providers, and due to COVID-19 everything will be online.

“This ACES Aware grant is an incredible opportunity to grow the collaboration with our partners like the La Luz Center, the Petaluma Health Care District, Sonoma County Human Services, Center for Well Being, Mothers Care and our wonderful local health care centers,” explained Erin Hawkins, Co-Director of the Hanna Institute. “And now more then ever, an understanding of the impact of early adversity and chronic stress and what we can do to mitigate its effects is critical for the health of our community.”

ACEs Aware is an initiative led by the Office of the California Surgeon General and the Department of Health Care Services to give Medi-Cal providers training, clinical protocols, and payment for screening children and adults for ACEs. Detecting ACEs early and connecting patients to interventions, resources, and other support can improve the health and well-being of individuals and families.

A total of $14.3 million was awarded to 100 organizations throughout the state to extend the reach and impact of the ACEs Aware initiative. ACEs Aware seeks to change and save lives by helping Medi-Cal providers understand the importance of screening for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and training them to respond with trauma-informed care.