Grantee Highlights

Tri-City Mental Health, Hanna Institute, and Kings County Department of Public Health

ACEs Aware grantees throughout California have advanced the ACEs Aware initiative by educating clinicians and communities, and building partnerships to address ACEs and toxic stress.

The ACEs Aware initiative funds community-based approaches to identify, treat, and heal the effects of ACEs and stress. Last month, we asked grantees Tri-City Mental Health Authority, Kings County Department of Public Health, and the Hanna Institute to share their strategies for engaging with local communities.

Read the highlights below or watch the full presentation here.

“It’s food for my soul to have the opportunity to see all of you and hear about the work you are doing, to see how it’s impacting your community…to go to your websites to see all of these resources and to know that here in California we are building this infrastructure. We are not just raising awareness. We are training our clinicians. We are creating networks of care.”

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris

Tri-City Mental Health

Grant Activities: Communications and supplemental provider training.

Tri-City Mental Health was established in 1960 through a Joint Powers Authority Agreement between the cities of Claremont, La Verne, and Pomona and serves as the designated mental health authority for those three communities.

As a grantee, Tri-City Mental Health has developed two supplemental trainings focused on toxic stress, the importance of trauma-informed care, and how to strengthen and create a resilient community. The agency relied on its existing relationships within the community to raise awareness about the trainings. While it focused on training staff, the agency also expanded its efforts to health care providers and the wider community. The goal was to establish a common understanding and language around trauma and toxic stress. Lisa Naranjo, Tri-City Mental Health Services Act Program Supervisor, said creating a common understanding also meant prioritizing translated materials.

“We cannot provide meaningful messaging when we are not delivering content that is in the language of the community we are serving. Language is important and powerful,” said Naranjo.

Kings County Department of Public Health

Grant Activities: Communications, provider engagement, including peer-to-peer learning and network of care, and supplemental provider training.

The California Health Collaborative leads the training and community engagement work on behalf of Kings County ACEs Network of Care. The nonprofit Collaborative provides a range of programs, resources, and services to adults, youth, and seniors across the state. It was awarded grant funding to develop and implement a supplemental provider training (clinical and non-clinical), host provider engagement sessions (network of care and peer-to-peer sessions), and strengthen communications efforts. Kings County ACEs Network of Care is a partnership with the Collaborative, Kings County Department of Public Health (leadership and guidance), United Way (communications, 211 resources, and platform for referral system), and Kings Partnership for Prevention (promotion and marketing).

The Collaborative works with more than 50 partner organizations and believes these relationships are critical to their success in building a strong network of care.

Linda Baggio, ACEs Aware Program Manager for the Collaborative, said the partners are focused on building communication and sharing goals and responsibilities to strengthen and sustain a network of care. Their efforts include the following key elements:

  • Sustainability practices integrated into events and trainings.
  • Resilience tracker that helps to identify gaps in stakeholder representation.
  • Leadership culture of support, and maintaining coordination of accountability, shared goals, and ongoing reflection.
  • A membership form for network of care partners to expand practices and outlines the request for commitment from partners.
  • A network of care logo that reflects the diversity of the community and how the network stands together to change the face of ACEs.

“Our shared messaging changed to support our transformation of knowledge from the power of you to the power of community. This change offers the recognition that it takes community action to push this work forward. While holding on to the power we have as individuals, the collective active participation of support from families, patients, organizational champions, health care workers, and community members at large will support the efforts to cut ACEs in half in one generation,” said Baggio.

Hanna Institute

Grant Activities: Communications, provider engagement and network of vare activities.

The Hanna Institute aims to transform communities by raising public awareness, transforming agency practices and culture, and teaching strategies for self-care and recovery. As a leading provider of trauma-informed care education in Sonoma County and Northern California, the Hanna Institute was forced to pivot last year during the statewide COVID-19 shutdown to carry out the ACEs Aware work digitally.

That meant finding innovative ways to get people engaged in learning. The organization hosted educational events on trauma-informed care and offered a variety of formats, including group discussions, skill practice, case studies, and live question and answer sessions. The key for Hanna Institute was to maintain engagement through a steady rhythm of messaging to the community. This included using social media channels, a website, radio ads, blog posts, and a podcast called ACEs Flashcasts.

While many of the online events attracted participants from across the state, the organization primarily serves Northern California. Hanna Institute’s Co-Director, Erin Hawkins, noted these communities are not strangers to trauma. After the region endured wildfires, evacuations, floods, rolling blackouts, issues of racial and social injustice, and the pandemic, she said the ACEs Aware grant work served as a catalyst to reach more people online and interrupt the cycle of trauma.

Communications strategies are aimed at health care providers and community organizations, and also include broader audience, with a goal to provide the entire community with an introduction to ACEs and create a common understanding prior to discussing trauma in a clinical setting.

“For the general population, for the parent who may be bringing their child in, for the senior citizen who has never talked about any of this in their entire life — doing that kind of outreach is so important,” said Hawkins.

Read more highlights from grantees on our Grantee Stories page.