Published on August 05, 2020

Community Hospital’s Ohana program awarded ACES Aware grant to serve Medi-Cal community

Contact: Mary Barker (831) 521-5116

MONTEREY — Ohana, the innovative child and adolescent mental and behavioral health program of Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, has received $67,000 in grant funds from the Office of the California Surgeon General and the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to participate in the state’s ACEs Aware initiative. Ohana will be conducting trainings for pediatric and obstetric clinical teams about risk and resilience in youth and parents to promote the ACEs Aware initiative among the Medi-Cal provider community in Monterey County.

“We know that serious adversity in childhood can put a child’s physical and mental health at risk,” said Dr. Susan Swick, Physician in Chief for Ohana. “If that child is left untreated, it can create complex medical and psychiatric conditions when that child becomes an adult. And that raises the risk of passing that adversity down to the next generation. But knowledge about this risk is powerful. And there are practical strategies to not only counter the risk, but to cultivate health. We are all capable of building resilience in our children, our patients, and ourselves.”

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.

The ACEs Aware grants will provide funding to organizations to design and implement training, provider engagement, and education activities for providers and organizations that serve Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

“We are looking forward to working in partnership with this amazing group of community leaders to further our efforts to help healthcare providers become ACEs Aware,” said California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris. “This work is critical, now more than ever, given the stress so many Californians are experiencing as a result of COVID-19 and the role of racial injustice as a risk factor for toxic stress. A trauma-informed healthcare workforce is vital for helping our state heal.”

The grant funding will provide critical support to community organizations serving Medi-Cal providers and beneficiaries, which have been experiencing increased stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant activities will augment California’s efforts, under way since the summer of 2019, to develop provider training and engage providers, including the promotion of payments to Medi-Cal providers for screening their patients for ACEs.

Funding for the ACEs Aware grants was previously authorized in the 2019-20 budget using Proposition 56 funds for provider training on how to conduct ACE screening in the Medi-Cal population. In light of the COVID-19 emergency, the grant funding will provide critical support to the community organizations serving Medi-Cal providers and beneficiaries.

The full list of ACEs Aware grantees is available on the ACEs Aware Website.

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About Ohana
Ohana is an innovative child and adolescent mental and behavioral health program, including early intervention, comprehensive support for youth and their families, and extensive community partnerships. It is part of Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula and Montage Health, a family of organizations dedicated to improving lives by delivering exceptional care and inspiring the pursuit of optimal health.

About ACEs Aware
Led by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, California Surgeon General, and Dr. Karen Mark, Medical Director for DHCS, the ACEs Aware initiative offers Medi-Cal providers core training, screening tools, clinical protocols, and payment for screening children and adults for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), which are stressful or traumatic experiences people have by age 18 that were identified in the landmark ACE Study. ACEs describe 10 categories of adversities in three domains – abuse, neglect, and/or household dysfunction. ACEs are strongly associated with at least nine out of 10 of the leading causes of death in the United States. Part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s California for All initiative, the goal of ACEs Aware is to reduce ACEs and toxic stress by half in one generation. Follow ACEs Aware on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Office of the California Surgeon General
The role of California Surgeon General was created in 2019 by Governor Gavin Newsom to advise the Governor, serve as a leading spokesperson on public health matters, and drive solutions to the state’s most pressing public health challenges. As California’s first Surgeon General, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris has established early childhood, health equity, and ACEs and toxic stress as key priorities.

California Department of Health Care Services
DHCS is the backbone of California’s health care safety net, helping millions of low-income and disabled Californians each and every day. The mission of DHCS is to provide Californians with access to affordable, integrated, high-quality health care, including medical, dental, mental health, substance use treatment services, and long-term care. DHCS’ vision is to preserve and improve the overall health and well-being of all Californians. DHCS funds health care services for about 13 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries