Regional training Network to Address Childhood Trauma
The United States Department of Agriculture has awarded Clarke County Hospital (CCH) a $314,742 grant to help families in Southern Iowa affected by childhood trauma. The grant will be used to upgrade and extend CCH’s regional video distance learning network to train teachers, hospital staff and community members how to react to and build resilience in children who have suffered from Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs.
The upgraded network will provide the technical infrastructure to support the work of the Clarke Community Trauma Team, a collaboration between the Clarke Community School District and CCH. The Clarke Community Trauma Team will then facilitate and/or deliver professional development and support to eleven rural schools and two community health centers in Clarke County and Decatur County through distance learning. The team will also work directly through the network with other health-care practitioners, students, families and the community at-large.
“This grant is a game-changer for families and children impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences,” said Clarke School District Curriculum Director Jean Bahls. “By educating our communities about childhood trauma and building resilience among our children, we hope to build a healthy, sustainable region,” she said.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that can have negative lasting effects on health and well-being. ACEs range from emotional, physical or sexual abuse to parental divorce of a parent or guardian. About 45 percent of children in the United States have experienced at least one ACE, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Iowa, one out of six children lives with a parent with four or more ACEs. As a result, many parents are at a greater risk for behaviors and health issues that can make caring for children difficult. Iowa adults with four or more ACEs were six times more likely to have been diagnosed with depression compared to those with zero ACEs.
The CCH staff will also play a key role in working to cut down on ACEs in the region, particularly its nursing staff.
“Nurses are already on the front lines, battling the negative impact of toxic stress that manifests itself in our patients,” said Erin Dykes, Chief Nursing Officer at CCH. “The grant will allow us to train our nurses in identifying ACEs, thereby reducing the impact of traumatic events on children,” she said.
The hospital, which will contribute an additional $47,500 for the program, will partner with Clarke Community School District, Murray Community School District, Decatur Central Community School District and Lamoni Community School District. It will also receive support from Prevent Child Abuse Iowa, Please Pass the love, Green Hills Area Education Agency and the Western Michigan University Children’s Trauma Assessment Center.
The USDA awarded the grant through its Rural Utilities Service, Distance Learning and Telemedicine program.