Reflections of ACEs Awareness from Provider Listening Sessions 

October 14, 2020

Reflections of ACEs Awareness from Provider Listening Sessions


Recently, the Catalyst Center hosted regional listening sessions throughout the state of California, convening partners from a variety of sectors such as healthcare, social services, and behavioral health.  The listening sessions provided richopportunities for professionals with differing experiences to come together to discuss strengths and barriers of facilitating cross-sector partnerships in the treatment and prevention of ACEs in their communities of practice. The following are three key takeaways from these powerful sessions:


1. Providers are addressing ACEs awareness in diverse and culturally responsive ways.

With a population of just over 40 million people, California is the most populous state in the U.S., and also one of the most diverse. Each geographic region has a different community makeup, different challenges, and thus, different needs when it comes to prevention and approach to ACEs.  In Northern California regions, tailored proactive outreach programs consisting of liaison teams and prevention specialists are commonly used to address the needs of unique populations such as foster and homeless youth. An organization in the Central Valley is using PSAs and social media to foster dialogue with both providers and community members about ACEs. A few organizations in the Bay Area have taken the approach of focusing on trauma in their workforce, noting the complex trauma faced by frontline workers, who are overrepresented by women and racial minorities. Partners in the Southern California region have primarily been focusing on building cross-sector partnerships, looking for ways to streamline efforts to make a bigger impact in their communities.


2. Cross-sector collaboration is critical to preventing and addressing ACEs.

A theme that emerged across all sessions was the need for agencies from different sectors to work together to better serve the residents of their communities. Many participants shared challenges that families in their communities face:  getting access to the right providers, navigating complicated processes, and the extensive lag from beginning a referral to actually receiving the appropriate treatment or services. Participants also discuss the negative impact COVID-19 has had on the ability of families to access services, as well as the ability of agencies to collaborate. However, participants unanimously agreed that the best way to prevent and address ACEs is through the establishment of solid cross-sector partnerships.


3. Addressing ACEs is an essential component of holistic care.

Californians are experiencing unprecedented stressors and trauma in the midst of COVID, fires, racial inequities, and other community issues. If providers are not able to engage patients and understand their whole experience, they are not really addressing the concerns that are real for them and impacting their daily life. Providers repeatedly stated the need for a true network of care that leverages resources and allows agencies to work together. There must be a shift in providers to acknowledge and support the whole individual, not just one symptom of their lived experience.


Information gathered from these listening sessions will be used to inform the development of Catalyst Center’s ACEs Aware Provider Trainings, taking place in December 2020 and January2021. These trainings invite cross-sector providers from primary care, behavioral health, and acute care into the same space to improve knowledge of and capacity for integrating ACEs screening practices into clinical care settings, and to achieve a warm handoff by utilizing community resources for referral.



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