The Catalyst Center awarded $388,500 ACEs Aware Grant

June 18, 2020

The Catalyst Center (the California Alliance’s technical and training program) has received $388,500 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 Catalyst Center will be conducting Communications,Provider Engagement, and Provider Training activities to promote the ACEs Aware initiative among the Medi-Cal provider communities across the state of California. This will be done in partnership with the National Council of Behavioral Health. 

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 health care 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 health care 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 emergency. Grant activities will augment California’s efforts,underway 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.

Added Dr. Karen Mark, DHCS Medical Director: “DHCS is committed to preserving and improving the overall health and well-being of all Californians. The ACEs Aware initiative is a vital part of the Medi-Cal program’s response to the COVID-19 emergency. These grantswill help us reach Medi-Cal providers who serve diverse and often at-risk populations throughout the state, and will help to ensure that Medi-Cal members receive the high-quality, integrated care that every Californian deserves.”

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.

“We are deeply grateful to be part of this impressive group of community leaders,” notes Christine Stoner-Mertz, LCSW, CEO of the Catalyst Center. “The opportunity to communicate with, train and engage providers in increasing their understanding of the toxic stressors impacting Californians is an honor. We look forward to joining Dr.Burke-Harris and the ACES Aware team in addressing the impacts of racial injustice, COVID-19, and other social determinants of health that impact those served through MediCal.”

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


About the CatalystCenter

The Catalyst Center(“Catalyst”) is a resource vehicle, operating within the 501(c)(3) organizationChildren’s Services Foundation, for the child and family serving field in thestate of California. The Catalyst leverages connections between research, policy,and practice to inform capacity building efforts for providers providingservices including foster care, behavioral health, education, residential care,and juvenile justice. Catalyst maintains a team of technical assistanceproviders who invest in building networks across the state to deepencross-sector relationships, centering needs of people most impacted.


About ACEs Aware

Led by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris,California Surgeon General, and Dr. Karen Mark, Medical Director for DHCS, theACEs Aware initiative offers Medi-Cal providers core training, screening tools,clinical protocols, and payment for screening children and adults for AdverseChildhood Experiences (ACEs), which are stressful or traumatic experiencespeople have by age 18 that were identified in the landmark ACE Study. ACEs describe 10 categories ofadversities in three domains – abuse, neglect, and/or household dysfunction. ACEs are stronglyassociated with at least nine out of 10 of the leading causes of death in theUnited 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 onegeneration. Follow ACEs Aware on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.


Office of theCalifornia Surgeon General

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


California Departmentof Health Care Services

DHCS is the backbone ofCalifornia’s health care safety net, helping millions of low-income anddisabled Californians each and every day. The mission of DHCS is to provideCalifornians with access to affordable, integrated, high-quality health care,including medical, dental, mental health, substance use treatment services, andlong-term care. DHCS’ vision is to preserve and improve the overall health andwell-being of all Californians. DHCS funds health care services for about 13million Medi-Cal beneficiaries

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