Hillsides Awarded $100,000 ACEs Aware Grant to Promote Screening for Adverse Childhood Experiences


Hillsides has received $100,000 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. Hillsides will be conducting peer-to-peer learning to promote the ACEs Aware initiative among the Medi-Cal provider community in the Los Angeles region.

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, which recognizes the widespread impact of trauma, integrates knowledge of trauma into treatment and promotes the healing of families, children and communities.

Hillsides has been an industry leader in developing and implementing a Trauma-Informed Care approach to providing its services and have promoted this work extensively within the field. Hillsides maintain a TIC committee to focus on policies, procedures and training through the lens of trauma and we provide staff with TIC training, support and opportunities to view situations through a TIC lens.

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 thrilled to play a leadership role in implementing this important initiative and we look forward to building a robust learning community where peer organizations can discuss the integration of ACEs practices, as well as how best to create and sustain trauma-informed systems of care,” said Hillsides CEO Stacey Roth. “Research has shown that cumulative adversity, especially when experienced during childhood development, is a root cause of some of the most harmful and persistent physical and mental health challenges facing the nation.”

The overarching goal of the learning collaborative is to work together to share education, best practices and ongoing feedback to assist populations who have experienced a high level of adversity, while simultaneously developing strategies and practical applications to reduce the frequency and impact of ACEs as well as the reduction of intergenerational transmission of ACEs in the Los Angeles community. The initiative will kick off in August and run for a year.

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