Last week, a dozen leaders representing several organizations came together for a lunch meeting in Akron to explore the possibility of organizing a Regional Academy in collaboration with the Academy on Violence and Abuse (www.AVAhealth.org). The AVA is a professional membership organization whose mission is “to advance health education and research on the recognition, treatment and prevention of the health effects of violence and abuse”. This includes activities that will help to bridge research, policy and practice. The AVA is interested in working with local organizations and groups to conduct regional professional development academies in accordance with this mission and has established the Regional Academies Committee for this purpose. The Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County and Samaritan Regional Health System are co-sponsoring the inaugural Regional Academy in Ashland in April 2014. The possibility of doing the second Regional Academy the following day in Akron was the focus of the meeting last week.
Participants in last week’s meeting included representatives from St. Thomas Hospital, Akron Children’s Hospital, Northeast Ohio University Medical School, Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, Child Guidance and Family Solutions, Waiting Child Fund, Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County, the Summit County ADM Board and the AVA Regional Academy Committee. A special guest at the meeting was Terry Jones, Chief of the Bureau of Children and Families at Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services. All of these individuals and organizations all have a strong interest in promoting trauma-informed care and awareness of ACEs. After much invigorating discussion, the group agreed that organizing a training event such as a Regional Academy would help to raise awareness and influence practices in the regional healthcare system.
The group discussed many reasons that the ACEs study warranted the attention of a conference. The integration of physical and behavioral healthcare is being promoted as the future model of healthcare delivery. The ACEs study resides at a broad intersection of primary and behavioral healthcare and it provides a useful framework for integrating these services. In addition, the ACEs study provides concrete, important and useful foundational information upon which to building trauma-informed care. This includes substantial data regarding the prevalence and long-term impact of abuse, violence and neglect.
As a result of the meeting last week, a smaller group is being identified to form a steering committee which will work with the AVA to begin planning the logistical and promotional aspects of the event. This group will be meeting in August. I will continue to provide updates here as the project moves forward, and I hope others will join in as well with their ideas and thoughts about the Regional Academy. This is going to be an exciting process and a wonderful way to kick-off the AVA Regional Academies! Thanks to everyone who participated in the meeting and for your interest in working together on this project.