Hope for a Healthier Future - Sonora

Hope for a Healthier Future
Story 35

A pilot program at Adventist Health Sonora provides healing and prevention by starting with the right questions.

Adventist Health Sonora is piloting a program that combines scientifically based screening for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) with ongoing support and resources for patients who need it. This approach is aimed at providing healing and preventing future trauma for both children and adults in the community.

The ACEs screening helps clinical teams like those at Adventist Health Sonora provide effective treatment and support through an approach called trauma-informed care. According to www.acesaware.org, trauma-informed care recognizes and responds to the signs, symptoms, and risks of trauma to better support the health needs of patients who have experienced toxic stress.

“The literature and the science behind ACEs is compelling because it tells us that early childhood experiences contribute to long-term health outcomes,” says Yesenia Mock, System Administrative Director of the Well-Being Division at Adventist Health. “The opportunity here is that ACEs are 100 percent preventable. We could prevent adverse childhood experiences for children and families, and the way to do that is to build positive and healthy connections.”

The ACEs screening is provided in the pediatric clinic setting, and any patient who scores with four or more “yes” answers is contacted by a chaplain who connects them with resources and support. To build sustainable, long-term response in the community, Adventist Health Sonora has organized a community collaborative represented by the hospital, the local school system, homeless prevention services, and the juvenile justice department.

It’s really about shifting the questions we ask away from, ‘What is wrong with that child,’ to, ‘I wonder what happened to that child?’” says Annie Hockett, Probation Division Manager Juvenile Services in Tuolumne County.

A similar initiative is coming to Adventist Health’s network of care in Mendocino County.

“Our ACEs pilot focuses on resilience, trust building, and healthy connections because that underpins how we prevent trauma,” Mock says. “Adventist Health Sonora is engaging patients and providers through a trauma-informed screening, referral and response process that creates pathways to a community network of care, building a local ecosystem that is driving toward well-being.”

For more information about ACEs, visit www.acesaware.org.