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California Awards $ 200,000 ACEs AWARE GRANT to the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children in Collaboration with Three other Non-Profits to Help Train Medi-Cal Providers about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) importance to Health.

The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) in collaboration with the Academy on Violence and Abuse(AVA), the California chapter of the Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (CAPSAC), and Center for Innovation and Resources, Inc. (CIR) are being awarded $ 200,000 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. The Collaborators will be conducting the California ACEs Academy to promote the ACEs Aware initiative among the Medi-Cal provider community in the State of California.

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 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.

“We (AVA, APSAC, CAPSAC, and CIR) are delighted and excited for this opportunity from ACEsAware, to bring our expertise and deep experience in educating healthcare professionals, to the people of California. We seek to inspire and educate healthcare providers to start the ACEs conversations with their patients and their communities, so as to enhance their health and well-being” stated Tasneem Ismailji, MD, MPH who co-leads the California ACEs Academy for the AVA which developed the Regional Academy model.

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

The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) is a multi-disciplinary professional society dedicated to helping professionals in the child maltreatment field utilize evidence-based practices to prevent child maltreatment as well as to identify and treat child victims and families. 

The California Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (CAPSAC) is the California state chapter of APSAC and shares the same mission, vision, and commitment as APSAC.

Academy on Violence and Abuse (AVA) is dedicated to educating healthcare professionals and the community about the health effects of violence and abuse throughout the life course. The AVA originated the Regional Academy model and has many years of experience educating health professionals and the communities.

Center for Innovation and Resources (CIR) has more than a decade of experience applying research-based knowledge to address real-world problems in human services and education through training and support. CIR works to optimize established programs and services so that children, families, and communities are served in a coordinated, holistic way based on best practices and current research.

About ACEs Aware

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


Office of the California Surgeon General

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


California Department of Health Care Services

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