Aetna Better Health of Texas funds trauma training for after-school programs

Jul 03 2019

Adverse childhood experiences (ACES) have a huge impact on the learning and lives of students. That’s why Aetna Better Health® of Texas (ABHTX) recently donated $15,000 to The Texas Partnership for Out of School Time (TXPOST). The statewide non-profit is an affiliate of the National Afterschool Association dedicated to strengthening the quality and availability of after-school and summer programs for Texas kids. The health plan’s donation will help fund a professional development series on trauma-informed practice in Tarrant County.

“When a family is on Medicaid, it often indicates complex psychosocial needs that can impact a child’s overall well-being,” said Dr. Angela Moemeka, chief medical officer for ABHTX. “Our members face many obstacles to optimal health, including poverty, family substance use, neighborhood violence, food insecurity, socioeconomic challenges, and ethnic and racial bias/stigma.”

Dr. Angela Moemeka, sixth adult from left in the back row, presents a check for $15K to TXPOST.

Therefore, addressing trauma early in life through trauma-informed practices in schools and after-school programs can improve outcomes for students, family and staff. A trauma-informed approach to education includes policies and practices that create safe school environments, promote resiliency and wellness among students, their families and staff, and reduce re-traumatization.

The training

Partnering with the Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) and Ft. Worth SPARC (a collaboration between the City of Fort Worth, FWISD, after-school providers and community), TXPOST‘s Trauma-informed professional development series will offer participants:

  • A train-the-trainer event
  • Virtual peer coaching and support webinars
  • A statewide convening on trauma-informed practice
  • A final survey to ensure project goals were met

The silver lining

Professional participants will understand:

  • Definitions of and different types of trauma
  • Prevalence of childhood trauma
  • Impact of trauma on brain development and common reactions to trauma
  • Best practices for trauma responsive after-school outcomes

Over time, after-school participants exposed to best practices should exhibit:

  • Increased resilience
  • Improved behavior
  • Enhanced focus
  • Better coping skills

According to Dr. Moemeka, “The health plan is eager to see how the professional development series will prepare after-school programs staff and managers to inspire students to adopt a resilience and recovery mindset.”

About Aetna Better Health of Texas

Aetna Better Health of Texas believes that members should have the opportunity to be leaders in their care. Aetna Better Health uses a model of care management that empowers members to decide what their health goals are, and then the plan works with them, their families, providers and caregivers to help them achieve their goals. The payoff to our members comes in the form of increased quality of care and quality of life. Aetna Better Health services individuals who qualify for Medicaid (STAR members), STAR Kids members, CHIP & CHIP Perinate members.