Gift to UNMC focuses on helping those who have experienced mental trauma
About 50 percent of Nebraskans report experiencing childhood adversity and trauma. The university is developing a program to train those who can help.
Posted: Thu, Sep 14, 2017
Helping Nebraskans who have experienced childhood mental trauma is the reason behind a gift of more than $76,000 from the Claire M. Hubbard Foundation of Omaha. The gift provides direct support to the University of Nebraska Medical Center and its partners working on a program to help others.
The donation establishes a fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation to support the Building a Trauma-Informed Community in Nebraska initiative at UNMC. The university will use the fund to support faculty and student research efforts related to the project within the College of Public Health.
The Building a Trauma-Informed Community program started last year with the goal to eventually train 22,000 professionals in the greater Omaha area on identifying the effects of childhood mental trauma
Pointing to the need for mental trauma training, Ali Khan, M.D., M.P.H., dean of the UNMC College of Public Health, said approximately 50 percent of adults in Nebraska report having experienced some type of adverse childhood events, which are referred to as ACEs.
“These adverse events have been linked to social, emotional and cognitive impairment with physiologic changes that lead to disease, disability and other problems,” Dr. Khan said. “So we are especially grateful to the Claire M. Hubbard Foundation for support of this effort to create a trauma-informed community and to both prevent trauma events from happening and any re-traumatization. The foundation’s support will be especially integral in the attempt to protect children by improving educational efforts to identify at-risk children.”
To achieve the program’s objectives, UNMC has partnered with Project Harmony, a non-profit organization assisting in both developing and delivering evidence-based training throughout the greater Omaha area. Part of the process includes collecting data on the current trauma training and practices being used in the community, and a UNMC research team is working to gather and examine this data.
“The very first step in moving to a trauma-informed community is to know where we are right now,” said Jungyoon Kim, Ph.D., principal investigator and assistant professor at the UNMC College of Public Health. “Throughout this project, we provide tools for community agencies to assess their current training practices and organizational policies to support trauma-informed care.”
Jessica Kroeker, M.S.W., M.P.H., a licensed mental health practitioner and training specialist at Project Harmony, said, “Building a Trauma-Informed Community is focused on viewing others from a mentality of ‘what has happened to you?’ instead of the more common perception of ‘what is wrong with you?’”
The training and information will benefit practitioners in the fields of education, medicine, justice, child welfare and emergency medical response and will enable them to better recognize mental trauma in others and to respond appropriately to get them the help they need.
According to Dr. Kim, the program takes a tiered approach that is intended to build awareness, develop skills and change behaviors and attitudes to create a more comprehensive response to trauma.
“A foundation of awareness and knowledge leads to opportunities for thoughtfully developing skills and procedures that are trauma-sensitive,” Dr. Kim said. “This provides community leaders and members of all occupations skills for responding to those affected by trauma in a way that best helps them succeed.
“Omaha is stepping up to become a safe and supportive community – a community that is committed to health and well-being by intentionally addressing trauma. Yet, these efforts are only as strong as the momentum behind them.”
About the Claire M. Hubbard Foundation
The Claire M. Hubbard Foundation was established by the estate of the late Claire Hubbard and is led by her daughter, Anne M. Hubbard, M.D., of Omaha who graduated from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Claire Watson Hubbard was a Boston native and graduated from Regis College in Massachusetts. During World War II, she was a dietitian for the Army and served four years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center where she met her husband, Theodore “Ted” F. Hubbard, M.D.
Ted Hubbard was a graduate of the University of Nebraska where he received a bachelor’s degree and then a doctor of medicine in 1946. He completed an internship and served two years in the Army, stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Ted and Claire Hubbard married in 1950.
The Hubbards raised two children, Anne and Theodore Jr., after moving to Omaha in 1953. Dr. Hubbard was a pioneer in the field of cardiology and dedicated his career to the people of Nebraska and western Iowa. He died in 1995, and Claire died in 2011. They established charitable family foundations through their estates to continue their philanthropic ambitions.
ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: Individuals from across UNMC have been involved in planning the Building a Trauma-Informed Community in Nebraska initiative. Some recently gathered to celebrate support from the Claire M. Hubbard Foundation, including, from left to right, Dr. Lea Pounds, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health; Dr. Jungyoon ‘JY’ Kim, (principal investigator) Assistant Professor, Department of Health Services Research and Administration, College of Public Health; Ms. Alisha Aggarwal, Doctoral student, Department of Health Services Research and Administration, College of Public Health; Dr. Ali Khan, Dean, College of Public Health; and Dr. Melissa Tibbits, Associate Professor, Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health.