Memphis Tennessee that has experienced severe trauma for decades.
Several months ago Diane Wagenhals, Director of Lakeside Global Institute, and I were fortunate enough to visit Memphis, Tennessee. While there, we were able to meet with the staff and associates of the ACE Awareness Foundation. For those who may not know, Memphis is a city in Shelby County, Tennessee that has experienced severe trauma, racial divide and intense social problems that have been unresolved for decades. It was the place that Martin Luther King was assassinated and still there is cultural, societal and relational impact all throughout the region.
The ACE Awareness Foundation has been a significant resource to the children, families and the community at large to tell the story and implications of the Adverse Childhood Experiences research that has ramifications to all segments of life personally and in our systems of care. It is always amazing to me how many medical issues have been associated with childhood adversities. It is probably one of the leading contributors to our public health problems in America and particularly in a community like Memphis.
Out of the week of meetings we had with so many great people, we were introduced to the Shelby County Public Health Department. There was great energy and appreciation from the staff and leadership to make sure that their entire staff had basic trauma knowledge and some level of skill to help understand and manage a large population of individuals in their care who have been impacted by some form of childhood adversity or trauma.
In the months to come Lakeside Global Institute was contacted. We formulated a rather intense strategy as to how we could offer trauma training to their entire staff in a one week period. That week was selected in June of 2018 and we flew our staff down for a full week of intense training.
In that one week period, we were able to offer 10 workshops that included 759 participants. The reception to our training was enthusiastic and the permeating effect it had throughout the entire public health system was palpable. It is predictable that if professionals in the public health field were trauma-informed, there would be a whole new approach to their patients and the families involved. We were thrilled with the feedback we received. This was our first training of an entire public health system and the preliminary results were deeply gratifying to our trainers and to the leadership in Shelby County.
We recognize that this is just the beginning. We will continue to work with Shelby County and any public health department to provide training to assist their staff in becoming trauma-informed. Since trauma can be considered a public health crisis and because it has such a pervasive impact, it only makes sense that we continue to work with the leadership of our public health systems to evaluate, educate and mentor those who are on the front lines. These compassionate individuals deal with some of our most difficult societal health issues, many of which are related to various forms of life adversity. We feel extremely privileged to work with this great staff who are so committed to offering healing and hope to those in their sphere of influence.