What They’re Watching: Deborah Rumsey

Deborah Rumsey, executive director at Children’s Health Alliance, joins us in this edition of What They’re Watching to discuss building resiliency in families.

Our pediatricians feel a responsibility. ACES are adverse childhood experiences; they happen when they’re under their purview. What our perspective has been is the pediatricians can’t stop ACEs from happening. They will happen; there’s many things that happen outside of their ability to control. But what they can control is the reaction to those ACEs. The areas that we feel like we can impact is to really build the resiliency within the children and families, and to embed that within each area that they’re touching the patients.

So we’re actually developing curriculum from the pediatricians to talk about resiliency starting from the first visit they have with the child and all the way through teens. And so it changes along the way. The conversation changes, whether it’s the circle of security, or the parent communication and the importance of that and mainly building those parenting skills. We’re hoping that building resilience around, for those children and families will help them should they encounter adverse childhood experiences; that they will actually be able to have almost an antidote, an immunization if you will, for ACEs.

Pediatricians and providers in general are afraid to address something that they can’t solve, but really importantly is laying the groundwork to helping the practice know how do I relate differently to these patients. So, also very importantly is taking to the providers’ practices training, we call it compassion informed care training, so that not just the provider and the clinicians, but the front office staff and the billing office can really understand the patient in a different way. It’s bringing different conversations and it’s transformational for the practices.