What They’re Watching: Jennifer Johnstun

Jennifer Johnstun, Health Strategy Officer at PrimaryHealth, joins us in What They’re Watching to talk about implementing ACEs research.

What you do once you’ve heard about ACEs I think is the sticking point that we’re trying to work on as a community right now because it is very difficult. Everybody, once they hear an ACEs presentation, they believe it, it makes sense, it’s logical, but then what do you do? There’s not a really clear formula.

We’ve been working around some principles of creating a self-healing community. But you know, what does that mean? That’s all still pretty abstract. I think one great example of what we’re doing is with school districts. One particular project called the “CLEAR project” is a program where teachers receive ongoing education about ACEs but they also receive mentoring and coaching on how to work and implement that in the school in their individual teaching as well as an actual organization. And we’ve seen in our first year of CLEAR, which was rolled out in one elementary school, that they were able to really demonstrate a decrease in discipline referrals in that school, and now that’s rolled out to five elementary schools in the same district this year. So we’re expanding and hoping to collect information.

We need other organizations that are not CCOs to be a part of this in order for it to be effective. I think if we rely only on the CCOs to move forward, this work in the communities won’t be successful. I think if we can engage multiple partners around this topic we will have the greatest likelihood of being able to do something meaningful.